Legendary music agent Dick Alen has passed away at the age of 83. Alen died on Nov. 27 of natural causes after a career spanning more than 60 years.
For more than three decades, the booking agent worked tirelessly to promote some of the biggest touring artists including Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Alen’s roster also included music icons Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles and Fats Domino.
Alen began his career in 1952 representing R&B and jazz artists for Shaw Artists. At Shaw Artists he helped break barriers to bring many African American artists to American television for the first time. After a stint working as a road manager for musician Woody Herman, he joined booking agency Universal Attractions in 1958. At Universal, he worked to establish an audience and market in Europe for African American R&B and jazz musicians.
Alen also agreed to having an up and coming band called The Rolling Stones open for Chuck Berry and newcomers The Beatles open for Little Richard. Other giants of the music industry on his roster were Rod Stewart, Tom Jones, Julio and Enrique Iglesias, Barry White, Hank Williams, Jr. and many more.
From 1971 until 2010, Alen worked at the William Morris Agency where he rose to senior vice president and head of its music division. During that time period, he helped expand the company’s roster to include country, contemporary Christian and Latin artists.