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John Beug, Veteran Label Exec and Film/TV Producer, Dies at 75

The former Warner Records executive was a pioneer in the music video field.

John Beug, longtime head of creative services at Warner Bros. Records and a Grammy and Emmy Award-winning film and television producer, died Oct. 15 in Northern California after a short illness. He was 75. 

Beug was a trailblazer in marrying music and image. An early proponent of music videos, he produced A-ha’s groundbreaking “Take on Me” video, which led to then-Warner Records chairman Mo Ostin hiring Beug. He went on to oversee such iconic videos as Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer,” R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion,” Traveling Wilburys’ “Handle With Care” and Neil Young’s “This Note’s for You.”  


Beug won an Emmy for his work producing the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival for Rhino and won a Grammy forWhen You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors, directed by Tom DiCillo, which he co-produced with Dick Wolf. He also produced the all-star tribute to George Harrison, Concert For George, as well as Tom Petty Runnin’ Down A Dream, directed by Peter Bogdanovich. 

He also was a leader in longform videos and documentaries, producing such pivotal DVDs as Nothing But the Blues, directed by Martin Scorsese, Fleetwood Mac’s The Dance and Eagles: Hell Freezes Over.  

 The Chicago-born Beug became a talent booker while attending Northwestern University and then began booking Chicago area venues, hiring talent as diverse as Joni Mitchell and Cheech & Chong. He moved to Los Angeles to work for producer Lou Adler’s Ode Records and worked with Adler on the opening of the Sunset Strip’s The Roxy nightclub and the production of Cheech & Chong’s Up In Smoke and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

In addition to Harrison, Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, Eagles’ Don Henley, and Tom Petty, while at Warner Bros. Records, Beug worked closely with such artists as Steely Dan, Mitchell, Clapton, Van Halen, Seal and R.E.M. He continued working with many of them on film and television projects after he retired from Warner Music Group in 2014. 

Most recently, Beug co-produced Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall, the documentary film that captured the group’s April 1970 appearance at the venerable London concert venue, which streamed on Netflix earlier this year.

Beug, who lost his first wife Carolyn Mayer in the 9/11 attacks, is survived by his second wife, Cidney Vinall; his children Nicholas, Lauren and Lindsey, and several other relatives.

A memorial is planned for Beug in February. A fund is being established in his name at Rhode Island School of Design.