Roger Gordon’s Bio
Gordon was born in Los Angeles. He was exposed to the music industry at a young age and decided to pursue a career in the field. Roger’s big break came when Liberty Records offered him a job as assistant local promotion man. Luckily, they forgot to ask him how old he was. He immediately quit college for the $25/week job. When Liberty later discovered he was underage, they had to say goodbye for now. Their farewell was “Give us a call when you turn 21.”
When Gordon hit 21, he opted to shop around a little and wound up with a position at Colpix Records (the recording company for Columbia Pictures). Later, he was tapped by London Records to become their West Coast Rep. He represented the label in 11 western states. During that time in the mid-to-late 60s, he worked with the Rolling Stones, Moody Blues, Tom Jones, Them (with Van Morrison), and other popular acts. “I was with the Rolling Stones on their first tour in the states, and it was wild,” Gordon laughs. “I would probably be dead if I’d kept doing that type of work.” In addition, Gordon worked with Marianne Faithfull and a host of other one or two-hit-wonders, such as Sir Douglas Quintet, The Fortunes, and Noel Harrison.
LA became the US hub of the British Rock Invasion. Gordon’s responsibilities included getting the records on the radio, setting up radio and press interviews, booking acts on Shindig!, Shivaree, and other major TV shows of the day, as well as holding hands and making sure everything went smoothly for artists’ visits to the West Coast.
In 1967, Gordon joined Screen Gems as professional manager and later became the VP of Creative Affairs. During his 10 years at Screen Gems he was not only responsible for many hit recordings, he secured record deals for many writer/artists, and produced and co-produced several acts on his own. He also worked on material for the companies Monkees and Partridge Family recordings and TV shows.
In 1977, he became VP and General Manager for Chappell Music’s West Coast operations. He was involved in all aspects of the business, including creative, managerial, and administrative. He greatly expanded and revamped Chappell’s West Coast presence.
Over the years, Gordon has worked with some of the best songwriters in contemporary music; they include: Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, David Gates, Mac Davis, Rory Bourke, Charlie Black, Marvin Hamlisch, Randy Goodrum, Carole Bayer Sager, Hoyt Axton, Neil Sedaka, Dewayne Blackwell, Mark James, Harriet Schock, and many, many others.
Gordon also did some writing on his own. He came up with several songs for the TV show The Flintstones, a deviation from his normal responsibilities.
In 1985, Gordon opened the office for Jobete Music in Nashville. As VP and General Manager of the Motown Publishing arm, he signed and worked with writers, maintained responsibility for all aspects of this office, and coordinated with Jobete’s Los Angeles, New York, and London offices. Jobete soon charted cuts by Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, The Oak Ridge Boys, Sammy Kershaw, Ronnie Milsap, Conway Twitty, and a host of others.
Gordon had the fortunate opportunity to work with some of the most prominent acts of the day, including Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Boston, Carole King, the Bee Gees, Devo, Bread, The Human League, Cat Stevens, Sting and The Police, and a host of other lesser known acts.
“For me, my love has always been in the creative process, working with songwriters and bands,” Roger observes. “My gift is my ability to recognize a potentially good song and get it to the right person who can best interpret the song and have the most potential for a successful recording.”
Today, Gordon is the principal of his own publishing company, First Request Music. He specializes in independent publishing consulting for records, film, and TV projects.
Gordon reflects on his experiences in the music industry and the factors to his success. “I’ve been very fortunate in my career to have worked with the best writers in the business,” he notes. “The gift for me is to look for new talent and bring them along from the early stages.”
Along with mentoring great talent, Gordon has worked tirelessly over the years in connecting writer to writer, song to artist, and artist to producer.
“Luck plays a big part in this business, and you need to be at the right place at the right time,” Gordon shares. “One of the secrets of being at the right place at the right time is to be a lot of places a lot of times. It’s a 24/7 gig.”