Ruben Rodriquez, a veteran record promotion executive who worked for Motown, Columbia, Elektra, and his own Pendulum Records, died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday. He was 68 years old at the time.
Rodriguez won the Living Legends Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2015. He is known for his elegant sartorial flair and friendly attitude.
Rodriguez, who grew up in Brooklyn’s Van Dyke & Tilden projects, began his 50-year career in the music industry at the age of 18 as the Northeast regional marketing and promotion manager at Motown Records. Rodriguez sharpened his marketing abilities at Neil Bogart’s Casablanca Records, where he worked with a varied roster that included Donna Summer, Cameo, KISS, Parliament-Funkadelic, and the Village People, after handling campaigns for albums by Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson.
Rodriguez went on to work as a senior VP promotion at Chris Blackwell’s Island Records (Grace Jones) and then at Columbia Records under Clive Davis. His promotional efforts at the latter stop helped George Michael, Public Enemy, Terrence Trent D’Arby, the Beastie Boys, and LL Cool J, among others, score No. 1 records.
Rodriguez is survived by his daughter Erica, who died last November after his son Xavier, who worked with him, died.