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Record Company Giant: Frank DiLeo

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JJ Rocks Article # 157: Record company giant Frank Dileo

(This article was written a short time before Frank Dileo and Michael Jackson passed on.)
It was a chilly October Sunday morning and our first full day in Nashville while visiting our friend and Record company legend Joe Mansfield in 2008. Joe took us to breakfast at a Greek restaurant on music row. We were told in advance that we would be having breakfast with two producers, both named Frank, and that one of them used to be Michael Jackson’s manager. It was a morning that Dorothy and I will never forget because that’s when we met Frank DiLeo and Frank Rand. I am going to write about the great achievements of Frank Rand very soon in an upcoming article. But this one will revolve around Frank DiLeo who not only has an incredible track record in the music industry and is a well know actor, but also is the person that took “The King of Pop” to the highest levels of his career.

As we sat and ate our morning meals with three of the greatest people in the world of music, not only was I nervous after the waitress kept refilling my coffee cup, but I was also intrigued with an aura that seemed to surround Frank DiLeo. He was soft spoken and very pleasant to be with, but at the time I could feel a certain kind of vibe radiating from him that let me know that we were in the presence of a very accomplished man. Dorothy and I went there feeling honored, nervous, and slightly out of place. But within a few moments all three of these mega music industry masters got us to feel like we were just part of a group of friends having a wonderful breakfast on a gorgeous autumn day.

I can remember later that day saying to Joe Mansfield “Frank DiLeo looks very familiar”. Joe said “Frank was in the movie “Goodfellas”. He played Tuddy Cicero, the guy who shot Joe Pesci near the end. He also stared in the two “Waynes World” movies as Frankie “Mr. Big” Sharp”. It was the first time we ever met a well known record executive who was also a famous actor. Now that’s a man who deserves a lot of respect!

There are many sites where you can find the normal “gossip” type of articles about Frank DiLeo that tell you his birth place, dates and places of his music industry achievements, and anything else that shows up on the web about someone who is well known. But in this article I just want to focus on him as a person and give you a brief description of his accomplishments. That should be enough for any of our independent musician readers to add Mr. DiLeo to their list of heroes and their “ someone I want to meet one day” list.

Frank Dileo held high positions with RCA and Epic records along with other companies. He took Epic records from a small company to a major label which overshadowed it’s sister label Columbia records for two years. As executive of the year for Epic Records he helped the careers of artists like Quiet Riot, REO Speedwagon, Ozzy Ozbourne, Gloria Estefan, Luther Vandross, Meat Loaf, Cyndi Lauper, Culture Club, and many others. But he will always be remembered as the man who managed Michael Jackson at the top of his solo career.

Along with being the executive producer of the movie ‘Moonwalker” he also wrote and produced three Pepsi commercials and eight music videos including ‘Leave me alone” which landed a Grammy award. And Jackson’s “Bad World” tour was yet another one of Franks achievements in management and wound up being the largest grossing tour of all time. The Jackson family “Victory Tour” was another feather in the cap of his accomplishments but ended when he parted ways with Jackson for no apparent reason.

When I think of Frank DiLeo I picture him as giant marble pillar that stands next to other record company giants like Joe Mansfield, Jerry Kennedy, and Frank Rand that help to hold up the music industry. And I’m so glad to hear that he not only now has a publishing company in Nashville, but has also founded DiLeo Entertainment Group that is dedicated to helping up and coming artist like the ones that we feature on The Spotlight Zone.

So I hope that this puts a fire under the butts of all our independent musicians from around the world that are looking for the right break to come along. Who knows, if you are featured in one of our columns, Frank DiLeo just might be reading it.

JJ Rocks - The Spotlight Zone

PS: I have just received word that Frank Dileo is now managing Michael Jackson again and they are planning a major tour! And you heard it here first on The Spotlight Zone!

 - Like I said before, since this article was written Frank Dileo and Michael Jackson have passed away.