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Goddard Lieberson (April 5, 1911 – May 29, 1977) was the president of Columbia Records from 1956 to 1971, and from 1973 to 1975. He was also a composer, and studied with George Frederick McKay, at the University of Washington, Seattle.


Introduction of the LP

Before becoming president of the company, Lieberson was responsible for Columbia's introduction of the long-playing record. The LP was particularly well-suited to Columbia's long-established classical repertoire, as recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Artur Rodziński, Dmitri Mitropoulos, and Leonard Bernstein.

Cast recordings

His greatest legacy, however, was probably the original cast recordings he produced. Columbia was not the first to offer such recordings; Decca's 1943 recording of Oklahoma! was the first. Lieberson's recordings at Columbia, however, were influential.

In addition to documenting the musical performances of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Lieberson also produced notable studio cast recordings of musicals of the 1930s and 1940s, such as Pal Joey and The Boys from Syracuse, for which cast albums had not been made.

Clive Davis

In 1967, Lieberson promoted Clive Davis to the presidency of Columbia Records. Clive Davis often cites Goddard Lieberson as his mentor. Despite this, Davis almost immediately began deleting many of Lieberson's recordings from the catalogue, retaining only those that were steady sellers. After Davis departed the label, Lieberson came back and set up Columbia Special Products label to re-release most of the discontinued items.


Goddard Lieberson was the husband of actress/dancer Vera Zorina from 1946 until his death in 1977. They had two sons: Peter Lieberson, a composer, and Jonathan Lieberson.


Goddard Lieberson died of cancer in New York City on May 29, 1977, aged 66.

See also



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