HITS Daily Double
Prager co-founded the Tuesday Night Poker Club at the Havana Club, where he acquired the nickname "Crazy Pineapple." He also created the precedent-setting "Sunset Clause," for which grateful ex-managers dubbed him "Santa Clause."


Legendary Manager and Music Man Passes
Bud Prager, President of E.S.P. Management, Inc., lost his year-plus long battle with Esophageal Cancer at his home in Montauk, NY, on Dec. 22. Born In New York City on Jan. 16, 1929, he was a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, where he was the recipient of the school music award. He attended Hartwick College and New York University. On his return from active duty in the U.S. Army in Korea, he began attending law school at night while working full time, receiving his LL.B. from New York Law School.

He started his music industry career working for SESAC, one of three performing-rights organizations in the U.S., attaining the position of General Manager. During this period, he was also one of the founding members of the Country Music Association in Nashville.

From there, he went to Warner Bros. Records as an independent producer, then to Warner Bros. Music as an independent publishing affiliate, setting up their original gospel music division.

In the 1960s, Bud formed an independent label, Windfall Records, distributed by CBS Records. Windfall was a partnership with Felix Pappalardi, the producer of Cream. The record company grew into Windfall Music Enterprises, which included, at various times, artist management, publishing, production and recording divisions. Pappalardi and Prager helped bring together and managed Mountain, who would go on to write “Mississippi Queen” and perform at Woodstock. After Mountain disbanded, guitarist Leslie West and Cream bassist Jack Bruce were brought together by Prager and became West, Bruce & Laing. Later, Prager founded Phantom Records, distributed by RCA, and eventually, ESP Management Inc.

In 1976 he helped form and began a 17-year management affiliation with the group Foreigner. After repeatedly being turned by all the major record labels, Prager was able to secure a deal with Atlantic. “The group that couldn't find a label” went on to sell in excess of 50 million albums, and tours successfully to this day.

Along with a co-manager, in 1986 Prager helped “resurrect” Bad Company. With a new lineup, they went on to have enormous radio success, sell millions of albums and tour the world.

The group Damn Yankees, featuring Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw (Styx) and Jack Blades (Night Ranger), which burst onto the hard rock scene in 1989, was another hugely successful band co-managed by Prager.

He co-managed Megadeth from 1995 to 2001, helping them to their first major commercial radio success and co-writing a number of songs.

Between his record label, publishing and management interests, Bud was variously involved with Dann Huff, Frank Filipetti, Gary Kurfirst, Mike Renault, Whitesnake, Corky Laing, the Youngbloods, the Chambers Brothers, Free, Mylon, Mitch Ryder and others. He was mentor throughout his career to many dozens of artists, songwriters, producers, managers and entertainment industry professionals.

At his death, he was advisor to, and on the Board of Directors of MRD, a Toronto-based royalty recovery service.

In addition to his career, he was an avid golfer, bridge player and sports fan.

He leaves behind his wife of 42 years, the former Gloria Mahaney, son Evan S. (ESP II), daughter-in-law DJ, two grandsons, Ethan S. (ESP III) and Liam, and brother Harold of Arkansas.

A memorial service will be planned for early '09. If you would like details, please email [email protected]