HITS Daily Double


Phil Quartararo, the veteran record executive who played a significant role in the success of U2, Janet Jackson and the Spice Girls, among many others, died Wednesday (11/22) in Los Angeles of pancreatic cancer. He was 67.

Known as Phil Q, Quartararo worked at every major-label group, rising to president at Virgin U.S. and Warner Bros Records.

He started in radio promotion at A&M Records in 1977 and worked in the promo departments of RCA, Island and Arista Records before moving to Virgin Records’ U.S. division in 1986. As SVP of promotion and marketing at Island Records, he helped break U2 in the U.S.; at Virgin, where he worked until 1997, he was key to the success of the Spice Girls, Jackson and Paula Abdul.

“Phil believed in me like no other,” Abdul said in a statement. “His ceaseless support for me during my time at Virgin was unparalleled. I will miss him.”

In 1997 Quartararo became president of Warner Bros. Records, where Linkin Park was among his major successes; he left in 2002. He was president of EMI’s distribution arm, a consultant for Shazam and president of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation Records from 2016 to 2019. At the time of his death, he was president of the Hello Group.

While attending Syracuse University in the '70s, Phil formed abiding friendships with fellow students John Sykes and Rob Light. He sat on the board of the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse and co-founded, with Sykes and Light, the Bandier Music Industry Graduate Program.

Quartararo is survived by his four sons—Brandon (Candace), Philip, Lucca and Daniele; his fiancée, Joanne Prewett; his three brothers, Louis, Paul (Carol), Raymond (Lynn); his two grandsons, Liam and Pearson; and his eight nieces and nephews.

Family and close friends will gather together on Wednesday (11/29) from 1pm to 4pm at the Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park, 5600 Lindero Canyon Road, Westlake, and for a funeral mass on Thursday (11/30) at 10am at St. Monica Catholic Church, 725 California Ave., Santa Monica. For those who are unable to attend the Santa Monica service, a Mass of Celebration will be held in New York City in early January (details TBA).

A Celebration of Phil Q, a gathering of friends from across the music and entertainment industry, will be held in Los Angeles on Monday, 1/29, at the beginning of Grammy week (details TBA).

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in memory of Phil Quartararo to the Phil Q Memorial Fund at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Donations may be made online at the above link or sent to Syracuse University, 640 Skytop Road, 2nd floor, Syracuse, NY 13244. For more information, contact Lynn Vanderhoek.

From top left: Phil with Rob Light and Sylvia Rhone; with Richard Palmese and Steve Bartels; with Janet Jackson; with Jeff Ayeroff, Jordan Harris and Team Virgin; with Steve Kingston and Tina Turner; with Paula Abdul; early days at Syracuse with John Sykes and Dan Neer