Neil Reshen, Former Manager of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, Dies
Reshen, whose list of clients also included Frank Zappa and the Velvet Underground, among others, is credited with helping both Jennings and Nelson secure more lucrative recording contracts, while granting them the freedom to record the style of music they wanted to make.
Nelson's first album under Reshen's direction was 1975's 'Red Headed Stranger,' which also became his first No. 1 record.
“There was a time when Neil fed me and Willie, and if it hadn’t been for him, I don’t know what we would have done,” Jennings writes in 'Waylon: An Autobiography' (quote via the New York Times). “He helped us immeasurably. He got things for us that no country singer had ever gotten before. If we were going to become Outlaws, though we didn’t know that yet, we needed an Outlaw Lawyer, as Willie called him.”
Reshen ultimately helped both Jennings and Nelson effectively pioneer the "outlaw" music scene, which remains their lasting legacy.
"By getting RCA to agree to let Waylon do his music on his terms, Neil Reshen changed the art of the deal in Nashville, effectively breaking the feudal system, where the label owned the artist and the studio and the producer controlled the creative process," Joe Nick Patoski writes in 2008's 'Willie Nelson: An Epic Life.'
But it wasn't all smooth sailing between Reshen and his clientele. Accused of mishandling their money, Reshen was fired by both singers, with a lawsuit between Nelson and Reshen settled out of court.
Reshen went on to enjoy a successful career representing authors and publishing houses. He also started a company that provides management and business services.
The Boot extends our condolences to his family.
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