8:12 PM / Saturday September 23, 2023

3 Oct 2010

Entrepreneur, humanitarian and Black music legend Dick Griffey dies

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
October 3, 2010 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

Dick Griffey, the founder of SOLAR Records and a man who helped the face of black died in Los Angeles last Friday from complications of heart bypass surgery. He was 71. Griffey founded SOLAR Records in the late 1970’s and went on to become one of the preeminent Black music pioneers of the 20th Century, breaking records and recording artists that ushered in the era of contemporary crossover black music.


A music mogul before the term entered popular culture, Griffey’s talent for picking hit songs and superstars defined the music business for more than two decades. Griffey spent the last 10 years of his life in West Africa involved in commodities and international trade.


Widow Carrie Lucas Griffey said, “We walked these last steps with him and held him close. But all who knew him understood he belonged to the world. He acknowledged failures but rejected defeat. The doors he helped open, he reached back to bring others with him. He loved life and people. He did a hard day’s work and expected the same from those around him. We celebrate his “going home.”


In 1977, Griffey created SOLAR and enjoyed success with such stellar groups as Shalamar, Klymaxx, Lakeside and the Whispers. The label also introduced to the world Babyface, LA Reid, Jody Watley and Howard Hewett, among others.


According to an article at, Griffey entered the entertainment business in the mid-60s when he discovered the key to business operation:


“I started thinking how entertainers come and go, but business people are always here.”


He used his talents first as the booking agent for a highly successful nightclub, which he co-owned with former schoolmate and ex-New York Knicks player/coach Dick Barnett, but he quickly branched out into concert promotions under the company name Dick Griffey Productions.


Not content with these achievements, Griffey became talent coordinator for the nationally syndicated television dance program Soul Train. “Concerts were becoming routine to me,” he explains. “When you promote a concert you basically do the same thing every time. I was looking for new challenges.” The Soul Train venture was so successful that in 1975 Griffey and the show’s producer, Don Cornelius, went on to form Soul Train Records. Starting with one small act, Griffey carefully nurtured the label and, after an amicable separation from Cornelius, reorganized the company and founded the SOLAR label in 1977


Griffey and Cornelius remained good friends, and as a result, SOLAR maintained close ties to the Soul Train show. In 1975, when Soul Train Records was founded, Griffey formed a collective called Shalamar-using a host of session singers to record “Uptown Festival,” which was a disco-length medley of early Motown hits. After scoring a hit with the recording, he looked to Cornelius to help him put together an actual group to maintain the impact.


He leaves behind his wife Carrie Lucas Griffey; daughters Regina Hughes and Carolyn Griffey; sons Lucas Griffey and Che Scelsa; five grandchildren: Curtis, Devin, Paula, Reggie, and Kennedi; and adopted son Haile Williams.


Mr. Griffey’s Home Going Service will be private and reserved for immediate family. A public memorial is being organized and details are forthcoming.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News


It’s easier than ever to improve your hearing

September 21, 2023

Tweet Email BPT Imagine this: You’re having dinner with friends. You know that someone just said something...

Food And Beverage

Put a plant-based spin on the taco night menu

September 21, 2023

Tweet Email ABOVE PHOTO: Smoky Chipotle Pecan Burrito Bowls FAMILY FEATURES Mealtime traditions are common among many...


Cannabis can increase risk during surgery, affect pain afterwards

September 21, 2023

Tweet Email BPT Marijuana is the most common drug in the United States, used by more than...


Delta Air Lines will restrict access to its Sky Club airport lounges as it faces overcrowding

September 14, 2023

Tweet Email By Ken Sweet Delta Air Lines passengers who have long enjoyed access to free meals,...


Chaos or community reexamined

September 1, 2023

Tweet Email Around 250,000 people showed up on the National Mall in Washington DC last Saturday to...


The iPhone 12 emits too much radiation and Apple must take it off the market, a French agency says

September 13, 2023

Tweet Email PARIS (AP) — A government watchdog agency in France has ordered Apple to withdraw the iPhone 12...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff