A showbiz impresario. He co-founded Aldon Music, a music-publishing house (and later an indie label, Dimension Records) with Al Nevins; it was an attempt to bring a Tin Pan Alley age-of-the-songwriter (and publisher) aesthetic to rock and roll, a medium where it became "the singer, not the song". It worked; the Brill Building was an epicenter of pop in that late-50s and early-60s period after the first wave of rock and roll, but Kirshner sold out (in 1963) to Columbia Pictures, right before The Beatles turned the equation around again. His West Coast Man, Lou Adler, went on to fame in his own right, managing such entities as The Mamas and the Papas and Cheech and Chong, among many others, plus he helped organize the Monterey Pop Festival.

At Columbia/Screen Gems, Kirshner was able to resurrect the Brill Building system, using songs by his old standby writers (and new ones, like Boyce and Hart) with a new project called The Monkees; he would move on to The Archies, less of a headache than humans, and then to television production (having gotten his feet wet as a consultant with The Archies and I Dream of Jeannie), first with Don Kirshner's Rock Concert (see: TV Rocks!) - he was lampooned by Paul Shaffer in the early years of SNL, and Shaffer captured the deadpan monotone of this balding, chubby, middle-aged man perfectly; there was also a game show called Musical Chairs, which included The Tokens, former associates of Aldon writer Neil Sedaka), and, back to musical humans, the cornfed prophets of Kansas.

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