Albert Eli “Al” Coury (October 21, 1934 – August 8, 2013) was a 1970s vice-president of American record labelCapitol Records. He joined the label in 1957 and rose to the position of vice-president of marketing, sales and promotion. Coury helped develop the careers of many recording artists, including The Beatles, Nat King Cole, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Glen Campbell, Bob Seger, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Don Henley, Cher and Linda Ronstadt.
Coury was important to several solo Beatles releases in the 1970s, particularly Paul McCartney‘s 1973 album Band On The Run, and John Lennon‘s 1974 album Walls and Bridges, both of which reached the top of the charts and yielded #1 singles. It was Coury who persuaded McCartney to include the successful single “Helen Wheels” on the US version of Band On The Run (because it was last-minute, the lyrics to the song were not included on the lyric sheet). He then chose the song “Jet” as the second single, which helped make the album the most successful of McCartney’s solo efforts.
The following year, Lennon invited Coury to “work his magic” promoting Lennon’s Walls and Bridges album. It was Coury who chose the first single, “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night“, which became Lennon’s first #1 solo hit (and the only one in his lifetime). Coury was also instrumental in the long-awaited release of Lennon’s 1975 album Rock ‘n’ Roll, bartering with producer Phil Spector to retrieve the master tapes from their abandoned 1973 recording sessions.
Coury’s last signing to Capitol Records was the group Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart, made up of former Monkees Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones, and songwritersTommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who’d written several Monkees hits. He then left Capitol to become president and co-founder of RSO Records, with Robert Stigwood. At RSO, Coury marketed such hits as the Saturday Night Fever and Grease soundtrack albums, and Eric Clapton‘s Slowhand. Coury worked extensively with the Bee Gees, RSO’s flagship group.
In 1980, Coury created a new record label, Network Records. One of the label’s initial successes was the soundtrack to the movie Flashdance. The song “What a Feeling” won a Grammy Award and an Oscar for Song of the Year in 1984. Another was Del Shannon‘s Drop Down And Get Me album produced by Tom Petty and featuring the hit single Sea Of Love.In 1985, Network Records merged with Geffen Records, and Coury became Geffen’s general manager, launching hit records forGuns & Roses, Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel and Don Henley.
Coury retired from the record business in 1994. He was married to children’s book author and artist, Tina Nichols Coury| Coury served on the nominating committee of the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
- Al Coury, Promotions Man Who ‘Worked His Magic’ with Beatles, Beach Boys, and Pink Floyd, Dead at 78 | Billboard
- Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium, Madinger/Easter, 44.1 Publishing (2000)
- Pang “Instamatic Karma” 2008