Friday, December 16, 2022

Concert For George Producer John Beug Dead At 75

 John Beug, veteran music industry executive and film and television producer died on October 15 in Northern California. He was 75.

John Beug was a trailblazing producer and influential executive working at the intersection of the music and film industries. He is best known as the producer of documentaries including the recent Creedence Clearwater Revival at the Royal Albert Hall as well as The Doors: When You're Strange, Tom Petty: Runnin' Down A Dream and concert films such as Concert for George, the all-star tribute to George Harrison. Beug was a key figure in music filmmaking; his work dates back to the dawn of MTV and through the DVD boom of the 1990s to the present day's golden era of music documentaries.

John Beug was born in 1947, in Chicago to Theodore and Lucille Beug. He was one of five children with two older brothers, James Beug and Thomas Beug and two younger sisters, Virginia Low and Barbara Dyson.

He began his professional career as a talent booker for Northwestern University and Chicago area venues. He booked acts as disparate as Joni Mitchell and Cheech & Chong, the latter leading him to a job with producer Lou Adler in Los Angles. During his tenure with Adler's Ode Records, he was involved with the building of The Roxy, the fabled music venue on the Sunset Strip and the production of Cheech & Chong's Up In Smoke and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

A passionate music and film fan, Beug was an early proponent of the music video format. He produced A-ha's award-winning, ground-breaking "Take On Me" video for Warner Bros. Records and caught the eye of Mo Ostin, the label's legendary Chairman who hired him in 1986 to head Creative Services for the company. At Warners, Beug supervised countless award-winning videos, including Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer," R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion," Traveling Wilburys "Handle With Care," and Neil Young's "This Note's for You."

Beug was quick to see the potential of the DVD format for musical artists and would produce concerts and documentaries for DVD, notably Nothing But The Blues directed by Martin Scorsese, Fleetwood Mac's The Danceand Eagles: Hell Freezes Over. Under the Rhino imprint, Beug produced four years of the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival and won a Primetime Emmy in the process. Grammy Awards followed for Concert For George, Tom Petty Runnin' Down A Dream, directed by Peter Bogdanovich and When You're Strange: A Film About The Doorsdirected by Tom DiCillo, co-produced with Dick Wolf.

Beug was known as sensitive to artists' concerns and was, thus, collaborative, aesthetically attuned, and passionate about doing great work. He built relationships with artists such as George Harrison, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, Don Henley, Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Van Halen, Seal and R.E.M., buoying their careers while serving as their sounding board for film and television projects for the rest of his life. He retired from Warner Music Group in 2014.

Beug was a confirmed bachelor until meeting Carolyn Mayer, a producer and Disney executive whom he wed in 1994. They were an instant family of five with Ms. Mayer's children Nicholas, Lauren and Lindsey, all of whom shared an affinity for art, music and culinary pursuits.

John Beug's deep bond with his children and their love for each other helped them to move forward in their lives after the immense tragedy of losing Carolyn in the 9/11 attacks. He took great pride in serving for over sixteen years on the Board of Trustees at Rhode Island School of Design, an institution very dear to him. He found joy in cars, watching F1 racing and collecting them. Beug bought, sold and then re-bought a 1996 Porsche 993, a clear favorite among his automotive acquisitions over the years.

John Beug found love again with Cidney Vinall, whom he married in 2015. Seeking a quieter, slower pace of life, the couple moved from Los Angeles to Northern California in 2019. She survives him as do Lauren Beug and Nathan Boldman; Lindsey Beug and Marcus Wood; Nicholas Mayer; James Beug; Thomas Beug; sister Virginia Low and numerous beloved nieces and nephews. His sister Barbara Dyson predeceased him.

A memorial event for John Beug is being planned for early 2023 in Los Angeles. 

A fund is being established in his name at Rhode Island School of Design.

No comments: