Phil Walden was not a musician and you may have not heard of him, but he was the man behind Capricorn Records, home to many Southern rock bands in early seventies. In fact, his hard work eventually helped to establish the whole genre we all love and know as southern rock.
Phil Walden was born in Greenville, South Carolina, but grew up in Macon, Georgia. Phil started his ventures in music business while still studying in Macon’s Mercer University and quickly expanded his roster of performers to include such legends as Otis Redding and Al Green.
Capricorn Records was finally established in 1969 and one of the first bands signed to a new label was The Allman Brothers Band. Their first real hit album, At Fillmore East came out in 1971 and made it possible to second wave of Southern rock bands like The Marshall Tucker Band, Dixie Dregs, Grinderswitch and Wet Willie to release their albums. Capricorn Records slowly grew into a small empire with its own recording studio and other ventures.
In late 70’s Capricorn Records descended into financial troubles and label went bankrupt in 1980. Capricorn label was brought back to life in 90’s and while they released few successful albums, it never reached the same legendary status as in 1970’s.
In April 2006 Walden finally lost his battle with cancer. He was 66 at the time of his death. Phil Walden is survived by his wife, Peggy Hackett Walden; son Philip M. Walden Jr.; daughter, Amantha; a brother; and four grandchildren.
Phil Walden January 11th, 1940 – April 23rd, 2006