Richard Eugene Glasser, a retired record producer, singer and songwriter, died of lung cancer Monday at his Thousand Oaks home. He was 66.
He was born Dec. 8, 1933, in Canton, Ohio, the third of 11 children and the oldest of five boys. He graduated from Minerva High School in Canton before serving in the Navy.
Glasser began songwriting in the mid-1950s with a song he originally called "Angels." After singing it to a few people, he went into a church to cut a demo record using the church's organ as accompaniment. His career took off when a local disc jockey sent the record to a studio in Cleveland.
The Crew Cuts recorded "Angels in the Sky" on Mercury Records, which initially sold more than 1 million copies. Tony Martin recorded the same song on RCA.
Glasser's writing credits soon appeared on songs such as "I'm in Love With You," a hit for Pat Boone; "I Will," recorded by Vic Dana, a hit in 1964 before being remade two years later by Dean Martin then recorded by 32 other artists, and "Come Runnin' Back," also sung by Dean Martin. He also had songs recorded by the Kingston Trio, Buddy Greco, Gene McDaniels, Bobby Vee, Walter Brennan, Chet Atkins and Glen Campbell.
From 1960 to 1964, he began a management career as head of Metric Music, Liberty Records' publishing operation, where he signed Jackie DeShannon and Randy Newman, among others, to the label.
He later became general manager of Dalton Records, another subsidiary of Liberty, producing four gold albums with the Ventures as well as the hits "Walk Don't Run," "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" and five chart records with Vic Dana that included "Red Roses for a Blue Lady."
In June 1965, Glasser assumed the post of A & R director at Warner Brothers Records. There he produced such hits as the Everly Brothers' "Bowlin' Green," Jimmy Darren's "All" and Anita Kerr's "A Man and a Woman," which won a Grammy.
Glasser decided to start his own production company, Dick Glasser Productions, in March 1968. At the same time he established Richbare Music as a publishing house, which is now affiliated with Dick James Music in England.
One of the first efforts of his new company was a million seller with the Vogues, "Turn Around Look at Me." More hits followed and he produced two gold albums with Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, hit singles with Bobby Hatfield of the Righteous Brothers, and two Andy Williams albums: "Love Story," which went platinum, and the "Godfather."
During the mid-1970s he was director of MGM's Nashville operation and produced records for Eddie Arnold and Hank Williams Jr. He also produced the album and single of the year by C.W. McCall, "Convoy."
Glasser was an avid golfer but mostly enjoyed the music business and writing songs. He had recently retired from Gari Communications in Westlake, where he had been vice president.
In addition to his wife of 31 years, Judith, Glasser is survived by a son, Mike Glasser, daughters Lisa Graffis and Ashley King, all of the Oceanside area; three bothers and five sisters, and three grandchildren. Services are scheduled at 1 p.m. Saturday at Pierce Bros. Valley Oaks Mortuary in Westlake Village, which handled the arrangements.
Ventura County obituaries are compiled by Linda Herron. They are published free of charge as a public service to readers, based on information provided by mortuaries.