Forty two years after Meat Loaf's epic, multi-platinum global smash Bat Out of Hell put Cleveland International Records in our collective musical consciousness, the legendary indie label is back in business, re-launching with a LP re-release of its mid-90s all-star compilation on April 5th called, Cleveland Rocks which is available for pre-order.
The third incarnation of the label that gave us everyone from Ronnie Spector & The E Street Band to Meat Loaf to America's polka king Frank Yankovic is being guided by Steve Popovich, Jr. a veteran satellite radio and industry executive whose father, the late famed record industry exec Steve Popovich, founded the label in the mid-70s. Prior to launching Cleveland International, the elder Popovich rose through the ranks at CBS Records, becoming their youngest ever VP of Promotion for Columbia Records.
Steve Popovich, Sr. was twice named Billboard magazine's National Promotion Man of the Year and won the Clive Davis Award for Promotion Excellence. His successes included Simon & Garfunkel, Boz Scaggs, Loggins & Messina, Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Santana, Janis Joplin, Dave Mason, Mahavishnu Orchestra, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Johnny Mathis, Chicago, Tony Bennett, Earth Wind & Fire, Taj Mahal, Miles Davis, Mott the Hoople, Johnny Winter and The Chambers Brothers.
After his history making run as head of promotion, Popovich Sr. became VP of A&R at Epic Records and built a team that launched the careers of Boston, Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick, Jaco Pastorius, Wild Cherry, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, The Hollies, Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck. He was also a key member of the A&R team that signed and brought the Jacksons, including Michael and Janet, to Epic.
"My dad's story is pretty fascinating, here's this guy who grew up in a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania to becoming one of the most beloved and respected people in the history of the record business," says Popovich, Jr., who began working at the label out of high school during its second incarnation (1995-2003). Over the years, his roles included everything from handling inventory control to overseeing the catalog including production, artwork, manufacturing, distribution, promotion and marketing of the Cleveland Int'l catalog and its subsidiaries. "We were a two man company for the better part of those last few years so working that closely with him on a daily basis with that down in it tenacity was like getting a masters degree in this business." Says Popovich Jr. He will run Cleveland International out of his home base of Nashville.
"The idea to relaunch had been simmering for a while," he adds, "when my father's estate was finally settled after seven in a half years after his passing, it seemed like the perfect segue to me transitioning away from my company, Wrecking Ball Entertainment to relaunching Cleveland International. Home is where the heart is and it was time for me to pick up where he left off. This means everything to me. I knew how much this label meant to him so to now be in this position is quite an honor. This isn't about me, it's about him, an opportunity to pick up that torch and carry on his legacy."
On April 5, Cleveland International is set to re-release their Cleveland Rocks compilation on both LP. In addition to Meat Loaf's "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," the 13 track collection includes classics by Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople (the anthem "Cleveland Rocks"), Ronnie Spector & the E Street Band ("Say Goodbye to Hollywood"), Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes ("I Don't Wanna Go Home"), Iron City Houserockers ("Have a Good Time But Get Out Alive"), Euclid Beach Band ("There's No Surf in Cleveland"), The Boyzz ("Too Wild To Tame"), Essence ("Sweet Fools"), The Rovers ("Wasn't That A Party") and Bat Out of Hell collaborator Ellen Foley ("We Belong To the Night").
- Vinyl LP
- Limited time free download code
- Say Goodbye To Hollywood (Ronnie Spector & The E Street Band)
- I Don't Wanna Go Home (Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes)
- Have A Good Time But Get Out Alive (Iron City Houserockers)
- Sweet Fools (Essence)
- Wasn't That A Party (The Rovers)
- There's No Surf In Cleveland (Euclid Beach Band)
- Paradise By The Dashboard Light (Meat Loaf)
- We Belong To The Night (Ellen Foley)
- Too Wild To Tame (The Boyzz)
- Cleveland Rocks (Ian Hunter)