Family and friends of the late music impresario and Capricorn Records co-founder Phil Walden were on campus this month to announce the creation of a memorial fund to support UGA’s recently established Music Business Certificate Program.
Philip Walden Jr., a UGA law school alumnus and Atlanta lawyer who grew up around Capricorn Records in the 1970s and eventually joined his father there, announced the fund’s creation Aug. 17 on behalf of the Walden family while delivering a presentation on the recording industry to students in the music business program.
“We’re thrilled to help out,” Walden said, adding that plans are in the works for a benefit concert, with proceeds helping to grow the fund.
Phil Walden’s daughter, Amantha Walden, and nephew, Jason Walden, were also present for the announcement, as well as such music industry notables as former Capricorn recording artist Randall Bramblett, New West Records president George Fontaine and artist manager Charlie Brusco.
Growing up in Macon, Phil Walden got into the music business booking acts while in high school. He began his career in earnest after graduating from Mercer University in 1962, managing acts like Otis Redding, Percy Sledge, Johnny Jenkins and Sam and Dave, but cemented his place in music history by co-founding Capricorn in 1969.
Based in Macon, family-run Capricorn Records became the epicenter of the “southern rock” movement of the 1970s, thanks to a roster of artists that included the Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band and the Dixie Dregs. A series of setbacks resulted in the label’s filing for bankruptcy in 1980. Walden eventually re-launched Capricorn Records in 1990, releasing albums by Widespread Panic, Cake, 311 and Kenny Chesney. A series of record industry mergers resulted in Capricorn’s exit from the music stage in 2000.
The Walden family remained in the music business, however, starting Velocette Records, which handles mostly Georgia artists like Vic Chesnutt, Kevn Kinney, the Glands, Jucifer and Brass Castle. Walden was still involved in the operations of Velocette when he died last April at age 66 following a lengthy battle with cancer.