As reported by the Daily Swarm, longtime entertainment figure and major player in the disco movement Mel Cheren, who co-founded West End Records and was the man behind launching the Paradise Garage club, recently died of complications to HIV/AIDS. According to reports Cheren learned suddenly and years too late that he had HIV and that it was too late to treat it.
Cheren leaves behind quite a legacy, as outlined in the following bio care of the Daily Swarm and other sources including West End Records' Mel's World website page. In 1959 he began his career in the music business at ABC-Paramount Records. As head of production for Scepter Records, Cheren forged new territory. He was instrumental in creating the first 12” single for DJs, in forming the first record pool (The New York Record Pool-- later to become For The Record Record Pool) and the first to release an instrumental mix on a 12” B-side (“We’re On The Right Track” by Ultra High Frequency). This innovation earned Cheren and Scepter a Billboard Trendsetter Award and soon set the standard for an industry-wide practice. In 1976, Mel co-founded West End Records and soon after signed Karen Young, whose single “Hot Shot” sold 800,000 copies, making it one of the biggest selling 12s” in history. And if you forgot what that song sounds like check out the video of Karen Young below in a live performance from 1978.