Jon Lind, who co-wrote such hits as Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Boogie Wonderland,” Madonna’s “Crazy For You” and Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last,” died on Saturday (Jan. 15) following a two-year cancer battle. He was 73.
“The songwriting community lost a great songwriter and a beautiful soul in Jon Lind, who leaves a legacy of iconic songs both as a songwriter and supremely talented A&R man,” ASCAP said in a statement. “The ASCAP family mourns his loss but his humor, his music and his wonderfully generous spirit live in our hearts.”
While still a teenager, the Brooklyn native started as a folk singer, sharing stages with Judy Collins, Harry Chapin, Tom Paxton and other legendary artists. While at New York City’s Mannes College of Music, he formed the Fifth Avenue Band, which was managed by Bob Cavallo and signed with Warner Reprise in 1969, according to an interview Lind gave Songwriter Universe in 2012. He was subsequently in bands that signed with A&M and Capitol before switching to full-time songwriting.
Among the other artists who recorded his songs include Cher, Cheap Trick, Aaron Neville, Jennifer Holliday, Rick Astley and Pete Townshend. Lind received a Grammy nomination for song of the year in 1992 for “Save the Best for Last,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks and was ASCAP’s song of the year.
Lind and John Bettis wrote “Crazy for You” in 1984 for the movie Vision Quest, he told Songwriter Universe.
“The movie studio fell in love with it and wanted a new artist named Madonna to record it, and perform it in the movie. John and I had no idea who she was! …But as it turned out, the release of Vision Quest was delayed for 58 weeks….During this 58-week delay, Madonna released ‘Holiday’, ‘Borderline’, ‘Lucky Star’ and became the biggest artist in the world.”
The song became Madonna’s second No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Primary Wave acquired a majority stake in Lind’s music publishing catalog last January. At the time, Primary Wave’s chief marketing officer Adam Lowenberg said, “Jon has written timeless songs that have resonated in people’s lives for years and continue to do so to this day.”
Lind was equally successful as a label executive. Cavallo, who was then running Disney’s music operations, hired Lind as head of A&R at Hollywood Records from 1998-2011. Among the artists he worked with were Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Jesse McCartney.
Lind is survived by his wife, Kobalt executive Sue Drew; his daughters, Jenny and Joanna; stepchildren, Daniel D’Astuges and Catherine Jones; and three grandchildren.