Lifenotes: Elroy Kahanek

Elroy Kahanek

Elroy Kahanek

Record promoter, songwriter, artist manager, talent scout and music entrepreneur Elroy Kahanek died on Tuesday (March 11) at age 72. Kahanek is best known for his work in radio promotion. He was the vice president of Country promotion at RCA in the 1970s, then served in similar capacities at Sunbird Records in the 1980s and at Atlantic Records in the 1990s.

At RCA, he worked during the label’s “outlaw music” era, promoting the singles of Waylon Jennings. At Sunbird, he helped launch the career of Earl Thomas Conley. During his Atlantic tenure, Tracy Lawrence, John Michael Montgomery and others became stars.

In 1998, he was named vice president of artist development at Bang II Records. That label promoted singer-songwriter Monty Holmes, among others.

Elroy Kahanek also had a successful career as a songwriter. He co-wrote T.G. Sheppard’s 1975 hit “Trying to Beat the Morning Home,” as well as Eddy Raven’s 1982 success “She’s Playing Hard to Forget.” Josh Logan recorded Kahanek’s co-written “Somebody Paints the Wall” in 1989. George Jones re-recorded it in 1990, and Tracy Lawrence made it a big hit in 1993.

His other songwriting cuts include Logan’s “I Owe You One” of 2012, Sheppard’s “Like a Coupe DeVille” of 1997 and Keith Stegall’s “The Fool Who Fooled Around” of 1980.

In later years, he was associated with businesses such as Honkytone Records, Joyna Music, Angelfire Records and Cowboy Productions. He worked with such artists as Darren Warren, The Marcy Brothers and Kris Gordon. At the time of his death, he was president of Elroy Kahanek Promotions.

He is survived by his wife Cindy, daughter Kim Gray, three grandchildren and eight siblings.

Funeral services will be at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 15 at Woodmont Funeral Home’s Hickory Chapel at 5852 Nolensville Road. The visitation is this afternoon at 4:00-8:00 p.m. and tomorrow at 12:00-2:30 p.m. Elroy Kahanek’s burial will be Monday, March 17, at Woodlawn Cemetery.


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Category: Featured, Label, Obituary, Radio

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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