Bud Prager, president of E.S.P. Management Inc., lost his year-long-plus battle with esophageal cancer at his home in Montauk, N.Y. on December 22. He started his music industry career working for SESAC, one of three performing-rights organizations in the U.S., attaining the position of general manager. During this period, he was also one of the founding members of the Country Music Association in Nashville.
From there, he went to Warner Bros. Records as an independent producer, then to Warner Bros. Music as an independent publishing affiliate, setting up the gospel music division. In the 1960s, Prager formed independent label Windfall Records (distributed by CBS Records, now Sony), a partnership with Felix Pappalardi, the producer of many Cream albums. The company grew into Windfall Music Enterprises, which included (at various times) artist management, publishing, production and recording divisions. Later, Prager founded Phantom Records, distributed by RCA Records, and eventually ESP Management Inc.
Artists bearing his management stamp include Foreigner, Bad Company, Damn Yankees, Megadeth and others. He was also involved with the music careers of Dann Huff, Frank Filipetti, Gary Kurfirst, Mike Renault, Whitesnake, Corky Laing, The Youngbloods, the Chambers Brothers, Free, Mylon, Mitch Ryder and others.