Jon Bergen, a notable music industry figure and co-owner of Bender Music Group, died in a car accident on Sunday, August 15. He was 37.
Bergen got his start at Mercury Records, working with artists such as Hanson and Kiss, before moving to Restless Records, where he worked for artists such as Warren G in development and marketing. Bergen later served as West Coast Director of Sales and Marketing for BMG, where he did distribution for Beyond Records, promoting Blondie, The Go-Go’s, Veruca Salt, Lucy Pearl and Mötley Crüe. He was also the National Sales Director for Sony-distributed Gold Circle Records, promoting product for Meredith Brooks, Pat Benatar and John Waite.
Bergen then formed Bender Music Group with partner Bo Caldwell, running the business out of Phoenix, his hometown. Bender Music Group handled clients such as Warner Brothers Records Nashville, Sandra Bernhard, Young MC and Rhino Records. A versatile, knowledgeable figure in music industry, Bergen served on the board for Arizona Music Entertainment Hall of Fame (AMEHOF), and was often called upon as a guest speaker for National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP) and music schools around the country.
Bergen is remembered warmly and affectionately by those he worked with and around, forming long-term friendships with his associates and clients.
Tributes poured onto Bergen's Facebook page as soon as the news broke early Monday morning, where friends, clients and co-workers tried to come to terms with this sudden, unexpected loss.
Caldwell, his business partner at the Bender Music Group, wrote, “Not only was he an astute businessman, a great friend, but his love of life was infectious. He always went out of his way to help everybody. It’s impossible to know how to come to terms with the loss.”
“I know Jon would want nothing more [than] for us to be strong, to smile and to get on with our lives,” wrote producer Shiva Baum. “But honestly, I don’t know how that can be done right now. [I’m] missing Jon now and more by the moment.”
“Jon Bergen, you will be missed. You were a wonderful friend and manager,” wrote guitarist Luke Mullholand, a client of Bergen’s. “We will never forget you.”
Jon Bergen is survived by his father, Norman Bergen of Springfield Mo.; his brother, Michael Bergen of New York; and two sisters, Lynne Gross and Lisa Bergen, both of California. Bergen's mother, Cecelia Bergen, passed away in 2010.
Services will be held this Sunday, August 22, at Falconer Funeral Home in Gilbert, Ariz.