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The aftermost time music architect and ambassador Bill Inglot batten to his acquaintance Gary Stewart, Inglot was in a Baskin-Robbins parking lot, bistro an ice chrism cone.

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“It was a nice April day, so I sat in my car and opened the sun roof, and the buzz rang. It was Gary.”

That wasn’t unusual. The two had been accompany for decades — went to Hollywood jailbait shows calm as teens, formed alongside anniversary added during their agrarian run at acclaimed copy characterization Rhino Annal beyond the 1980s and ’90s and still batten three or four times a month: about admired artists who never absolutely got their due, about aggregate memories of long-ago gigs and about the hazards of growing old in a business that prizes the new aloft all else.

“We consistently had adequately aboveboard conversations,” Inglot says. “If you’ve accepted addition for 45 years, you’re activity to accept aphotic canicule and you’re activity to allotment them with anniversary other. But not on that day, and not at that time.”

A day later, on April 11, aloof afterwards midnight and as at atomic one beholder watched from the artery below, Stewart, 62, jumped to his afterlife from the roof of a city Santa Monica parking structure.

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Over his four decades at Rhino Annal and Apple, Stewart larboard his mark as one of the greatest curators the music business had anytime known, cataloging, packaging and recontextualizing abandoned and disregarded swaths of bedrock history, abundant as allegorical anthropologists Harry Smith and Alan Lomax had done for folk and for blues.

His ability was so abysmal that above Apple Music aide Brian Rochlin alleged him “unintentionally intimidating” aback it came to discussing pop culture. “No amount how abundant you admired something,” Rochlin said, afterwards talking to Gary, “you were activity to acquisition out that you knew a lot beneath than you anticipation you did.”

But on that April night, a life’s account of attraction — the millions of facts, opinions, melodies and admission stored in his anamnesis — vanished.

Cary Baker

When chat beforehand of Stewart’s suicide, his accompany rushed to amusing media to pay tribute. Calling the account “impossible to accept of,” music arranger Cary Baker recalled that Friday as “a web of emails, calls, texts and so abounding Facebook messages.” Mayor Eric Garcetti declared his and his wife Amy’s amore for Stewart, autograph on Twitter that he was “one of the funniest, best apprehensive bodies we knew.”

Musicians Elvis Costello and Billy Bragg, amateur Michael McKean, Blondie bagman Clem Burke and abounding others acclaimed their acquaintance and mourned his fate.

Stewart had lived with abasement throughout his life, but he kept it a abstruse from all but a few. Aback Inglot got the news, he started replaying their buzz alarm for admonishing signs but came up blank. “However I anticipation things were activity to comedy out for Gary, it wasn’t this. I feel like he had addition 20 years of actuality amorous about stuff.”

After his death, added than one actuality alleged Stewart a absolute activity George Bailey, abracadabra the anxious broker who contemplates suicide in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” But Stewart didn’t accept Clarence to stop his fall.

“I don’t anticipate it was any abstruse to Gary how admired he was,” says Baker, a longtime friend. “But somehow that wasn’t enough.”

Elvis Costello, left, Gary Stewart and Stewart’s acquaintance Jeanne Stawiarski

(Jeanne Stawiarski)

Gary Stewart never affiliated and had no kids. But he had an astronomic association of friends. Inglot and Baker were amid those who abounding Stewart’s 60th altogether affair in 2017, which drew 650 bodies to a Santa Monica auberge amphitheater and featured performances by San Francisco ability pop bandage the Rubinoos and body accompanist Swamp Dogg.

Drummer Danny Benair was there and was addled by the turnout: “He’s the abandoned actuality I apperceive who’s bushing ballrooms and he’s not some bedrock star.”

Across 45 years, Stewart had afflicted the way the ability hears music. By the time he was alleged controlling carnality admiral of A&R for Rhino Annal in 1992, he’d already overseen the conception of hundreds of “best of” CD abstracts and anthologies. At Apple’s iTunes, he alien Essentials playlists connected afore animate casework chaotic the business. Philosophically, he may accept done added to about-face the alert acquaintance from the single-artist LP and against a accumulation or playlist mentality than any added amount in music history.

Stewart’s Rhino abstracts afire the copy business. Not abandoned did they acquire much-needed royalties for endless lesser-known musicians, but they rewrote the assize of accepted music, alms counterprogramming to the codification tastes and ethics of the babyish boomers in power.

For his 1993 multi-volume “D.I.Y.” series, Stewart wrangled atomic jailbait and post-punk songs assimilate CD abstracts that served as both actual abstracts and artful arguments. “Teenage Kicks: U.K. Pop I,” affiliated mid-’70s jailbait and pub rock. A U.S.-focused set illustrated the abyss and ambit of bounded jailbait and power-pop scenes. Stewart’s Los Angeles volume, “We’re Desperate: The L.A. Scene 1976-1979,” gave articulation to the aesthetic ambit of Southern California punk.

“He was alluringly ill-fitted to the way music has gone,” says Elvis Costello, who formed with Stewart on abundant projects over the decades. “If you abbey music properly, bodies can blunder beyond admirable songs that may accept contrarily been active on albums in cut-out racks.”

As the earlier of two ancestors growing up on the Westside, Stewart was a ability freak. With the beforehand of his movie-going, music-loving parents, Stewart and his brother, Mark, calm banana books, monster cards, stamps and coins. As Gary hit boyhood in the backward 1960s, his brother recalls, he fawned over annal by Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Jackson 5 and their admired band, Three Dog Night.

“His activity afore Rhino was his almanac collection,” Mark Stewart says. Gary acclimated to allure “the able neighborhood” over to comedy annal as Gary aggregate trivia gleaned from the pages of Creem, Circus and Rolling Stone magazines. Aback Rhino Annal — the 3,000-square-foot almanac abundance that would eventually spawn the characterization — opened in Westwood in 1973, Stewart was one of its aboriginal customers. Along with Tower on the Sunset Strip and Aron’s on Melrose in the pre-Spotify era, Rhino was the abutting affair to the alleged angelic jukebox that West Los Angeles had, and its clerks served as the chase engines.

“The bigger music nerds would adhere out at our abundance because in those canicule there absolutely weren’t a lot of food for almanac fanatics,” recalls Rhino Annal architect Richard Foos. “Gary came in to the abundance one day, and I anticipate he never left.”

Alongside Foos, and added acute aboriginal Rhino advisers like Harold Bronson and Jeff Gold, Stewart formed his way up to abundance manager, voraciously logging music, liner addendum and opinions in his centralized database. In the mid-1970s, Rhino became a characterization as well, acute and affairs annal by a canaille accumulating of artists including Agrarian Man Fischer and Allan Sherman afore affective on to repackaging the catalogs of acclaimed and semi-famous artists from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

During the ’80s, as vinyl ceded the bazaar to bunched discs, acquirement soared. Stewart ascended to carnality admiral of A&R, and did so during one of the best assisting decades in music business history. His above Rhino co-workers say Stewart was the allegorical force in Rhino’s success.

“He helped address the book on the current-day copy business,” Baker says. “When I was a kid, reissues were little bargain LPs. They were advised car-wash purchases. Gary animated them to aerial art.”

Rhino connected its success through the 1990s, bearing alternation including year-by-year Billboard hit distinct collections and the absolute “In Ya Face” alarm compilations, added career-redefining sets on Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield, Otis Redding and John Prine. The four-CD “Aretha Franklin: Queen of Soul” accumulating awash added than 100,000 box sets alone.

These days, says Inglot, “if you advertise 50,000 of annihilation you’d breach out the affair hats.”

Rhino awash to the Warner Music Group in 1998 and founders Foos and Bronson ancient a few years later. Stewart backward on afterwards they left. Never abundant for accumulated hierarchies and missing abounding of his peers, though, as the music business burst post-Napster, Stewart too put in his notice.

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In 2004 while Stewart was animate as an absolute ambassador and consultant, Steve Jobs called. Stewart didn’t admit the name and told his abettor he’d alarm back.

Reminded that this guy was transforming the world, Stewart reconsidered and took the call. Jobs told him the aggregation was attractive for a arch akin controlling for the iTunes project. The above Rhino controlling abutting Apple that year in the anew created position of arch agreeable officer.

Stewart’s job was to baby-sit and acclimate agreeable for the millions of downloadable beforehand aural the company’s music platform. Specifically, he helped beforehand the agenda mural by cementing the abstraction of hand-curated Essentials playlists. They’ve back become a defining affection of the animate age.

“Gary told me, ‘The aforementioned affair I was accomplishing on almanac I’m now accomplishing digital,’ ” Baker recalls. “He was autograph the arrangement for the future.”

Frustrations over his alteration job responsibilities — Apple had chock-full acknowledging Essentials — led Stewart to abandon iTunes in 2011.

“He had done actual well, economically, there,” Gold recalls. “At some point he decided, ‘I’ve done what I’ve done and they’re not absorbed in my vision.’ ”

For the abutting bristles years Stewart freelanced as an absolute consultant. In 2016, David Dorn, a above Rhino aide and again arch administrator of Apple Music, asked Stewart to acknowledgment to assignment on curation at the anew apparent animate platform.

“We’ve got 50 actor songs and we’re in a playlist world,” Dorn, who’s now a arch administrator in the company’s mapping division, recalls cogent him. “I couldn’t anticipate of a actuality who was bigger ill-fitted to admonition us actualize that ambience and storytelling.”

Stewart alternate to Apple for two added years. He and a aggregation of selectors helped body abounding of the bags of playlists that Apple Music subscribers abide to admission daily. He put in his apprehension in October 2018. Stewart told a above Apple Music accessory that he’d able his goals, but that “what they capital him to be accomplishing abutting wasn’t what he capital to be accomplishing next.”

“Gary had actual burdensome standards,” Gold says. Apple Music “stopped actuality fun for him. He couldn’t accompany himself to advertise out, which is how he saw it.”

Music arranger Fiona Bloom recounts Stewart’s growing annoyance with an industry that no best admired his affectionate of great expertise. “We talked a lot about how kids could aloof appear up and booty over a role that bodies absorb years access — not advantageous their dues, not animate those 10,000 hours. It was advancing to him.”

In the hours afore his death, Stewart alternate in a appointment alarm with colleagues from Liberty Hill, a association nonprofit advocating for economic, racial, LGBTQ and ecology justice.

The group’s co-founder, Sarah Pillsbury, says the chat complex strategies to “end adolescent amends as we apperceive it, and to appoint our donors and acquaintance legislators.”

Across his years at Rhino and Apple, Stewart adherent his time to amusing amends causes, including Liberty Hill; the Association Coalition, a community-driven South L.A. nonprofit on whose lath he served; and the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy. Stewart absolute the majority of his acreage to the leash of nonprofits, according to his brother, Mark Stewart.

That was aloof like Stewart. His reflex was to share. Those access to his anniversary Loser’s Christmas parties, which he captivated for added than 30 years, bethink adulatory and affectionate with a abiding available acquisitive to connect.

“He admired discussing things, both in actuality or on the phone. That’s area he shined the most,” Bloom says. “You go to a show, there’s endless of bodies you know. But again you go home and you’re sleeping in your bed alone. It can be absolutely lonely.”

Gary Stewart at the KROQ Cabaret in the backward 1970s

(Don Williams)

Pillsbury recalls that over the years they had announced about the difficulties of accepting old in the ball business. One of the bigger fears they shared, she says: “People are cerebration about me in the accomplished tense.”

It didn’t admonition that companies like Apple, Spotify and YouTube accept appear to await on algorithms to acclaim music to its users. Stewart’s affected ability of and affection for bedrock history was no best needed.

One labor-intensive Apple activity Stewart formed on, for example, School of Rock, presented the history of the music beyond a few dozen capacity and sets of playlists. Aback it bootless to allure abundant user interaction, the action was archived into a basic lock-box.

“They were affective in addition direction,” Rochlin says.

Corinne Bendersky, a assistant at UCLA Anderson School of Management, says she’s seeing “a lot of affair about AI and algorithms replacing white-collar jobs,” agnate to what happened with the addition of robotics into accumulation band work.

Bendersky addendum that Pandora, Apple Music and Spotify’s accoutrement are analogously disruptive, alike if they’re arrest jobs advised “more aesthetic or taste-based,” as she puts it. “That trend,” she says, “is actual abundant acceptable to continue.”

Some of Stewart’s abutting accompany say that in the weeks above-mentioned to his afterlife he had asked for, and received, admonition and advice.

“[H]e was depressed,” Jeff Gold wrote on Facebook. “He was black not accepting a job, relationship, accepting spent too abundant of his Apple money and not animate what the abutting affiliate of his activity was.”

Gold recalled a brainwork retreat Stewart abounding — “which he didn’t love,” Gold wrote — and “a actual aboveboard discussion” they’d had over cafeteria a few months before. The two talked about the biologic ketamine and its abeyant in alleviative depression. Gold beatific him a articulation to a blur involving MDMA analysis for PTSD survivors. Stewart replied two canicule afore his afterlife that the video had accustomed him a added compassionate of the approach.

As account beforehand of his passing, accompany aggregate to ache their accident and apprentice added about Stewart’s aftermost days. Some got calm for an ad-lib Seder, which helped those who acquainted like they’d absent signals or let bottomward their friend.

David Gorman, who formed with Stewart at both Rhino and Apple, compared Stewart to “the quintessential Jewish grandmother: ‘Don’t anguish about me, I’ll sit actuality abandoned in the dark,’ ” he said with a balmy laugh.

On June 1, the Skirball Center will host an afternoon canonizing in Stewart’s honor. Co-hosted by Rhino’s Bronson and Foos, Jeff Gold and artisan administrator John Silva, the accident will be accessible to the public.

In May, his accompany aggregate for a clandestine canonizing hosted by McCabe’s Guitar Shop, a few blocks from Stewart’s home. Between aggregate memories, attendees watched musicians including Billy Vera, Cindy Lee Berryhill, Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple of the dBs and Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night bless a life.

Vera, who denticulate Rhino’s abandoned No. 1 almanac with “At This Moment,” remarked that his accord would never accept happened after Stewart. Noting the aggregate of sad songs aggregate from the date beyond the night, Vera protested, reminding the army of Stewart’s access to life. “Gary had a faculty of humor. He capital us to be happy, so let’s be happy.”

For abounding of Stewart’s friends, that’s easier said than done. The able affair makes no sense.

“Every affliction can be borne if we can acquaint a adventure about it,” says Pillsbury, commendation biographer Karen Blixen. “But sometimes you can’t acquaint a story, because there’s one unknown, and there’s abandoned this adverse ending.”

For tips, records, snapshots and belief on Los Angeles music culture, chase Randall Roberts on Twitter and Instagram: @liledit. Email: [email protected]

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UPDATES:

12:56 p.m. This commodity was adapted with added capacity about a June 1 canonizing service.

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