Ozzy Osbourne Mourns Death of ‘Great Friend’ in Heartbreaking Post

by Matthew Memrick

Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne reached out on Twitter to express his sadness over the death of a music business executive who was a “great friend.”

Osbourne said his friend, Dell Furano, was a legend in the merchandising industry and a true gentleman.

According to Billboard, the 70-year-old Furano was a music business executive for more than 30 years. In another Billboard article, Furano spoke about his beginnings as a T-shirt seller.

A partnership with legendary concert promoter Bill Graham and a question about the Grateful Dead T-shirt stand helped the man quit law school and go into merchandising sales.

“In the ’70s, it was not cool selling merchandise, so we had to be careful,” Furano said. “Groups would say, ‘OK, you can sell, but don’t ­embarrass us. Stand in a corner.’” 

The plan was simple, according to San Francisco Weekly. Furano and Graham got bands to sign contracts. Next, they’d make tour T-shirts for the bands. 

Finally, the bands would sell those T-shirts at a higher price at every tour stop. 

His Friend Made Mad Money With T-Shirts

In 2017, Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association said its industry makes $12 billion a year.  

Furano was an entrepreneur behind the concert performance merchandise industry. He also worked on celebrity brand management and licensing. In 2017, he was the first music executive inducted into the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association Hall of Fame.

Furano’s company, Epic Rights, worked with several artists, including The Beatles, John Lennon, KISS, AC/DC, and The Rolling Stones. Others included Madonna, Led Zeppelin, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Britney Spears, Maroon 5, The Who, Tim McGraw, Barbra Streisand, Osbourne, Aerosmith, and the Grateful Dead.

Ozzy Osbourne & Other Bands Get Flak Over Young Band Hires

Recently, the legendary singer got some broad criticism from another guitar player.

Dokken guitarist George Lynch, in talking with Waste Some Time With Jason Green via Ultimate Guitar, commented on the recent trend of older acts and their need to get younger band members.

Lynch observed that older bands needed their original or more senior players to play with them. He didn’t understand why older ‘cats’ went with younger guys unless it was about paying them less money.

“It’s just very disingenuine to me,” Lynch said. “Like Ozzy or Ronnie James Dio hiring an 18-year old guitar player, and he’s like 70 – that doesn’t make any sense.”

Lynch further stated that paying guys $10,000 a week “was nothing compared to what a founding member is getting off a band that’s making those guarantees.”