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Ardent Records co-founder, music promoter was 78

John King, a co-founder of Memphis’ Ardent Records, a veteran music promoter and radio historian, has died.

King’s family confirmed he died Monday morning. He was 78.

A charming and indefatigable promo man from the golden years of the Memphis music business, King was perhaps best known for his efforts on behalf of ’70s Memphis pop band Big Star — whose debut album, “#1 Record,” was released 50 years ago . “If it wasn’t for John, no one would’ve known Big Star,” said band co-founder Jody Stephens. “He was such a creative and enthusiastic guy.”

King famously helped revive the band after it split briefly in 1973, by making them the centerpiece of a legendary one-off event in Memphis, known as the National Association of Rock Writers Convention. “John had that independent spirit, that Memphis spirit, to think outside the box,” said Robert Gordon, author of the Bluff Music history “It Came From Memphis.”

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