“Walter Yetnikoff was the man who changed everything at Columbia Records.
He engineered the SONY buyout of the label from the CBS corporation and directed the career support of numerous recording artists who would became household names, such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand.
Walter was a street fighter – a man who didn’t shy away from confrontation with other power players when it came to protecting his artist’s interests. I will always be eternally grateful to him for ensuring that my song copyrights and publishing rights were returned to me – intact.
I loved him as a dear friend and a mentor, in a business where real friendships don’t exist.
I owe much of my good fortune to Walter’s stewardship at the Columbia label.
I will miss him and the strong life force that he was.”
– Billy Joel