By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated October 04, 2010 at 12:39 PM EDT

Solar Records founder Dick Griffey, 71, died Sept. 24 in Los Angeles after quadruple bypass surgery, the New York Times reports. By championing Solar acts like Shalamar, Klymaxx, the Whispers, and Lakeside, Griffey played a pivotal role in the development of disco and R&B in the 1980s.

Born in Nashville in 1938, Griffey spent the 1960s working as a club owner and successful concert promoter in L.A. By the next decade, he was working as talent coordinator on TV’s Soul Train and soon teamed with host Don Cornelius to found Soul Train Records. Griffey left in 1977 to start his own label, Solar Records. The name was originally an acronym for “Sound of Los Angeles Records.”

The label went on to score many influential hits with the bands mentioned above and others. As noted by the Associated Press, Solar is also where Antonio “LA” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface Edmonds” — now the chairman of Island Def Jam and a noted artist and producer, respectively — got their starts as members of R&B group the Deele.

Check out Klymaxx’s 1985 dance classic “Meeting in the Ladies Room,” one of Solar’s biggest hits, after the jump. Please join the Music Mix in sending its condolences to Griffey’s family and friends in the comments below.

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