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Clizbeats Celebrates The Life Of Our Friend Singer/Songwriter/Executive, Tommy Page (May 24, 1970-March 3, 2017)

Tommy Page
  – Tommy Page

By Craig Clizbe

The beginning of March was tough for my brother Matt and I,  as we took some time to mourn the loss of our friend, singer/songwriter/music executive/ former Billboard Publisher, Tommy Page. Tommy sadly passed away suddenly  on Friday March 3, 2017. He was just 49 years old. The news was first reported the following day from his former home at Billboard, and was covered in several different types of media outlets soon after. His family released a statement after his passing.

“It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of our beloved Tommy Page who passed away this weekend. Tommy was a devoted father, husband, brother and son. He was loved by all of those he touched and will be sorely missed. Please respect our privacy at this time of deep sorrow.”

He is survived by his partner, Charlie, his children Owen, Ruby, and Alden, his parents Fred and Miriam Page, sister, Janet Hennessey, and his brothers, Bill and Jimmy Page.

That was a very sad weekend for us, and many others who knew Tommy through the years. Out of the many people Matt and I have met through our adventures in the music business, we were lucky enough to be able to call Tommy Page a friend. It is no secret to see how he became so successful in so many different aspects of entertainment. Tommy had a passion for everything he did, and had a positive energy that attracted all kinds of people from all walks of life. One of his God given gifts was his remarkable ability to be a kind and loyal friend. He never hesitated to tell stories and share his experiences, while at the same time doing whatever he could to help.

As a former teen idol singer/songwriter/music executive, and Billboard publisher, Tommy Page was many things to many people. In this post I will do my best to take a look back at his life and career, tell the story of his “dream come true” number one hit, “I’ll Be Your Everything”, and share how he was a supporter of us here at Clizbeats.

Thomas Alden Page was born in Glen Ridge NJ on May 24,1967. After attending James Caldwell High School and singing in a band with his brother Bill, Tommy began the process of pursing his dreams of becoming a professional entertainer. It all started  when he in college supporting himself as a cloakroom attendant for the famous New York City nighclub, Nell’s . It was there where Tommy first mingled with celebrities, as he took the coats from the big names like Whitney Houston, Rob Lowe, and The Beastie Boys. Working in a nightclub allowed Tommy to put his musical talent in the spotlight when he got the DJ to put his demo tape in the mix.

That soon caught the ear of Sire Records founder, Seymour Stein. Stein is best known for discovering superstar acts like Madonna, The Ramones, Depeche Mode, Talking Heads, Ice T, and many others. Stein recalled when he first met Tommy in a recently published article on Billboard.com. (3/8/17)

“I first met Tommy Page on a grand night for Sire: the New York premiere of Madonna’s Who’s That Girl film in 1987. Afterward, several of us headed downtown to Nell’s, which had become a hotspot for the music business and art crowds. The coat-check boy was Tommy Page.” Stein then talked about Tommy’s excitement upon meeting him.

“Seymour Stein, I’ve been waiting to meet you all my life!” He looked so young — he was 17 at the time — and admittedly, I was a bit tipsy, so I replied, “Well, that can’t be a very long time!”

That chance meeting helped a very young Tommy take one step closer to making his dreams come true. Stein signed him to a deal with Sire/Warner Bros Records a couple months later, and he hit the ground running. He began working on what was intended to be his first official release under Sire, when he was asked to write the theme song for the Phoebe Cates and Bridget Fonda film, Shag. He did this when he was just 18 years old while the film was still in production in the summer of 1987. The film and soundtrack ended up not being released in the USA until the summer of 1989, but that single would become Tommy’s first official music video. By that time Tommy also had already recorded and released his self-titled debut album. It was then when his career as a professional singer/songwriter began to take off.

"Shag" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Sire/Warner Bros. Records

“Shag” Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Sire/Warner Bros. Records

 

Tommy Page 

“The Shag”

From Shag Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Sire/Warner Bros. Records

 

Tommy Page "Tommy Page" Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy Page “Tommy Page” Sire/Warner Bros. Records

 

The Tommy Page album was off to a slow start, debuting at just 166 on the Billboard 200 in June of 1988. But Tommy began to find his fan base after the album’s second single; “A Shoulder To Cry On” was released in February of 1989. It ended up becoming Tommy’s first official hit, peaking at number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100. That was soon followed up by the Dance Pop track, “A Zillion Kisses”, which was able to reach number 45 on the Billboard Dance Club chart respectively. That success allowed Tommy to spend the majority of the year touring with the biggest Pop act in the world at that time, New Kids On The Block. He was an opening act for the boy band’s blockbuster Hangin’ Tough tour, which they co-headlined with MCA Records’ Teen Pop star, Tiffany. This time on the road would help Tommy’s star rise to teen idol status and eventually help him take another step closer to making his dream of topping the charts come true.

Tommy Page 

“A Shoulder To Cry On”

From Tommy Page 

Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy Page 

“A Zillion Kisses”

From Tommy Page 

Sire/Warner Bros. Records

 

It was during that time when Tommy would write his career defining hit “I’ll Be Your Everything” with Jordan Knight and other members of New Kids On The Block. Tommy told the story behind the spontaneous collaboration in Fred Bronson’s book, The Billboard Book Of #1 Hits. The story goes that while on the road with New Kids and Tiffany, a lonely Tommy Page would often find himself in hotel lobbies in various cities around the country, randomly playing tunes on the piano. After doing this regularly for a couple weeks he was eventually noticed by Jordan Knight.

Page told Bronson in the book, “We were at the Hyatt Hotel in Kansas City. Jordan came over and said, ‘Can I sit down on the bench?'”

Tommy played Jordan a new song he had partially written that would become “I’ll Be Your Everything.” Jordan liked what he heard, and Tommy reportedly offered the song to him for the New Kids’ next album. However in response Jordan expressed interest in holding on to it for a possible solo album that he wanted to record in the future. Tommy agreed, but plans would change a month later when he asked Jordan and some of the other New Kids to help him finish the song. Sire and Warner Bros. Records were picking up their option for Tommy to record a second album for them. That inspired Page to ask Jordan if he could include “I’ll Be Your Everything” on the upcoming project. Knight agreed if Tommy allowed him to produce it.

Tommy Page "I'll Be Your Everything" Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy Page “I’ll Be Your Everything” Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy Page Jordan Knight, and NKOTB member Danny Wood wrote the final version of the song. As promised Tommy did allow Jordan to produce the track, he did so alongside his band mate, Donnie Wahlberg and their collaborator Michael Jonzun. This was a significant achievement for New Kids On The Block because it was recorded at the height of their popularity, and was a unique opportunity for them to show their creativity as songwriters at a time when the majority of their music was still being written by their producer, Maurice Starr.

“I’ll Be Your Everything” was released as the first single from Tommy Page’s second album, Paintings In My Mind. It became a huge success at radio and received heavy rotation on MTV. Tommy talked to Bronson about how he eagerly helped get the song out to radio a little ahead of schedule in February of 1990.

Tommy Page "Paintings In My Mind" Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy Page “Paintings In My Mind” Sire/Warner Bros. Records

 

“The single was not supposed to come out until the end of February,” Page told Bronson. “I was a little devil and started giving the song to people [in radio] I shouldn’t have given it to. But before I knew it, my friends were calling [saying], ‘Your song’s on the radio.'”

“I’ll Be Your Everything” is still one of the most successful singles that the New Kids On The Block have contributed to creatively. It was certified gold by the RIAA and topped the Billboard Hot 100 in April of 1990. Tommy reflected on that success exclusively in an interview that was published here on Clizbeats.com in April 2010 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of “I’ll Be Your Everything” topping the charts.

Tommy Page (With New Kids On The Block)

“I’ll Be Your Everything” (Jordan Knight, Danny Wood, Tommy Page)

From Paintings In My Mind

Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Related Media 

Jordan Knight

“I’ll Be Your Everything” (Jordan Knight, Danny Wood, Tommy Page) (Original Demo)

From Jordan Knight Sings NKOTB (Released In 2007)

Essential Media Group LLC

 

His chart topping success was soon followed by another NKOTB collaboration, “Turn On The Radio”, co-written by Page, Knight, and Wahlberg. The video for that song also captured the experience Tommy was having while on tour with them. Upon hearing the news of his death the members of New Kids On The Block took to social media to mourn his passing.

 

 

Tommy Page 

“Turn On The Radio” (Tommy Page, Jordan Knight, Donnie Wahlberg)

From Paintings In My Mind

Sire/Warner Bros. Records


 

“I’ll Be Your Everything’s” success allowed Sire/Warner Bros to release follow up singles from Paintings In My Mind. Those included “When I Dream Of You”, which peaked at #42 on the Billboard Hot 100, and “Don’t Give Up On Love”, a duet with Sa Fire.

Tommy Page 

“When I Dream Of You”

From Paintings In My Mind

Sire/Warner Bros. Records


 

Tommy Page Featuring Sa Fire

“Don’t Give Up On Love”

From Paintings In My Mind

Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy’s fan base quickly grew with blockheads falling in love with his sound, as new and exciting opportunities quickly presented themselves. He was one of the artists featured on the soundtrack for the 1990 Warren Beatty blockbuster, Dick Tracy. Also, as mentioned in the 2010 Clizbeats interview Tommy made a famous appearance on the iconic 90s sitcom, Full House. That episode, “Crushed” aired on ABC on January 14, 1992 during the show’s season 5 run.

Dick Tracy Soundtrack (1990) Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Dick Tracy Soundtrack (1990) Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy Page 

“Blue Nights”

From Dick Tracy Soundtrack 

Sire/Warner Bros. Records


 

Full House (Season 5) Jeff Franklin Productions/Miller-Boyett Productions/Lorimar Television/Warner Bros. Television

Full House (Season 5) Jeff Franklin Productions/Miller-Boyett Productions/Lorimar Television/Warner Bros. Television

 

Clizbeats.com’s “Tribute To Tommy Page” (Originally Published In April 2010)

Clizbeats Productions 

Tommy played himself as a special guest at Stephanie Tanner’s 10th birthday party, singing a song he wrote that was named after her. The guest spot became one of Tommy’s most famous contributions to pop culture that he is still recognized for to this day.

 

Tommy Page 

“Stephanie”

From Full House

Season 5 Episode 16 “Crushed”

Jeff Franklin Productions/MillerBoyett Productions/Lorimar Television/Warner Bros. Television

Tommy Page "From The Heart" Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy Page “From The Heart” Sire/Warner Bros. Records

When it came time for Tommy to record his follow up to Paintings In My Mind, he was making an effort to make the transition from teen idol to a more mature Adult Contemporary sound. That album was, 1991’s From The Heart, and showcased Page using a wider vocal range than on his previous works. It featured his standout single, “Whenever You Close Your Eyes”, which was co-written by Michael Bolton and Tommy’s longtime friend, Diane Warren. Tommy also recorded the Diane Warren composition “You Are My Heaven,” that can also be found on From The Heart. After hearing of Tommy’s passing Diane took to both Twitter and Facebook with an outpouring of love, reflecting on their 29-year friendship.

Tommy Page (With Michael Bolton)

“Whenever You Close Your Eyes” (Michael Bolton/Diane Warren)

From From The Heart 

Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy Page 

“You Are My Heaven” (Diane Warren)

From From The Heart 

Sire/Warner Bros. Records

 

Tommy Page "A Friend To Rely On" Sire/Warner Bros. Records

Tommy Page “A Friend To Rely On” Sire/Warner Bros. Records

 

As music trends changed and Tommy’s teen idol image morphed into an adult eager to try new things. He continued to spend the 90s recording as his star continued to burn bright internationally. After his final album for Sire/Warner Bros, A Friend To Rely On was released in 1992; Tommy signed a new deal with Japanese label Pony Canyon Records. That deal led to albums recorded exclusively for his growing fan base in South East Asia. Those loyal and devoted fans would give Tommy the opportunity to continue to tour the world in recent years.

Tommy Page "Time" Pony Canyon Records

Tommy Page “Time” Pony Canyon Records

 

Tommy Page (Duet With Sally Yeh)

“I’m Always Dreaming Of You”

From Time

Pony Canyon Records

Tommy Page 

“Tell The World”

From Time

Pony Canyon Records

During that time of transition Tommy began to reinvent himself and branch out into other parts of the business. This process began when he was approaching his mid 20s. In 1994, he replaced Donny Osmond for three months in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. After that Tommy released his first compilation album, Greatest Hits Dedicated To You in 1995. He also made a special appearance on All My Best, a 1996 compilation album for his friend and former tour mate, Tiffany.

 

Tommy Page "Greatest Hits Dedicated To You"

Tommy Page “Greatest Hits Dedicated To You”

 

Tiffany "All My Best" MCA Records

Tiffany “All My Best” MCA Records

That became a time of reflection, which resulted in him making the decision to go back to school and finish college. In 1997 Tommy completed his education that he put on hold in the mid 80s when he graduated from NYU’s Stern School Of Business. In a 2010 NYU profile written by Kristine Jannuzzi, Tommy talked about how he was feeling when he made the decision to return to NYU.

“I realized it was harder and harder to transition from my teen pop image into more of a serious adult artist…I didn’t want to fight gravity; I wanted to leave before they kicked me out.”

In that same profile he reflected on how much of an enriching experience it was for him when looking to start the next chapter of his life.

“(It was) a magical time in my life. When people say there’s no campus life at NYU, it’s not true, because my very first experience at NYU was living in 430B in the Weinstein dorm, and I would say about six of my very dearest friends whom I still keep in touch with I met that first day on the fourth and third floors. We bonded and stayed in touch, and I’ll treasure those friendships for the rest of my life.”

That magical time gave Tommy the confidence to return to his musical home at Warner Bros Records to work behind the scenes in the promotions dept. His passion for music and the music industry was alive and well, and a refreshed Page discussed his determination to get back to Warner Bros in his NYU profile.

“They offered me some very low-paying job, but I was still making money from my music overseas, so I didn’t do it for the money. I took the job to get my foot in the door and have the opportunity to grow. Sure enough, after a year, I became a manager and then a director, then a year later a senior director, and now I’m a vice president.” (Published in December 2010)

He began the next chapter of his career at Warner Bros. Records in 1997 shortly after his NYU graduation. During that time he worked his way up in Top 40 Promotions and in the A&R dept. He thrived in his 14 years as a label executive, using his unique perspective as a pop star of years past to inform his decisions when helping foster the careers of new ones. He also got to reunite with his friends from the radio industry that he made when he was working to get “I’ll Be Your Everything” up the charts.

Tommy Page And Paul “Cubby” Bryant

From 103.5 KTU New York 

November 2008

He worked on projects from artists like Green Day. Michael Bublé, David Foster, Josh Groban, Alanis Morissette, Ashley Tisdale. The Veronicas, Iyaz, and many others.

)

Some Select Projects Tommy Was Involved In As An Executive

 

Josh Groban "Closer" 143/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

Josh Groban “Closer” 143/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

Josh Groban 

“You Raise Me Up”

From Closer

143/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

Michael Buble "It's Time" 143/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

Michael Buble “It’s Time” 143/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

 

Michael Buble 

“Home”

From It’s Time

143/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

 

 

Ashley Tisdale "Headstrong" Warner Bros. Records

Ashley Tisdale “Headstrong” Warner Bros. Records

Ashley Tisdale 

“He Said, She Said”

From Headstrong

Warner Bros. Records

 

 

 

Ashley Tisdale "Guilty Pleasure" Warner Bros. Records

Ashley Tisdale “Guilty Pleasure” Warner Bros. Records

 

Ashley Tisdale 

“It’s Alright, It’s Ok”

From Guilty Pleasure

Warner Bros. Records

 

The Veronicas "Hook Me Up" Sire/Warner Bros. Records

The Veronicas “Hook Me Up” Sire/Warner Bros. Records

 

The Veronicas 

“Untouched”

From Hook Me Up

Sire/Warner Bros. Records

 

Iyaz "Replay" Beluga Heights/Asylum/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

Iyaz “Replay” Beluga Heights/Asylum/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

 

Iyaz 

“Replay”

From Replay

Beluga Heights/Asylum/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

My brother Matt and I first connected with Tommy when he was the VP of A&R at Reprise/Warner Bros. Records in the summer of 2009. He was executive producing a boy band called V Factory that was in development at the label. At that time their top 40 hit “Love Struck” was first being serviced to pop radio. When I learned that the guy who had a #1 hit with New Kids On The Block was working on a boy band of his own, I knew there was a unique story there. I bravely reached out to him about V Factory, and before I knew it I was interviewing him on the phone about how his experience as a pop star was helping shape the careers of these other artists. Parts of that conversation were released in that 2010 interview audio production commemorating the 20th anniversary of “I’ll Be Your Everything” hitting #1.

V Factory 

“Love Struck”

Reprise/Warner Bros. Records

However, when I heard the news of Tommy’s death on the morning of March 4, I went exploring through the files in my interview archives and listened to the full conversation he and I recorded in 2009.

Craig Clizbe, Tommy Page, Matt Clizbe (2009 At Warner Bros. Records in New York City)

Craig Clizbe, Tommy Page, Matt Clizbe (2009 At Warner Bros. Records in New York City

 

Embedded below is what I would call an extended edit of the conversation that he and I had that day. Some parts were not recorded, because it was one of the rare times something went wrong with the phone call recorder while he and I were deep in conversation. In the audio you will hear Tommy’s enthusiasm for finding hit records, reflecting on his life experience in the in the business and proudly relate it to the success he had during his time as a Warner Bros. executive. Part of that came through in the story he told about signing Disney Channel star, Ashley Tisdale. This conversation took place right when Warner Bros. was gearing up to release her second album, Guilty Pleasure.

 

Clizbeats.com Interview With Tommy Page From Summer 2009 Extended Edit 

By Craig Clizbe 

Clizbeats Productions 


Tommy bonded quickly with my brother Matt and I after he learned that one of our mentors in radio was Mike Rossi from Wilmington Delaware’s WSTW FM. Mike had been a friend to Tommy for over 20 years, and they shared many personal conversations about life and family together. Rossi devoted part of his radio show to pay tribute to Tommy on March 6, 2017.

WSTW FM Tribute To Tommy Page By Mike Rossi 

WSTW FM

 

Charice And Tommy Page With Mike Rossi, Matt Clizbe And Craig Clizbe

Performing “Pyramid” (Live In The WSTW FM Studios April 2010)

WSTW FM

When Tommy and I first talked in 2009, we not only were able to share stories of mutual friends, but he always was engaged with who Matt and I interviewed here on the site. At that point we had already interviewed Robin Thicke multiple times, and one of the fun facts that Tommy and I both enjoyed was that one of my industry friends (Robin) who was currently a star, was helped by his friend Jordan Knight for the solo album that he and Tommy talked about many years before . He always did his best to encourage us and did whatever he could to help. An example of this was when he led the way in helping us with a special video production we did with David Foster’s artist Charice, who was discovered by Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey.

Clizbeats TV 

“Discover Charice”

Clizbeats Productions 


Whenever we would visit any of our contacts in the Warner Music Group building in New York, we would always find new people who also considered Tommy Page a friend. As time went on it was clear that he had his own club of friends that often blended into many of our friendships in the business as well. One of those people was Alicia Madison, a EDM/Pop singer from Freehold N.J. who became Clizbeats’ first artist to featured in our Indie Artist Spotlight in May 2011. Alicia reacted to Tommy’s passing on social media by sharing how he inspired her music career.
“I was his intern one summer in NYC while he was A&R for Warner Brother Records. One day, he brought me in his (big & beautiful) corner office to sing ON THE SPOT in front of him and my now long term manager Gary Salzman of Big Management. He told me he knew I would succeed in this industry but I just needed proper management. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He opened the door for me and I will never forget him.”

He left Reprise/Warner Bros Records in June 2011 to eventually work his way up to becoming Publisher at Billboard Magazine,. Through it all he always made an effort to stay in touch. Matt and I have fond memories of watching him perform “I’ll Be Your Everything” alongside artists like Rubix Kube, Tiffany, JJ Fad, Rob Base and Naughty By Nature at New York’s Canal Room, as his guests  in March of 2012. Tommy even took time out of his day to hang out with me at the New Music Seminar in June of 2013 when he was VP Of Music Partnerships at Pandora. He was never too busy, and always did whatever he could to make any of his friends feel special. His mentor Seymour Stein from Sire commented on Tommy’s evolution as an executive in his March 8th tribute in Billboard.

“Tommy and I stayed close, and I watched him go from success to success. He left Warner Bros. to become Billboard’s associate publisher, and within a year he was promoted to publisher — I was so pleased that it was Tommy who presented me with the first Billboard Industry Icon Award in 2012. He went on to top posts at Pandora, Cumulus and Village Voice Media, and continued to tour and record.”

No matter what part of the entertainment world Tommy found himself in, music was always part of his identity. His last music video was for “I Break Down 2015,” a re-worked slowed down version of his song from Paintings In My Mind.

Tommy Page 

“I Break Down 2015”

TAP Entertainment/Warner Music Group

Tommy was laid to rest on March 8, 2017 after an emotional funeral service at the First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell. It was great to be surrounded by so many who were touched by one man’s spirit and love. I would spend the days that followed trying to find the words to properly say goodbye to him here on Clizbeats.com. He was  just as much of a musician/executive that we published on publicly, as he was a supporter and friend behind the scenes. I have spent the time thinking of all the little ways he had an impact on my life. As his albums play, I have a smile on my face. I am reminded of the genuine soul he offered the world. Matt and I are comforted by the fact that the impact he had on us can be shared with so many. Tommy Page was someone that anyone who met him can proudly say that they were lucky to know him. Thank you for the memories and being the generous person you always were to me every time we talked. I always admired how you always showed everyone around you how to be good to all people in such an ego driven music business. No matter what I do in the future, I will always carry that with me as I continue to grow. Your loving spirit will live on in the hearts of all who knew you. Rest in peace my friend. We will miss you.