Joseph Isgro was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and began his career by serving his country in the United States Marine Corps. At the age of 19 he was presented with a Purple Heart for his bravery and wounds received during combat in the Vietnam war. This was only the beginning of his outstanding achievements.
Soon after completing his term with the Marines in 1968, Joe decided to take his career in a different direction and applied for a position as the local promotion director for Decca Records
(which later became MCA Records). Accepting this position, he was responsible for the record promotion of various artists for the Pennsylvania and New Jersey territories. Some of these artists included; Neil Diamond, Murray Head’s, Jesus Christ Superstar, Sonny & Cher, The Who and Elton John. With two years experience under his belt and hopes of advancing his career, in 1970 Joe went to work for Paramount Record as the regional promoter, working with such artists as Billy Joel, Dave Mason and The Crusaders.
With great hope that he would join their team, Schwartz Bros., the largest independent record distributor, approached Joe to head up the promotion division of their new Philadelphia branch. With Motown, A&M, RCA Records, Chrysalis and Artista Records as clients, Joe gladly accepted.
Now that he had mastered regional promotion, it was time to go National, and in 1974 Roulette Records hired Joe as the National Director of Promotion. He led the entire promotional staff and oversaw the company’s publicity and advertising department. Joe was responsible for the development of Tommy James and K.C. & The Sunshine Band.
The big break came when Motown Records hired Joe in 1976 as Regional Director of Promotion. He was responsible for the promotion and development of Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Lionel Richie, The Jacksons, The Commodores, Thelma Houston and Teena Marie. In the years to follow, Joe was promoted to National Director of Promotion which brought him to California and then to Executive Vice President of Promotion. He directed the entire promotional staff, handled all radio formats, radio airplay, time buys and maintained a liaison between artists, management, sales and marketing.
After several years with Motown, Joe left and became involved in the formation of EMI Records, a division of Capitol Records. This was EMI’s first venture in the United States and Joe was brought on board to handle the entire West Coast. He was an essential part of the first promotion staff at the new label working with such artists as J. Geils Band, Kenny Rogers and The Stray Cats.
Now it was time for Joe to make the biggest move of his career and in 1979 he formed his own independent record promotion and consulting company, Isgro Enterprises, Inc. By this time Joe had built relationships with every major record label and continued the promotion and marketing of their record releases. Some of these releases included records from Michael Jackson, Culture Club, Neil Diamond, Journey, Diana Ross, Paul Young, Lionel Richie, Dionne Warwick, Hall & Oates, Barbra Streisand, The Rolling Stones, Supertramp, Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton, Wham,
Bruce Springsteen, Kim Carnes, Chicago, Patti LaBelle, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Elton John,
David Bowie, U2, Madonna, George Michael, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul many more.
The next step was to expand Isgro Enterprises to include their own record label. That is exactly what Joe did. He created LARC Records (Los Angeles Recording Company) which was distributed by MCA Records. LARC acquired such artists as The Ch-Lites, The Dells, The Staple Singers and Bonnie Pointer. Soon after the formation of LARC Records, Joe established a second label, Private I Records, distributed through Columbia Records. The first release of Private I Records was Matthew Wilder’s “Break My Stride,” which attained a #1 chart position in the U.S. and seven other countries. Under Joe’s guidance Private I Records had an unprecedented total of 27 chart singles.
It was Joe’s vision and insight that led to the label branching out into film and television soundtracks. He created an active music publishing division. National League Music (ASCAP) and American League Music (BMI) and hired Jay Warner, one of the most knowledgeable individuals in the world of music publishing. Some of these soundtracks included; Good Fellas, Colors, Police Academy II and IV, Married To The Mob, Silkwood, In Living Color, The Arsenio Hall Show, Hill Street Blues, Fright Night, Coming To America, Back To The Beach, Heavenly Bodies, Satisfaction, etc. Mr. Warner’s success include running “The Entertainment CO’s” west coast operation (The forerunner of SBK Entertainment) and becoming the founder and head of K-Tel’s worldwide publishing operations. American League and National League are responsible for marketing and administering publishing for such acts as: Rick James, Dobie Gray, Ross Vannelli, Tony Haynes and many more. In addition, the catalogues have been utilized by various artists worldwide, including; LL Cool J, DJ Jazzy Jeff, MC Hammer, The Temptations, The Cover Girls, LaToya Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Jeffrey Osborne, Gino Vannelli, The Commodores, Steve Perry, Whitney Houston, Patrice Rushen and Chaka Khan, and list goes on.
Joe then went on to form Mecca Records and Mecca Management which specializes in counseling artist’s with all contractual negotiations and career decisions. With careful nurturing and personal attention, the management team is able to attain success for an aspiring artist or maintain continual growth for an already accomplished act. A full service touring department was headed by Stu Ric who successfully structured domestic and international tours to ensure optimal exposure. Such tours include; The Barkays, Jazz Crusaders, Cameo, Baha Men, Chaka Khan, Rick James, James Brown, Edgar Winters & Rick Derringer, The Isley Brothers, Puff Daddy, The Commodores and Luther Vandross to name a few. Mecca Management has provided representation for 1993 Grammy nominated reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, Writer Tony Haynes (Bobby Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Robert Palmer, Al Jarreau), writer/producer Laney Stewart (Patti LaBelle, Aaron Hall, Go West, Chante Moore & Keith Washington), RCA Records artists Georgio, Apollonia, John Sykes (Formerly of White Snake), Baha Men and more.
Over the years, Joe developed a real passion for visual creativity. In association with 20th Century Fox, Joe boldly ventured into the movie industry. He released his first film, “HOFFA,” as Executive Producer. The film starred Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito and Armand Assante.
It was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. Joe went on to Executive Produce, the 2007 feature “Made In Brooklyn.”
Presently, Mr. Isgro finds himself engrossed in film. For him, it is a natural evolution. To hear Joe speak about his projects, one walks away with a feeling of cinematic splendor. With great excitement, Joe is producing the following; “Break” & “Jimmy’s Cafe,” these two feature films are scheduled for release in 2009, “Demoted,” this one is in post-production, slated for release in 2009 as well. For 2010, Joe has a full slate of cinematic treasures which include; “Charlie Lucky Luciano” and the other one, the just as provocative “Pablo Escobar”. In 2010 Joe will also release “Freaky Deaky” and High School.” This new Chapter in Mr. Isgro’s long and illustrious career promises to be the crowing jewel of the highlight reel of the man, the myth and the legend that is Joseph Isgro.