Al Cooley

Al Cooley, a multifaceted music industry figure whose career spanned across decades, died on June 9, 2022. He was 76. Cooley grew up in the Bronx and moved to Nashville in the early 1970s. After working as editor of a biweekly publication called Zoo World: The Music Megapaper, Cooley joined Combine Music in 1976 as a song plugger. In that role, he hired a then-unknown Kathy Mattea to sing demos and wrote a column for David Ross’ fledgling publication MusicRow. After Combine’s sale in 1986, Cooley continued in publishing until landing an A&R job in 1991 at Atlantic Nashville, the label that launched the careers of Tracy Lawrence, Neal McCoy and John Michael Montgomery. Departing after a label merger, Cooley accepted a position at Koch Nashville in 2004.