David Henney, the former Billboard Dance Chart who went on to become an acclaimed dance music promotion executive, first at Elektra Records under Leslie Doyle, then Logic Records and finally as an independent promotion team with former partner, Peter Knego, has passed away at his home in Pennsylvania at the age of 50 of unknown causes. Their are some reports he had fallen victim to an illness, but that has not been confirmed.
David and Peter were business partners from his post-Elektra days in the early 1990s through about 2005 and worked over 100 number one songs to the Billboard Dance Music chart. The cart is the barometer through which the global dance music industry derives the most popular dance music records being played at club and radio in the United States. (Disclosure: I was a Billboard Dance Chart Reporter from 1992-1994). It’s also the driver behind the industry’s penchant to license music that hits the charts in the USA to its European, Asian and South American counterparts.
According to Peter, Madonna’s “Music” and Cher’s “Believe” were their most prominent successes at the number one slot on the chart, but he said, “there were all sort of milestones on our joyous ride together in Billboard “promo” land.”
Peter said, “David’s favorite song was Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life”…but he was a big diva at heart and loved and worked everyone from Whitney Houston (“It’s Not Right…”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, etc.) to Deborah Cox to Bjork, Dee-lite, Toni Braxton, and so many more.”
David was awarded RIAA certified platinum awards for “Ray Of Light” by Madonna, “Believe” by Cher, a double disc plaque from Enrique Iglesias, one for Bette Midler’s “Bathouse Bette” and for both the debut and follow-up Spice Girls albums.
Peter said, “I loved David’s sense of humor and fun but most of all, he was a genuine friend and had an incredible business ethic. He would never take a record for the money if he didn’t believe it would work on the charts. He was generous, honest and always had my back.”
David was extremely influential in the development of DJ culture and growth of dance music into the global phenomenon it is today. Many of his friends and supporters have taken to Twitter and Facebook to share their sadness as the industry morns one of its hardest working and dedicated children
We will update this story as more information comes out. We can report that Leslie Doyle confirms there will be no service, but a memorial will take place at the legendary Shep Pettinbone’s club in Asbury Park, NJ sometime in the near future. Doyle reports it was at the club that David played his last DJ set.