Phil Walden was co-founder of the Macon, Georgia-based Capricorn Records with his younger brother Alan Walden and a friend, former Atlantic Records executive, Frank Fenter. Walden served as Otis Redding’s manager from 1959 until Redding’s death in 1967. Walden hosted one of Redding’s first shows at the Phi Delta Theta lodge in the sixties. He later helped launch the career of the Allman Brothers Band.
After managing several R&B acts in the 1960s, including Al Green, Sam & Dave, Percy Sledge, and Redding, Walden helped create the Southern rock genre with Capricorn Records, where the roster featured the Allmans, the Marshall Tucker Band, Elvin Bishop, Wet Willie, Bonnie Bramlett, White Witch, Hydra, Grinderswitch, and the Dixie Dregs. Personal and financial difficulties led to the demise of Capricorn in 1980, but Walden resurrected the label ten years later in Nashville, kicking off the return with the debut album from Widespread Panic and the eclectic band Sonia Dada.
Walden was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1986. Phil Walden died of cancer at the age of 66 in his home in Atlanta on April 23, 2006.