PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Press is music to Denise Rich's ears

NEW YORK: Until last week, she hid from the press and invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying about the controversial pardon of her ex-husband, Marc Rich. But when the muse beckoned, Denise Rich could resist no more and made an unexpected appearance to accept an award for a song she co-wrote for Natalie Cole.

NEW YORK: Until last week, she hid from the press and invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying about the controversial pardon of her ex-husband, Marc Rich. But when the muse beckoned, Denise Rich could resist no more and made an unexpected appearance to accept an award for a song she co-wrote for Natalie Cole.

NEW YORK: Until last week, she hid from the press and invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying about the controversial pardon of her ex-husband, Marc Rich. But when the muse beckoned, Denise Rich could resist no more and made an unexpected appearance to accept an award for a song she co-wrote for Natalie Cole.

The media covering the story gave equal part to Rich's musical philosophy as it did the pardon scandal, earning Rich a melodious PR Play of the Week.

Rich appeared at Manhattan's Club Exit to collect an award for the Billboard No. 1 dance song, 'Livin' for Love.' She also appeared on Jersey City radio station WKTU-FM with Cole.

The New York Daily News printed a picture of the pair laughing it up in front of the mics. AP and CBS News also covered the story.

USA Today's coverage was particularly solicitous, crediting Rich with authorship of 200 songs since 1985, including 'Love is on the Way,' sung by Celine Dion, and 'Frankie,' sung by Sister Sledge.

Rich answered USA Today's questions by e-mail. The article said that she considers a classic song one with 'a good chorus, a great melody and edgy and honest lyrics.'

So was it all a calculated PR move designed to convince the cynical media that Denise Rich is actually a simple songwriter, and not just a wealthy socialite with a judgment-challenged checkbook?

Not at all, according to Marcia Horowitz, EVP at Rubenstein Associates, the firm that advises Rich. 'Denise had a longstanding commitment both to WKTU radio and to Natalie Cole and she wanted to fulfill that,' Horowitz said. 'Our job wasn't to seek coverage but to manage it.'



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