Tuesday, August 19, 2008

RIP Jerry Wexler

Via James Hale, I read that the third member of the Atlantic Records triumvirate, Jerry Wexler, has passed at the age of 91.

His tombstone will read "He Changed the World." (He once stated he'd like it to read "More Bass.") And far from being hyperbole, he was truly responsible, along with the brothers Ertegun, for unleashing some of the most influential music - if the list stopped at Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin it would be enough - upon the public. Additionally, he gave engineer extraordinaire Tom Dowd the chance to showcase his craft and bring in cutting-edge technology to the Atlantic studios. Dowd mentored an engineer/producer named Phil Ramone. It all comes back to Wexler.

With the death of Wexler, joining the Ertegun brothers, we have lost a rare breed: a record label executive with big ears. Even though he was not a musician himself, he had cultivated his tastes and was willing to take chances on artists he believed in. Anybody who is still on the business side of the music industry should tip their hat to Wexler - he is the standard by which I wish they all were measured.

Save vs. Death
Owen Adams (The Guardian)
Nick Hornby

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