August 15, 2008

Jerry Wexler - R.I.P.

Jerry Wexler died Friday at the age of 91.

The son of Polish immigrants and a music buff since his teens, Wexler, a New York City native, landed a job writing for Billboard magazine in the late 1940s after serving in World War II and studying journalism at Kansas State University. He coined the term "rhythm and blues" for the magazine's black music charts; previously, they were listed under "race records."

While working at Billboard, Wexler befriended Ertegun -- a life-altering friendship for both. Ertegun and a partner had started Atlantic, then a small R&B label in New York. In 1953, when Ertegun's partner left for a two-year military hitch, Wexler stepped in as the label's co-director.

Posted by Vox at August 15, 2008 05:50 PM | R.I.P. , music

Thank you for mentioning Jerry's passing, Vox. For those of us in the recording industry, this is a significant event. Jerry inspired so many of us - we have looked up to him so much. He was in league with the great Tom Dowd, and Amhet Ertegun (a gentleman that I was fortunate enough to meet prior to his passing.) He'll be sorely missed. You might call him the Geoff Emerick of America - what a sad loss.

Posted by: John McJunkin at August 17, 2008 02:28 AM

Wow - meeting Amhet Ertegun, that must have been like shaking hands with history.

Amazing the changes these two men brought to the music industry.

Posted by: Vox at August 18, 2008 01:58 PM