Atlantic Records Founder Dead at 83
Thu, 14 Dec 2006 16:43:04
Ray Charles Photos
One of the most influential record executives in American music history, Ahmet Ertegun, died today (December 14th) at New York Presbyterian Hospital, the result of injuries he suffered in a fall at an October 29th Rolling Stones concert. He was 83 years old and had been in a coma since his fall.
Ertegun was the co-founder and head of Atlantic Records, which first gained success in the 1950s with soul/R&B artists like Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin. The success of labels like Atlantic in helping black recording artists reach a wider audience paved the way for later hitmakers like Motown.
Later, Atlantic was at the forefront of the British Invasion, introducing American audiences to up-and-coming British groups like the Stones, Cream and Led Zeppelin. Ertegun is credited with personally signing all three bands, as well as being the one who suggested that Neil Young form a supergroup with Crosby, Stills & Nash.
Today, Atlantic is part of the Warner Music Group and continues to be one of the most successful labels in the industry at breaking new artists. Recent Atlantic success stories include James Blunt, Gnarls Barkley, T.I. and Sean Paul.
Ertegun, the son of a Turkish ambassador, will be buried in his native Turkey, a spokesman for Atlantic said. A memorial service will be held in New York sometime after the New Year.
--The ARTISTdirect Staff