Jerry Wexler Dies At Florida Home
Fri, 15 Aug 2008 17:31:30
Jerry Wexler, a former journalist who helped turn Atlantic Records' roster into a powerhouse between 1953 and 1975, died in his Florida home today. He was 91.
Wexler's career began in the late '40s as he wrote reviews for Billboard and came up with the term "Rhythm and Blues." He joined Ahmet Ertegun at the head of Atlantic in 1953, a position he'd hold for more than two decades. During his time at the label, Wexler did a number of incredible things, including landing a mid-'60s distribution deal with Stax (Otis Redding, Booker T. and the MG's, et al.) and grabbing such major rock artists as Led Zeppelin and Cream.
Ertegun and Wexler sold Atlantic to Warner Seven Arts (now known as Warner Brothers) in 1968, a decision they'd later regret. "What a mistake," Wexler once told Rolling Stone. "Worst thing we ever did."
Wexler removed himself from the music industry in the late '90s, when he settled down in Florida. He is survived by two children and his wife, writer Jean Arnold.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff