National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – August 15 – Jerry Wexler

0 Comments 15 August 2012


To sum it up in a sentence – Jerry Wexler helped introduce America to itself.

Starting in the 1950s, Mr. Wexler introduced black and Southern musicians to mainstream music listeners, when few whites paid attention to what was called “race music.” The powerful blend of gospel, blues and jazz, which he had renamed “rhythm and blues” in 1949 while working atBillboard Magazine, became the foundation of rock-and-roll, soul and modern popular music.

Not only but but he worked with musicians who came from a scene where the form of the music was impromtu and flowing.  He  tighted all that up to fit a radio-friendly (i.e. hit songs in under 3:00) audience. He also put Muscle Shoals on the music map –  which he ended up screwing later.

While he was at Atlantic Records they were in the midst of spearheading a rock-and-roll revolution. He helped sign and was somewhat of a creative force behind the brilliance of Aretha Franklin. He was also a major part of Atlantic signing people like Otis Redding amongst others.

Like the rest of us he made some mistakes. But who can blame him?

Take 7 minutes and read the obit. As the Cerrone brothers would say – You’ll be glad you did.

Jerry Wexler, a Behind-the-Scenes Force in Black Music, Is Dead at 91

By BRUCE WEBERPublished: August 15, 2008

Jerry Wexler, who as a reporter for Billboard magazine in the late 1940s christened black popular music rhythm and blues, and who as a record producer helped lead the genre to mainstream popularity, propelling the careers of Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and other performers, died on Friday at his home in Sarasota, Fla. He was 91. Continue

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