An Icon Has Died, R.I.P Jerry

Jerry Moss, the iconic co-founder of A&M Records, has passed away at the age of 88, as announced by his family in a statement issued to the Associated Press. The family’s statement poignantly reflects their loss: “They truly don’t make them like him anymore and we will miss conversations with him about everything under the sun,” it reads, and highlights “the twinkle in his eyes as he approached every moment ready for the next adventure.”

Known as the “M” in A&M Records, Jerry Moss established this groundbreaking music label in 1962 alongside trumpeter and bandleader Herb Alpert, who represented the “A” in A&M. In the role of General Manager, Moss was instrumental in the management and direction of the label. Under their leadership, A&M Records became a cornerstone of the music industry and launched the careers of many bestselling acts of the rock era. Some of the notable artists that were part of A&M’s roster included The Police, Cat Stevens, The Carpenters, Joe Cocker, Styx, and Peter Frampton.

Jerry Moss was not only a savvy businessman but also a visionary. In the late 1970s and through the 1980s, as musical tastes were shifting, Moss reportedly played a significant role in reshaping A&M’s roster. He was pivotal in the incorporation of modern R&B into the label’s repertoire, making a home at A&M for artists like Janet Jackson. Notably, he also welcomed grunge bands, including Soundgarden, into the fold, demonstrating his ear for the evolving music landscape and his ability to adapt and grow the label accordingly.

In 1989, a significant chapter in the history of A&M Records came to a close when Moss and Alpert sold the label to Polygram for a reported sum of $500 million (£393 million). Despite the sale, both Moss and Alpert remained actively involved with the label. However, their tenure at the post-acquisition A&M was not smooth. By 1993, they had left the company following clashes with Polygram’s management. This exit, however, did not mark the end of their influential roles in the music industry.

In 1994, displaying their enduring passion for music and their skills in identifying and nurturing talent, Moss and Alpert formed a new label named Almo Sounds. Through this new venture, they continued to shape the music world, releasing albums from notable artists such as Garbage, Ozomatli, and Gillian Welch. Their indelible mark on the industry was formally recognized in 2006 when both Jerry Moss and Herb Alpert were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, solidifying their status as legends in the music business.

Jerry Moss’s legacy extends beyond the records and artists he helped to cultivate; he is remembered as a trailblazer whose work helped to shape an entire era of music. His life was not solely defined by his work, though; he is survived by his second wife, Tina Morse, and his three children. As his family’s statement suggests, Moss approached life with a sense of curiosity and adventure, characteristics that were evidently mirrored in his professional journey—a journey that transformed the world of music.

In summary, Jerry Moss, co-founder of A&M Records and a transformative figure in the music industry, has died at the age of 88. With his partner Herb Alpert, Moss built A&M into a powerhouse label, fostering the careers of numerous iconic artists. After selling A&M, Moss continued to influence the industry through his later venture, Almo Sounds. His legacy is celebrated by his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he is lovingly remembered by his family.