Jerry Blavat died this week at age 82. He battled myasthenia gravis, a neuro muscular disorder that is a cruel disease.
Jerry was Philadelphia’s music diplomat, an international celebrity, deejay, and TV personality. Everyone in the music business knew him and loved him. He was indefatigable, a total music cheerleader. We were not close pals, but I admired him. He was always there to root for people. I remember how much he liked Phoebe Snow back in the day, and he was also a fan of my film, “Only the Strong Survive.”
“The definition of the word mensch is Jerry Blavat,” says my friend Joyce Moore. She knew him a long time but not even as long as her famous husband, Sam Moore, of Sam & Dave. It was Jerry who stood down the infamous Morris Levy, owner of Roulette Records, when the duo wanted to break their contract and move to Atlantic Records. Blavat, Sam recalls, marched them into a Miami club and secured Levy’s reluctant agreement.
Everyone in rock and roll has a Blavat story. He simply loved the music, loved the business. On radio he was nicknamed “The Geater with the Heater.” He literally made groups like the Four Seasons and the Isley Brothers, was instrumental in the careers of Todd Rundgren and Daryl Hall, and everyone from Philadelphia International. If there’s Mt. Rushmore of disc jockeys, with Cousin Bruce, Alan Freed, Murray the K, and Wolfman Jack, Jerry Blavat is there with them.