Saturday, July 13, 2024

(UPDATED) RIP Jerry Moss, 88, Legendary Record Biz Man of A&M, Sting Writes: “A devastating loss for me and everyone who knew him”


UPDATED THURS MORNING: Sting writes to us exclusively:

“Jerry was a gentleman first and foremost, a friend, a mentor, a confidante, and his extraordinary success in business came in large part from these humble qualities. A unique man, and a devastating loss for me and everyone who knew him.


So sad to report the passing of Jerry Moss. The 89 year old founder of A&M Records with Herb Alpert was beloved, a true gentleman, with incredible taste in music. And horses.

Moss’s family gave a formal statement today. They wrote: “He was surrounded by family and friends who loved and cherished him. They truly don’t make them like him anymore and we will miss conversations with him about everything under the sun, the twinkle in his eye as he approached every moment ready for the next adventure.”

Jerry, who was tall and lanky, founded A&M with Herb in the mid to late 60s. They started with records by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. But their breakthroughs came quickly. First it was the Carpenters that made the A&M logo spin in turntables into millions in sales. Then Jerry distributed Lou Adler’s Ode Records, which put out a record called “Tapestry” by Carole King. It was a hit, you know.

As Jerry might say, they were off to the races.

For two decades, A&M was the premiere indie standalone label. They signed Cat Stevens through Chris Blackwell. They had the Captain and Tennille, whose “Love Will Keep Us Together” was a monster record. Joe Cocker, Humble Pie, Peter Framptons’ mega hit “Frampton Comes Alive” were all on A&M. My favorite early A&M singles were Lee Michaels’ “Do You Know What I Mean?” and a Cat Stevens song called “First Cut is the Deepest” covered by literally everyone and probably Yusuf Islam’s biggest copyright.

When punk and New Wave hit, A&M got the Sex Pistols, the Go Gos, Squeeze, and most importantly, the Police. Jerry’s relationship with Sting went on for decades. He even named one of his winning race horses Giacomo after Sting’s youngest son.

A&M Records gave us Sheryl Crow, UB40, Suzanne Vega, Bryan Adams, Supertramp, and Free– yes, the ubiquitous “All Right Now” came from Jerry and Herb at the very beginning of their run in 1970. It’s on every commercial fifty years later.

There are dozens more records and artists, especially Herb Alpert. Herb and Jerry got the very first Grammy trustees Icon Award. I was there, it was thrilling because they were among the very few — Clive Davis, Berry Gordy. Ahmet Ertegun, Seymour Stein — who had a vision that will never be repeated.

Condolences to Jerry’s family, fans, friends, artists — he touched a lot of lives. Thank you, Jerry. for everything.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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