Jerry Wexler  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



"Respect"[1] and "Son of a Preacher Man"[2].

Gerald "Jerry" Wexler (January 10 1917August 15 2008) was a music journalist turned music producer, and was regarded as one of the major record industry players behind music from the 1950s through the 1980s. He coined the term "Rhythm and Blues", and was integral in signing and/or producing many of the biggest acts of the last 50 years, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Wilson Pickett, Dusty Springfield and Bob Dylan. Wexler was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

He coined the term "Rhythm and Blues", and is regarded as one of the major record industry players behind 1960s soul music.


During his time as an editor, reporter, and writer for Billboard Magazine, Wexler coined the term "rhythm and blues." He became a partner in Atlantic Records in 1953. There followed classic recordings with Ray Charles, the Drifters and Ruth Brown. With Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün, he built up Atlantic Records into a major force. In 1967 he was named Record Executive of the Year for turning Aretha Franklin's career around.

In the 1960s, he notably recorded Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin, and oversaw production of Dusty Springfield's highly acclaimed Dusty in Memphis album. He also cultivated a tight relationship with Stax Records, was an enormous proponent of the then-developing Muscle Shoals Sound and founded the fortunes of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. His work in this decade put Atlantic at the forefront of soul music.

In 1968, he and Ahmet Ertegun signed Led Zeppelin to Atlantic Records on the strength of a demo tape played by the band's manager Peter Grant and from what they knew of the band's guitarist, Jimmy Page from his performances with The Yardbirds.

In 1975 Wexler left Atlantic Records for Warner Bros. Records. In 1979, Wexler produced Bob Dylan's controversial first "born again" album, Slow Train Coming, at Muscle Shoals; a single from that album, "Gotta Serve Somebody", would win a Grammy in 1980. In the early 1980s, Wexler would record with UK popstar George Michael. The most famous outtake of these sessions would prove to be a rare early version of "Careless Whisper" (also recorded in Muscle Shoals). The version was originally released as "Special Mix" on an early pressing of the single's 12".

In 1987 Wexler was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Wexler retired from the music business in the late 1990s.

Movie portrayal

In Ray, the biopic of Ray Charles, Jerry Wexler is portrayed by Richard Schiff, best known for his role of Toby Ziegler on the acclaimed series The West Wing.

Interviews and archive footage of Wexler are featured prominently in the 2000 documentary film Immaculate Funk, which explores the roots of the classic American R&B and soul music.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Jerry Wexler" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools