August 16, 2008

JERRY WEXLER  1/10/17 – 8/15/08

“Jerry Wexler, who as a Billboard magazine writer changed the name of the genre from “Race Records” to the more respectable Rhythm and Blues, became a partner with Ahmet and his brother Neshui. Together they turned their little record company, Atlantic Records, into one of the major forces of the 20th Century!

When they brought, the Muscle Shoals Sound and Stax distribution deal into the equation, Memphis Soul dominated the charts. Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd produced classic records by Aretha Franklyn, and Dusty Springfield at Stax studios in Memphis Muscle Shoals studios using their musicians and songs in each location.

My friend, Quincy Jones, whose publishing I once represented, was overbooked to score films, and asked me to help him get someone to do the music for “Come Back, Charleston Blue”. This was the sequel to Sam Goldwyn, Juniors’ highly successful Blaxploitation film, “Cotton Comes To Harlem”. He got me the job and screen credit of musical consultant. The first composer to come to mind was Atlantic artist Donny Hathaway, who was riding high with his first album and single, “The Ghetto”. So Donny, in his Kangol Cap and me in my “Superfly” hat, “bop” into a screening of the film and had a commitment from both Sam, Jr. and Donny as soon as the lights came back on!

Now I had a chance to work with Jerry Wexler for the first time. He was a bit older than me, but he had twice the energy of a man half his age!  He had the ability to bring the best out of everybody, especially when he smiled, sorta’ like the grandfather you always wanted.”*

Jerry touched everyone who ever knew him with his humanity, and he will be surely missed.

Jerry Wexler, R.I.P. Rock In Perpetuity!

Respectfully, Artie Wayne

A list of Rolling Stones’, “20 essential Jerry Wexler productions”

Aretha Franklin “Natural Woman”, written by Goffin, King, Wexler.

From my forthcoming book, “I Did It For A Song”
Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne




  1. steve binder Says:

    I got to know Jerry when my partner, Bones Howe, and I were working on a television special with Leslie Uggums in the ’60’s in New York. He was a true giant in the music industry and respected by all that knew him as the creative genius behind Atlantic Records.

    Steve Binder

  2. Tom Diehl Says:

    What can be said about a legend like Jerry Wexler that hasn’t already been said? Not much…. the music he created was absolutely genius, and the world is a much sadder place now that he is no longer around. He will be missed by millions who recognize his name from the thousands of great 45’s that he lent his name to.

    RIP Jerry.

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