View Full Version : Music Jerry Wexler is Dying...and why you should care.

07-01-2008, 03:21 PM
Got this e-mail from a friend, thought I'd pass it along, and tag on the Wiki listing on Jerry Wexler, so you can get a snapshot of what he's meant to popular American music over the past 50 years.

Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2008
From: Dick Waterman <jinxblues@aol.com>
Subject: Do yourself a favor . . .

Jerry Wexler is now 91 and slowly fading from chronic heart disease. He has lived alone since his wife went into an extended care facility and Jerry is now going to move into a hospice which will take care of him for whatever time he has left.

If you have ever wanted to write a letter to a hero and thank him for what he's meant to you, this might be a very good time to do it. Keep it upbeat and positive because the man still has his ego and a pretty keen evaluation on what his contribution have been. After all, this is the man who literally created the term "Rhythm & Blues" back when he was a writer.

Don't be sad for him. He's lived a hell of a life and he's going out tough-minded, feisty and unapologetic. He's still a straight talker and he'll be sarcastic and talking trash with his last breath.

For some reason still unknown to me, he gave me his friendship some decades ago and he has stayed close to me with phone calls, letters and new music that he thinks I should hear.

If you do write him a letter, just tell him what Jack Dupree's "Blues From the Gutter" means to you; tell him that you love his work with Bob Dylan; tell him that America would be a far poorer country if he had never gone into the studio with Aretha . . .

When he's gone, he'll be glad that you took the time to drop him a line. Please feel free to cross post this to any and all other music groups to which you belong.

Jerry Wexler
5829 Riegel's Harbor Road
Sarasota, FL 34242

Dick Waterman
Oxford, MS

Wiki Listing:

Gerald "Jerry" Wexler (born January 10, 1917) is a music journalist turned music producer, and is regarded as one of the major record industry players behind music from the 1950's through the 1980's. He coined the term "Rhythm & 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 & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Early life

Wexler was born in the Bronx, New York City, into a Jewish family. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. After the war, he attended Kansas State University (where he had also been from 1936, but as a student with a desultory interest), and following graduation went to work for BMI and the publishing division of MGM.


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 ErtegŁn, 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 what they knew of the band's guitarist, Jimmy Page from his performances with The Yardbirds.

In 1975 Wexler Left Atlantic Record for Warner Bros. Records. In 1976 Wexler produced a great record for the soulful Vocalist/Keyboardist Michael Finnigan featuring the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, but was ignored by the public due to no push and help at Warner Bros. at the time. 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".

Wexler has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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.

07-01-2008, 03:54 PM
Can you please bold the parts that I should care most about?

07-01-2008, 05:24 PM
Wow.. someone copy and pasted a wikipedia entry.. The question is why and why should we care..

07-01-2008, 05:50 PM
Can you please bold the parts that I should care most about?

Ok, try this then: