Sweet Soul Music
December 15, 2006 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Ahmet Ertegun, 1923-2006. Co-founder of Atlantic Records, 83 year-old Ertegun had been in a coma since he fell backstage at a concert by The Rolling Stones at Beacon Theatre, NYC, in October. Very comprehensive obit -- more complete than either the one in Variety or New York Times -- to be found in UK's Guardian
posted by Mister Bijou (23 comments total)
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:49 AM on December 15, 2006

posted by chillmost at 8:01 AM on December 15, 2006

I looked on various tubes and could not find a clip of Ahmet Ertegun performing it, but it always amazed me to know that, among other things, he wrote Ray Charles' "Mess Around."
posted by emelenjr at 8:01 AM on December 15, 2006

What a drag it is getting old.
posted by scratch at 8:10 AM on December 15, 2006

posted by pyramid termite at 8:35 AM on December 15, 2006

posted by digaman at 8:36 AM on December 15, 2006


Died listening to the rock 'n' roll music he helped create from its very first days. If he had to go, I couldn't think of a better way for him to shuffle off this mortal coil.
posted by jonp72 at 8:38 AM on December 15, 2006

posted by Devils Slide at 8:50 AM on December 15, 2006

The number of records I love that he either produced or at the very least facilitated the production of is staggering. Not just in R&B and rock, but also jazz and blues. Hell, Atlantic even released my favorite Willie Nelson album. Of Ertegun, Wexler, and Dowd - Atlantic's "big three" - only Wexler remains.

posted by joseph_elmhurst at 9:03 AM on December 15, 2006

And in the end...well, I don't rightly know what to make of Ahmet Ertegun. He obviously loved good music and brought many a musical legend to light. That the industry is poorer with his passing can't be denied, he was one of the last remaining figures of musical genius left to counter the MBA's and accountants.

My problem with him, stems from the fact that he was one of the chief figures, if not architects, of a feudal-like business model used to fleece artists (usually black) and fans, at every turn. So for every Ray Charles how many hit making Ruth Brown's were there destitute and begging for money being reminded by him that, in fact, she owed him "unrecouped advance royalties". A practice that still exists.

posted by Skygazer at 9:17 AM on December 15, 2006

posted by keswick at 9:35 AM on December 15, 2006

posted by trip and a half at 9:48 AM on December 15, 2006


Wow, I didn't know he was a Johnnie.
posted by joedan at 12:53 PM on December 15, 2006


A truly great man who loved music more than he loved the business.

Very sad, indeed.
posted by gcbv at 1:18 PM on December 15, 2006

posted by ob at 3:16 PM on December 15, 2006

Sad news. What stories this guy must have had.
posted by bardic at 3:19 PM on December 15, 2006


posted by mykescipark at 6:51 PM on December 15, 2006

In 1947, Ahmet Ertegun, the 24-year-old son of a distinguished Turkish diplomat, borrowed $10,000 from his dentist and, with his older brother Nesuhi and another friend, formed Atlantic Records. Over the next 50 years, Ertegun would discover, sign, popularize, and/or produce Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones, Otis Redding—who called him "Omelette"—Bette Midler, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Booker T. and the MGs, Sam and Dave, Cream, the Bee Gees, Led Zeppelin, the Coasters, John Coltrane, Charlie Mingus, Roberta Flack, the Spinners, the Allman Brothers, Genesis, Foreigner, Pete Townshend, Stevie Nicks, Buffalo Springfield, the Blues Brothers, Tori Amos, and Phil Collins, among others.

Ahmet Ertegun said:I used to drink a bottle of vodka a day, every day, for about 40 years.

yikes. What a liver.

He and his wife, Mica, were serious party animals. What a life. I agree with your thoughts Skygazer. Honoré de Balzac said, Behind every great fortune there is a crime.
posted by nickyskye at 9:11 PM on December 15, 2006

posted by spitbull at 7:28 AM on December 16, 2006

Well, bless him for bringing us some great Aretha, that early nutty Bette Midler, etc.. But I didn't know he was one of the Berry Gordy-type exploiters of artists.

Ah nuts, he still helped bring us Aretha. Plus he had one of the most interesting name on some of my early records.
posted by NorthernLite at 4:44 PM on December 16, 2006

Another excellent obit. here.
Deeply saddened by his death but what a life!
posted by Dr.Pill at 9:22 AM on December 18, 2006

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