It has now been five years since the music world lost one of the most influential producers of all time, as well as one of the major players of the record industry.
On August 15, 2008, Jerry Wexler, the man who discovered or rediscovered countless artists, and help put Atlantic Records on the map, passed away at the age of 91. As a writer and reporter for Billboard magazine, Wexler would be the one to coin the term “rhythm and blues”. And with that, it would be followed with classic recordings from artists including Ruth Brown, Ray Charles, and the Drifters.
By the 1960s, and alongside Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün, would make Atlantic Rocords a major force in the record industry, spawning numerous major acts including Wilson Pickett, Led Zeppelin, Cream, and most notably Aretha Franklin. Among the classic recordings that Wexler would be at the helm would include Franklin’s Lady Soul, Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis, and Ray Charles’ The Genius of Ray Charles.
Wexler left Atlantic Records in 1975, and would continue to produce for other artists such as Bob Dylan (including the 1979 album Slow Train Coming and the compilation the Essential Bob Dylan), and George Michael (including an early version of the hit “Careless Whisper”). Wexler was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1987, and to this day continues to be recognized for his contributions to the record industry, helping to make it what it is today.