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Thursday, January 04, 2007

IN MEMORIAM: AHMET ERTEGUN 1923-2006

ertegun-ahmet
Ahmet Ertegun - Founder of Atlantic Records
Photo by Jim Cooper/AP


It was with great sadness that we learned of Ahmet Ertegun's passing last month (December 14). Ahmet was more than just a giant in the record business and had a long list of accomplishments, among which includes his instrumental role in forming Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

A reader of Thrasher's Wheat, Tony Gallucci of Burlington, VT brings us these thoughts on Ahmet's life in music.
People like lists. Letterman does lists. MTV, Rolling Stone, AFI and VH1 love their lists. Well, here is my favorite list. Ray Charles. Ruth Brown. Aretha Franklin. The Coasters. Otis Redding. Wilson Pickett. Buffalo Springfield. Crosby, Stills and Nash. Neil Young. Coltrane. Cream. Yes. Zeppelin. The Rascals. The Bee Gee’s. Bette Midler. Blind Faith.

What kind of eclectic list is this? It’s not a list of musicians, it is a list of greatness; a list of seeds which when planted would grow strong roots, bloom in rich blossoms and sow seed all over again. And it happens to be the partial list of who I would have missed had Ahmet Ertegun not borrowed $10,000 from his dentist and started Atlantic Records in 1947. His unparalleled vision, commitment to the artist and ability to see people as more than blacks or whites or paychecks, leave us as heirs to a musical legacy which cannot likely be equaled again. He’s the one who gave Stephen Stills a bag of cash when Stephen told him about a new project he wanted to record after the Springfield folded. He is the one who suggested CSN bring Neil into the band. He didn’t interfere when Yes wanted to put the 18 minute Close to the Edge on one side of an album.

He frequented dark nightspots and brought out sunshine. He was a Muslim who worked with Jews to bring Christians the Gospel soul music of the Blacks. Anyone know what the criteria is for a Nobel Peace Prize?

Mr. Ertegun, you have my gratitude, and I wish I could have once had the chance to tell you so.

Thanks Tony. Well said.
For more, see Atlantic Records - Remembering Ahmet Ertegun.


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2 Comments:

At 1/05/2007 10:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really liked the line: He was a Muslim who worked with Jews to bring Christians the Gospel soul music of the Blacks.
Nice.

 
At 1/05/2007 02:37:00 PM, Anonymous Fans from Ontario said...

Thanks for brough us Crosby Stills Nash & Young (the greatest group in American Rock Music History).

 

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