Archive for Ray Charles

The remarkable legacy of Jerry Wexler, dead at 91

Posted in Music Business, Pop culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2008 by Chris

Jerry Wexler, legendary head of Atlantic Records (with partner Ahmet Ertegun) from 1953 to 1975, has died at age 91 but he leaves behind a nearly unmatched legacy of R&B, pop, and rock music. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognized his achievements when they inducted him in 1987 as one of the first non-performers.

Just to kick this tribute off — he’s also the guy who coined the term “Rhythm and Blues” when, as a staff writer for Billboard magazine, he wanted to replace “Race Music” as the header on the black music charts. His early collaborations with Ray Charles, Joe Turner, and The Coasters (among others) built a new foundation for American music. All of this music collaboration in the 50s and early 60s may have been a warm-up, however, for perhaps his greatest contribution to the music world — luring an un-empowered Aretha Franklin away from Columbia and introducing America to the “Queen of Soul” with “Respect” and a string of powerhouse hits from 1967 on.

Aretha and Jerry collaborate during an early recording session

Aretha and Jerry collaborate during an early recording session

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“C” is for Country

Posted in A to Z with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2008 by Chris

So why would I invoke the “C” word ā€” Country ā€” in a blog that celebrates pop music?

Well, as a singer / songwriter, I actually have a stronger allegiance to the craft of songwriting than to any particular genre. And even though there are styles that never get my full attention, I always keep a pre-set on the car radio reserved for the local country station. Continue reading