Jerry Moss, the “M” in A&M Records, dead at 88

Jerry Moss, the music industry vet who co-founded A&M Records, died Wednesday (8/16) at his Bel Air home in California. He was 88. No cause of death has been given, but the family released a statement to the Associated Press that reads in part, “They truly don’t make them like him anymore and we will miss conversations with him about everything under the sun, the twinkle in his eyes as he approached every moment ready for the next adventure.”

Born in New York City in 1935, Moss got his start in the music business after graduating from Brooklyn College. His first job was promoting The Crests’ 1958 hit single “16 Candles.” Two year later Moss moved to California and partnered with trumpet player and bandleader Herb Alpert on a new label, Carnival Records, which launched in 1962 and they ran out of Alpert’s garage. When they discovered there was already a label called Carnival, they changed the name of their company to A&M based on their last names.

In the early years, A&M released easy listening / tropicalia records by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, Baja Marimba Band, Burt Bacharach, and Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66, but expanded in the ’70s, and their roster would include The Police / Sting, Joe Cocker, Cat Stevens, Carole King, Peter Frampton, Janet Jackson, Suzanne Vega, Soundgarden, Sheryl Crow, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Carpenters, Styx, Supertramp, Oingo Boingo, Squeeze, OMD, Joe Jackson, The Go-Gos, The Human League, and more.

Moss, along with Alpert, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. Moss also ran a racing horse breeder and one of his horses, Giacomo (named for Sting’s son), won the Kentucky Derby in 2005.

Rest easy, Jerry.

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