Jerry Moss obituary


When a 50-1 outsider named Giacomo received the 2005 Kentucky Derby, it was not the primary time that the horse’s proprietor, the American file firm government Jerry Moss, had defied the chances.

Moss, who has died aged 88, started his working life as a youngster paid $75 per week for getting doo-wop information performed on New York radio stations. Three a long time later he and his enterprise accomplice, the trumpeter Herb Alpert, would promote the file label and publishing firm they’d based for a reported $900m.

The Kentucky Derby winner was named after the youngest son of Sting, the singer with the Police. That group’s hits, and Sting’s solo work, have been launched on A&M, the label Alpert and Moss had began in 1961, at first based mostly within the trumpeter’s storage, which contained a desk, a phone and a two-track tape recorder. Their roster of hit-making artists would finally embrace Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, Sérgio Mendes, the Carpenters, Joan Armatrading, Peter Frampton, Squeeze, Quincy Jones and Janet Jackson.

Remarkably, they achieved their success with out attracting the accusations of sharp follow typically aimed toward file firm bosses of their period. Within the eyes of their artists and of the business, they have been an uncommon partnership: a superb cop and one other good cop.

Moss was born within the Bronx, New York, the son of Rose and Irving Moss, a division retailer salesman. After graduating from Brooklyn Faculty, he was ready on prospects at a resort membership when his character impressed Marvin Cane, a accomplice within the Coed label, who supplied him a job and have become his mentor. Over the subsequent 18 months Moss discovered the ins and outs of the music enterprise at floor stage, his weekly wage rising to $125 when a track known as 16 Candles by the Crests, a multiracial vocal quartet, rose to No 2 within the nationwide charts in 1959.

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Jerry Moss, left, with the singer and songwriter Al Inexperienced, in Los Angeles, 1989. {Photograph}: Lester Cohen/Getty Pictures

The next 12 months Moss moved to Los Angeles. Turning down the supply of $35 per week to work within the mailroom of the William Morris Company, a basic apprenticeship for aspiring show-business moguls, as an alternative he struck out on his personal as an impartial promotion man. Quickly a friendship with Alpert led to conversations about going into enterprise collectively.

After early struggles, the breakthrough got here in 1962 with Alpert’s Tijuana Brass, an instrumental group that includes mariachi-style trumpets backed by prime Hollywood session musicians.

Their first hit was The Lonely Bull, a Mexican-styled tune delivered over the excited noise of a crowd at a corrida, reflecting the passion of A&M’s founders for visiting bullfights south of the border. As soon as the file confirmed indicators of economic promise, they borrowed the cash to press a number of thousand copies. After that it was merely a query of getting the nation’s file distributors to pay them promptly, an important side of their enterprise that grew to become Moss’s accountability.

Quickly they have been including employees and shifting to places of work on Sundown Boulevard. The Sandpipers’ Guantanamera, a Cuban track from the Nineteen Twenties, and The Extra I See You, by the Mexican-American singer Chris Montez, have been different early hit singles, whereas A&M’s credibility as an album label was established when, in 1966, the Tijuana Brass had 5 LPs within the US High 20 on the similar time. That 12 months in addition they signed the pianist Mendes and his group Brasil ’66, whose easily reupholstered model of bossa nova offered hit albums and singles, notably with Mas Que Nada and The Idiot on the Hill.

A go to to the Monterey pop competition in 1967 satisfied Moss of the necessity to transfer past the form of mushy rock and easy-listening music with which his label had turn out to be related. Quickly it was offering a house for the country-rock of the Flying Burrito Brothers and the dope-smoking comedians Cheech and Chong. From the UK, usually by way of offers with the producers Denny Cordell and Chris Blackwell, got here Joe Cocker, Procol Harum, Humble Pie and Cat Stevens.

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Janet Jackson and Jerry Moss in 1986. {Photograph}: Lester Cohen/Getty Pictures

By the point the Carpenters arrived in 1970, A&M had turn out to be the world’s largest impartial file firm, and to deal with their increasing operation, Alpert and Moss paid $1m for a property on North LaBrea Avenue which had been the house of Charlie Chaplin’s movie firm. The Carpenters’ string of worldwide hits started with Near You, We’ve Solely Simply Begun and Wet Days and Mondays, that includes the affecting contralto of Karen Carpenter, artfully organized by her brother Richard. Carole King’s Tapestry was additionally distributed within the US through A&M in 1971, happening to promote 30m copies.

In 1976 the British singer and guitarist Frampton, previously of Humble Pie, recorded an in-concert double album, Frampton Comes Alive, which went platinum eight instances over within the US. After plundering the UK new wave for Joe Jackson and Squeeze, A&M then noticed the Police turn out to be the world’s largest band with such hits as Roxanne and Each Breath You Take.

Sting’s solo profession would yield many extra hit albums and singles. Jones’s albums for the label included the platinum-selling Sounds … and Stuff Like That in 1978, whereas Janet Jackson’s 1986 album Management offered greater than 10m copies.

In 1989 Alpert and Moss offered their label to PolyGram, the Dutch-German conglomerate, for round $500m, remaining concerned for an extra 4 years. Later they acquired an extra $200m from PolyGram in settlement of a lingering dispute. Rondor Music, their track publishing arm, was offered for $400m.

After leaving A&M to its new house owners, they shaped a brand new label, Almo Sounds, on which between 1994 and 2000 they launched hits by Rubbish, the grunge quartet fronted by the Scottish singer Shirley Manson, and albums by the admired alt-country singer Gillian Welch. In 2006 Alpert and Moss have been collectively inducted into the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame.

Moss collected work, bred racehorses and pursued philanthropic tasks. In 2020 he and his spouse, Tina, donated $25m to the Los Angeles Music Centre.

His first two marriages, to Helen Rusetos and Ann Holbrook, led to divorce. He’s survived by Tina (nee Morse), whom he married in 2015, and by 4 kids, 5 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.


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