In a week that has seen the death of a major record business exec, Clarence Avant, (see our recent post), another major behind the scenes player has died … JERRY MOSS, co-founder of A&M Records. Jerry (Jerome) Moss died on Wednesday 16th August. His widow Tina said that he had died at his home in Bel Air, California from natural causes. He was aged 88.
Born in New York, Moss was a graduate of Brooklyn College but after his stint in the US army, he went into record promotion, working with labels like Coed and Scepter. In 1962 he relocated to California where he became friends with trumpeter Herb Alpert with whom he set up Carnival Records – a name quickly changed to A&M (Alpert and Moss) after they learned there was another label with that name.
A&M became a major US label with acts like Peter Frampton, Carole King, the Carpenters, Sting and, of course, Alpert on their roster. From our perspective , A&M was home to Janet Jackson’s major successes.
Alpert and Moss sold their label to Polygram in 1989 for $500 million but eventually entered litigation with that label over questions of musical integrity.
Outside music, horse racing was Moss’s other great passion . He was a noted, successful race horse owner/breeder. He also supported countless charities – and recently Moss and his wife Tina donated $25,000,000 to The Music Centre in downtown Los Angeles.
In tribute to Jerry Moss, Quincy Jones posted: “Jerry Moss was the consummate music man, [whose] love of all genres of the art-form was unabashed. That was why when I decided to get off the soundstage and back into the recording studio in 1969, I knew there was only one record label for me to go to that would give me the creative freedom that I was seeking, and that record label was A&M with Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.”