Ahmet Ertegun, the chairman of Atlantic Records, died this past weekend at 83 after being in a coma since October 27 when he fell backstage during a Rolling Stones concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City. Hanging out with musicians as always, he probably wouldn’t have wanted it any other way – except maybe at a Ruth Brown (who died on October 29) concert.
Together with the late great Tom Dowd and the still-with-us Jerry Wexler, this trio – a Muslim, a Jew and a Christian – thought outside of the box and worked together with some of the greatest African-American Blues, R’n’B and Jazz talent to help elevate their music to a deserved and exhaulted status. They also curated some of the great English rock bands of the 60’s, including Led Zeppelin and Cream.
After seeing “The Language of Music“, the great documentary about Tom Dowd at Sundance in 2003 (just after TD passed away), I noted how humble, genuine and passionate Ahmet was about music. I watched it again a year ago and pledged that the next time I was in New York, I would meet him and tell him that. Several times I was in New York and every time I failed to take the initiative. Now, it is too late and that makes me sad. A lesson, to always follow your plans and ideas, because someday it may no longer be the possibility it once was.
In the spirit of following all possiblities and passions, like Ahmet did,