In early November, we reported that Atlantic Records co-founder and ardent jazz supporter Ahmet Ertegun was in stable condition despite plunging into a coma following a backstage fall. In one of those bizarre twists of fate, the mishap occurred before the Rolling Stones-whom Ertegun loved and eventually signed-began their set at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan on Oct. 29. Sadly, the legendary music magnate never regained consciousness and passed away on Dec. 14. He was 83.
Ertegun’s contributions to modern music cannot be praised enough, as he played a significant role in altering the course of blues, jazz, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll, helping to shape the careers of such innovators as John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. In an industry where being cutthroat and capitalistically driven is normal behavior-and he was a shrewd businessman when the situation arose-Ertegun’s genuine love, nurture and admiration for his artists was a breath of fresh air.