Jerry Moss: A trailblazing music mogul whose legacy shaped an era

Moss, who died at age 88, helped oversee one of the world's largest independent record labels as co-founder of A&M Records.
Posted at 7:46 PM, Aug 17, 2023

Legendary music mogul Jerry Moss, one of the co-founders of A&M Records and behind major bands like the Carpenters and the Police, has died at 88 years old.

Moss, who died at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday, helped oversee one of the world's largest independent record labels.

He co-founded A&M Records with musician Herb Alpert in 1962, both investing just $100 each.

Their label had humble beginnings, with Moss and Alpert telling Billboard they ran an office in Alpert's Los Angeles garage boasting a desk, piano, couch, coffee table and two phone lines.

A few years later, they won their first Grammy and signed their first rock stars, including Joe Cocker and the English rock band Free.

According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, A&M Records would go on to cultivate a legendary "artist-first" culture.

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Throughout the '70s and '80s, Moss and Alpert signed a host of music superstars like Soundgarden, Squeeze, Janet Jackson and the Police.

Throughout their 28-year run, the men also produced blockbuster albums like Carole King's "Tapestry" and Peter Frampton's "Frampton Comes Alive!" which sold 6 million copies in its first year.

Frampton tweeted on Wednesday that Moss was a "true gentleman" who created a label where "artists could find themselves."

In the late 1980s, Alpert and Moss eventually sold A&M Records to Polygram for an estimated $500 million and worked with the label until 1993.

Sheryl Crow was the last artist they ever signed.

Thirteen years later, Police frontman Sting inducted Moss and Alpert into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

"We made some beautiful music together; great days, great times," Moss said during his induction speech. "I can't thank them enough for believing in us."

In a statement to the Associated Press, Moss' wife said, "They truly don't make them like him anymore, and we will miss conversations with him about everything under the sun."