Jerry Moss, who co-founded A&M Records with Herb Alpert, died at his home in Bel Air, California, according to a statement from his family via Associated Press. He was 88. No cause of death was given.
“They truly don’t make them like him anymore and we will miss conversations with him about everything under the sun,” the statement reads in part, “the twinkle in his eyes as he approached every moment ready for the next adventure.”
Formed in 1962, the indie label’s quarter century run included some major albums, including Carole King’s Tapestry, Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive!, and Albert’s own Whipped Cream & Other Delights. Their artists spanned genres, from the Carpenters to Janet Jackson, and Soundgarden to the Go-Gos and the Police.
Moss was born in New York City and was an English major at Brooklyn College. He had a desire to work in the entertainment business early on and after a stint in the army, he worked as a promoter for Coed Records. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he became friends with Alpert.
During the 50th anniversary of A&M Records in 2012, Alpert and Moss spoke with Rolling Stone about their legacy. They launched the label in Alpert’s garage. Their original plan was to release Alpert’s “Tell it to the Birds” along with Charlie Robinson’s “Love Is Back in Style” featuring a trumpet solo by Alpert. They cobbled together $2000 to produce and manufacture the two tracks. “Herb’s record was a hit,” Moss recalled to Rolling Stone. “It sold several thousand copies, which was enough to get us going.”
Moss and Alpert’s modest beginnings turned into $500 million when the company was sold to Polygram in 1989. The pair remained at the imprint until 1993. The last artist they signed was Sheryl Crow.
Moss and Alpert were inducted by Sting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. “Elegant, urbane, sophisticated, intelligent, and most of all, sensitive to the needs of fellow artists to such an extent that they became celebrated — not just for their success, but for the nurturing and encouragement of new talent with the patience and care that was unusual then, and even rarer now,” Sting said during his induction speech for Moss and Alpert.
“The whole idea was to make great records,” Moss said. “We pursued whatever it took to make our releases the most incredible.”