Co-Founder of A&M Records Dies

Jerry Moss was the M in A&M
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2023 5:09 PM CDT
Co-Founder of A&M Records Dies
Jerry Moss, right, and Herb Alpert, co-founders of A&M Records, appear during their induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in New York on March 13, 2006.   (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen, File)

Jerry Moss, a music industry giant who co-founded A&M Records with Herb Alpert and rose from a Los Angeles garage to the heights of success with hits by Alpert, the Police, the Carpenters, and hundreds of other performers, has died at age 88. Moss, inducted with Alpert into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, died Wednesday at his home in Bel Air, California, according to a statement released by his family. "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." Moss' survivors include his second wife, Tina Morse, and three children.

For more than 25 years, Alpert and Moss presided over one of the industry's most successful independent labels, releasing such blockbuster albums as Albert's Whipped Cream & Other Delights, Carole King's Tapestry, and Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive! They were home to the Carpenters and Cat Stevens, Janet Jackson and Soundgarden, Joe Cocker and Suzanne Vega, the Go-Gos and Sheryl Crow. Among the label's singles: Alpert's "A Taste of Honey," the Captain and Tennille's "Love Will Keep Us Together," Frampton's "Show Me the Way," and "Every Breath You Take," by the Police.

"Every once in a while a record would come through us and Herbie would look at me and say, 'What did we do to deserve this, that this amazing thing is going to come out on our label?'" Moss said in 2007. Born in New York City and an English major at Brooklyn College, Moss had wanted to work in show business since waiting tables in his 20s and noticing that the entertainment industry patrons seemed to be having so much fun, the AP reports. After a six-month Army stint, he found work as a promoter for Coed Records and eventually moved to Los Angeles, where he met and befriended Alpert, a trumpeter, songwriter, and entrepreneur.

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With an investment of $100 each, they formed Carnival Records and had a local hit with "Tell It to the Birds," an Alpert ballad released under the name of his son, Dore Alpert. After learning that another company was called Carnival, Alpert and Moss used the initials of their last names and renamed their business A&M, working out of an office in Alpert's garage. For several years they specialized in "easy listening" acts such as Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Brazilian artist Sergio Mendes, and the folk-rock trio the Sandpipers. After attending the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, rock's first major festival, Moss began adding rock performers, including Cocker, Procol Harum, and Free. (More obituary stories.)

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