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Originator of R&B dies

Patricia Sullivan

Jerry Wexler, the producer and partner at Atlantic Records who coined the term "rhythm and blues," has died. He worked with all the greats: Aretha, Ray, Wilson, as well as some of the greats of rock and roll.

Rolling Stone put up a great playlist of the tunes of which he was most proud.

Videophiles, here he is, talking about his work with Dylan.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  August 15, 2008; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan  
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I wish to point out a number of errors in the obituary for record producer Jerry Wexler, written by Patricia Sullivan and published in

1. In discussing the recording of Aretha Franklin, the article misspells the name of producer Rick Hall of Muscle Shoals, AL as Rick HILL.

2. "Mr. Wexler spun off several smaller labels within Atlantic."

After the sale of Atlantic in 1967, Jerry Wexler never founded or owned another record label, although he held stock in Warner Communications. He had no ownership or executive role in such Atlantic-distributed labels of the Seventies as TK, W.M.O.T., and Cotillion.

3. "While still attached to Atlantic, he signed Dire Straits, the B-52's and Gang of Four to the [Atlantic] label."

None of these artists were signed to Atlantic Records; all were signed to Warner Bros. Records after Jerry Wexler joined that company in 1975.

Therefore, it's not true that "by the mid-1970s" he "[retreated] to his Miami studio," particularly since Wexler did not found or own Criteria Recording, the Miami studio in question.

4. "From there, he produced the first Grammy-winning albums for Bob Dylan ('Slow Train Coming') and Dusty Springfield ('Dusty in Memphis'). He subsequently signed Led Zeppelin, Santana, Gregg Allman, Dire Straits, Willie Nelson and George Michael."

'Slow Train Coming' was released in 1979; Jerry Wexler signed Led Zeppelin to Atlantic not "subsequently" but a decade earlier, in 1968.

Wexler did not sign George Michael but only produced one song by the artist -- a version of "Careless Whisper" that was recorded in Muscle Shoals in 1983 but not issued at the time. Similarly, Wexler did not sign Santana but co-produced (with Barry Beckett) Santana's 1983 album 'Havana Moon.'

Jerry Wexler did not sign Gregg Allman as a solo artist. In 1968, Gregg's older bother, guitarist Duane Allman, was under contract to producer Rick Hall. After Wexler heard Duane's guitar work on Wilson Pickett's recording of "Hey Jude," he made a successful bid to buy out Duane's contract. When Duane Allman formed the Allman Brothers Band in March 1969, he recalled Gregg from Los Angeles to become the new band's singer and keyboard player.

Gregg Allman released his first solo album in 1973 on Capricorn Records. He was not signed to the label by Jerry Wexler, nor did Wexler produce any part of this recording or of any subsequent Gregg Allman releases.

Posted by: | August 21, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

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