R.I.P. Jerry Wexler


Respect! Jerry Wexler with the Queen of Soul.

The revered producer and Atlantic Records co-pilot - a music-biz legend who coined the term "rhythm and blues," then worked with some of the genre's greatest artists on some of their greatest recordings (and also worked with more than a few rock-and-rollers of note) - has gone to the great recording studio in the sky.

He died this morning at the age of 91.

The best way to remember Wexler? Listen to the music.

RollingStone.com published a playlist of Twenty Essential Jerry Wexler Productions, as chosen by Wexler himself. According to Rolling Stone, Wexler "burned a CD for friends of the songs he was the most proud of from his half-century career in music."

Here are those songs.

Note that some of the links lead to live versions instead of the studio recordings.

Note, too, that I couldn't find the Champion Jack Dupree and James Booker tunes on YouTube. Amazing/ridiculous that they're not out there - and yet you can find, like, 5,383 shaky camera-phone videos of Radiohead at All Points West.

1. Professor Longhair -- "Tipitina" (1953)

2. Ray Charles -- "I Got a Woman" (1954)

3. Big Joe Turner -- "Shake, Rattle and Roll" (1954)

4. LaVern Baker -- "Tweedlee Dee" (1954)

5. Champion Jack Dupree -- "Junker's Blues" (1958)

6. The Drifters -- "There Goes My Baby" (1959)

7. Ray Charles -- "What I'd Say" (1959)

8. Solomon Burke -- "If You Need Me" (1963)

9. Booker T. & the MG's -- "Green Onions" (1962)

10. Wilson Pickett -- "In the Midnight Hour" (1965)

11. Aretha Franklin -- "Respect" (1967)

12. Dusty Springfield -- "Son of a Preacher Man" (1969)

13. Dr. John -- "Iko Iko" (1972)

14. Doug Sahm -- "(Is Anybody Going to) San Antone" (1973)

15. Willie Nelson -- "Bloody Mary Morning" (1974)

16. The Sanford/Townsend Band -- "Smoke From a Distant Fire" (1977)

17. James Booker -- "Winin' Boy Blues" (1978)

18. Etta James -- "Take It to the Limit" (1978)

19. Dire Straits -- "Lady Writer" (1979)

20. Bob Dylan -- "Gotta Serve Somebody" (1979)

By J. Freedom du Lac |  August 15, 2008; 12:35 PM ET Appreciations
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Jerry Wexler could have chosen dozens of other productions he had a hand in, but this list covers so many bases that I am awestruck by the greatest set of ears one could have.

RIP Jerry. You played a big role in the soundtrack of my life.

Posted by: Bill Osment | August 15, 2008 2:23 PM

Smoke from a distant fire seems glaringly out of place with these classics.

Posted by: 20782 | August 15, 2008 2:26 PM

I loved "Green Onions."

Posted by: johng | August 15, 2008 5:07 PM

Wexler doesn't deserve to put Green Onions on that list. Atlantic totally screwed the Stax guys.

Posted by: Ronnie | August 16, 2008 10:54 AM

The business ethics of Atlantic did not mirror the music,and Jerry had nothing to do with "Green Onions" other then to distribute the certain Stax songs of there choosing.

Posted by: zog | August 17, 2008 6:03 PM

Posted by: Brian | August 18, 2008 3:23 PM

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