September 26, 2023

Jerry Moss, the longtime record executive who co-founded A&M Records with Herb Alpert, died Wednesday at his home in Bel Air, California, the Associated Press reports. He was 88. 

Under Moss and Alpert, A&M put out records by Carole King, the Carpenters, the Police, Cat Stevens, Janet Jackson, Soundgarden, Alpert himself, and many, many more. Moss and Alpert were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Born in New York City in 1935, Moss majored in English at Brooklyn College. He served a six-month stint in the Army and worked as a promoter before moving to Los Angeles in 1960, where he met Alpert, a trumpeter and songwriter. By 1962, they had each invested $100 in a record label called Carnival; they quickly renamed the business A&M—after their respective initials—and began working out of a makeshift office in Alpert’s garage. 

Early acts on the label included Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Burt Bacharach, Sergio Mendes, the Carpenters and the Sandpipers. After the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 they began to sign rock acts such as Joe Cocker, Procol Harum and the Flying Burrito Brothers. One of their most successful records was the double live album Frampton Comes Alive!, which sold more than six million copies. Early hits would fund a move from Alpert’s garage to the Charlie Chaplin Studios at 1416 North La Brea Avenue in Hollywood, where the label was headquartered from 1966 to 1999.

Before selling the label to Polygram for $500 million in 1989, they had added country, R&B, and British New Wave artists. Moss and Alpert stayed at the label until 1993, but not before signing Sheryl Crow. The pair would later sue Polygram for violating their contract’s integrity clause; the case was settled out of court for $200 million.

From 1994-2000, Moss and Alpert ran Almo Sounds, imagined as a boutique version of A&M; they signed acts such as Garbage, Gillian Welch, and Ozomatli before selling the label to Universal Music Group.

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