Jerry Moss, 88, was a music business magnate who co-founded A&M Records with Herb Alpert and rose from a Los Angeles garage to the pinnacle of success with singles by Alpert, the Police, the Carpenters, and hundreds of other musicians.
Moss, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Alpert in 2006, died on Wednesday at his home in Bel Air, California, according to a statement from his family. Tina, his widow, informed the Associated Press that he of natural causes.
“They truly don’t make them like him any more, and we will miss our conversations with him about everything under the sun,” the statement stated. “The twinkle in his eyes as he approached every moment, ready for the next adventure.”
Jerry Moss death
After dating Tina (Morse) Moss since 2016, Jerry Moss married her in 2019. They lived in California’s Bel Air and Hawaii’s Maui.
Jerry Moss died on August 16, 2023, at the age of 88, in his Bel-Air, California residence.
Moss and his wife Tina will contribute $25,000,000 to The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles in 2020. This was the single largest donation ever made to The Music Center.
Moss was named to the California Horse Racing Board in 2004, succeeding long-time television producer Alan Landsburg. Moss was a long-time horse breeder and owner who won the Kentucky Derby’s largest-ever first-place payout in 2005 with Giacomo, the first horse he had ever entered in that race. He was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2011.
Jerry Moss Biography
For more than 25 years, Alpert and Moss ran one of the music industry’s most successful independent companies, releasing chart-topping albums like Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights, Carole King’s Tapestry, and Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive! The Carpenters and Cat Stevens were signed to their label, as were Janet Jackson and Sound garden, Joe Cocker and Suzanne Vega, and the Go-Go’s and Sheryl Crow.
Moss made one of his final public appearances in January, when he was honored at the Mark Taper Forum in downtown Los Angeles with a tribute concert. Among the performances were Frampton, Amy Grant, and Dionne Warwick, who was not an A&M artist but had known Moss since the early 1960s when he helped promote her songs. While Moss did not speak during the event, many others did.
“Herb was the painter, and Jerry was the visionary.” On the red carpet, singer Rita Coolidge observed, “It just changed the face of the record industry.” “A&M made such a difference, and it was where everyone wanted to be.”
Moss is survived by his second wife, Tina Morse, and three children.
Moss, a New York City native and English major at Brooklyn College, had wanted to work in show business since he was in his twenties and seen how much fun the entertainment industry clients seemed to be having. He got work as a promoter for Coed Records after a six-month army stint and eventually relocated to Los Angeles, where he met and befriended Alpert, a trumpeter, songwriter, and entrepreneur.
They founded Carnival Records with a $100 investment each and had a local hit with Tell It to the Birds, an Alpert song issued under the name of his son, Dore Alpert. After discovering that another company called Carnival existed, Alpert and Moss renamed their company A&M, working from Alpert’s garage and created the iconic logo with the trumpet across the bottom.
For many years, they focused on “easy listening” bands like Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Brazilian musician Sérgio Mendes, and folk-rock duo the Sandpipers. Moss began adding rock performers, including Cocker, Procol Harum, and Free, after attending the Monterey Pop festival in 1967, rock’s first major event.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, A&M expanded their library by signing the Police, Squeeze, Joe Jackson, and other British new wave performers, R&B musicians Janet Jackson and Barry White, and country rockers 38 Special and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.
Alpert and Moss were operating from a Hollywood lot where Charlie Chaplin previously produced movies by the late 1980s, but they failed to keep up with ever-increasing recording contracts and sold A&M to Polygram for an estimated $500 million. They stayed with the label until 1993, when they parted ways with Polygram’s management.
Alpert and Moss owned Almo Records for a few years, releasing music by Garbage, Imogen Heap, and Gillian Welch.
“We wanted people to be happy,” Moss said in 2010 to the New York Times. “You can’t make people do a certain type of music. They generate their best music when they are free to do what they want, not what we want.”
Moss began his music career by promoting “16 Candles,” a 1958 hit for the Crests on Coed Records, after graduating from Brooklyn College with a degree in English and serving in the United States Army. In 1960, he relocated to California, where he joined up with Alpert to start Carnival Records, which he ran from an office in Alpert’s garage. When they discovered that the name was already in use, they renamed their newly formed firm A&M Records.
Moss and Alpert decided to sell A&M to PolyGram Records for $500 million in 1989. Both remained to operate the label until 1993, when they resigned due to dissatisfaction with PolyGram’s continual effort to force the label to conform to its corporate ethos.
Alpert and Moss sued PolyGram for breach of the integrity clause in 1998, and eventually settled for an extra $200 million settlement. Alpert and Moss then expanded their Almo Sounds music publishing company to include record production, utilizing Alpert’s music as a vehicle. Almo Sounds emulates the prior organizational culture that Alpert and Moss established when they founded A&M.
Moss and Alpert were elected into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as non-performers in 2006.