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News » Legendary producer Wexler is dead

Legendary producer Wexler is dead

17 August 2008
US record producer Jerry Wexler, who influenced the careers of singers including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, has died aged 91.

David Ritz, co-author of Mr Wexler's memoirs, said the producer passed away at his home in Sarasota, Florida.

Mr Wexler rose to fame as a partner in the influential Atlantic Records label with the late Ahmet Ertegun.

He also coined the term "rhythm and blues" while writing for Billboard magazine in the late 1940s.

Mr Wexler produced the hugely popular Aretha Franklin hit Respect, itself a re-working of an Otis Redding song.

He also produced the Wilson Pickett song, In the Midnight Hour and helped Bob Dylan win his first Grammy award by producing the 1979 album, Slow Train Coming.

Jazz passion

Atlantic Records became an outlet for groundbreaking African-American talent but later signed rock acts such as Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.

In the 1980s, Mr Wexler worked with acts such as Dire Straits and artists including Carlos Santana and George Michael.

The son of Polish immigrants, Mr Wexler was born in Manhattan, New York, in 1917. He developed a passion for jazz and blues in his teens, frequenting clubs in the Harlem district of the city.

He was drafted into the US Army after the attack on Pearl Harbour.
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