Ahmet Ertegun vs. Clive Davis FITE!

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Who is the coolest major label record exec ever? I want to see posts for/against the virtues/sins of David Geffen, Tommy Mottola, Richard Branson....

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 8 July 2003 20:30 (seventeen years ago) link

Ray Charles vs. Barry Manilow

amateurist (amateurist), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 20:36 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm kinda surprised no one has an opinion about the "colorful" moguls that used to dominate the recording industry...

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:08 (seventeen years ago) link

what was that big industry book...crap...I've forgotten the name. anyway, davis came off not as a genius but as a boor who basically wheezled his way to the top.

amateurist (amateurist), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:29 (seventeen years ago) link

The Chess Brothers: mad props for taste, bad marks for ripping off the talent.

JesseFox (JesseFox), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 21:39 (seventeen years ago) link

Sam Phillips? Tony Wilson? Larry Sherman?

Mike Taylor (mjt), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:12 (seventeen years ago) link

Tony Wilson def. and Joe Fost..errrr i mean Alan McGee

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:31 (seventeen years ago) link

Seymour Stein

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:32 (seventeen years ago) link

Wilson and McGee are both disqualified - I don't think you can call Factory or Creation "major labels" (certainly not on a par with Ertegun's Atlantic or Virgin). Ditto Sam and Sun Records. Chess was pretty big but seems kinda dodgy as well... I'm talking rich-as-pigs industry figures here (of which there have always been only a few). Stein's a good one - plus he has a bitchy song written about him, which is definitely points.

Clive I can't stand - the guy oozes snake-oil salesman and his taste is for shit. Ertegun, however, seems like a very hep cat, I'd say from what I know of each of these figures, he comes out smelling the cleanest.

Shakey Mo Collier, Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:38 (seventeen years ago) link

Mo Ostin

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Tuesday, 8 July 2003 22:43 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah, Seymour Stein. 100% Good call.

Orbit (Orbit), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 01:29 (seventeen years ago) link

what was that big industry book...crap...I've forgotten the name. anyway, davis came off not as a genius but as a boor who basically wheezled his way to the top.

Hit Men is what I think you're talking about. There's also the modestly-titled Clive, which I have not had the pleasure of reading.

As for the coolest exec, I go w/ the WB crowd: Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker, etc. Don't tell that to Prince, though...

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 04:02 (seventeen years ago) link

what about jimmy iovine? the interscope dude and his stable of controversial hip hop acts?

amateurist (amateurist), Wednesday, 9 July 2003 04:51 (seventeen years ago) link

Clive Davis couldn't wash the shoes of Ertegun. Clive Davis is the most overrated exec ever.

Another great industry book is Mansion on the Hill.

don weiner, Wednesday, 9 July 2003 11:34 (seventeen years ago) link

nine years pass...

what the

Welcome to my world of proses (Shakey Mo Collier), Tuesday, 19 February 2013 18:22 (eight years ago) link

no way

set the controls for the heart of the sun (VegemiteGrrl), Tuesday, 19 February 2013 18:41 (eight years ago) link

four years pass...

Who is the coolest major label record exec ever?

The combo of Ostin/Waronker, surely.

more Allegro-like (Turrican), Wednesday, 18 October 2017 15:57 (three years ago) link

x-post-- that's terrible.

curmudgeon, Thursday, 19 October 2017 19:14 (three years ago) link


Ned Raggett, Thursday, 19 October 2017 20:23 (three years ago) link

yeah i’m still taking this in

it’s one thing to know that it happens, it’s quite another to hear the firsthand story

Squeaky Fromage (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 19 October 2017 20:25 (three years ago) link

nine months pass...

Definitely gonna read that one. (I never met Ertegun, but I visited his old office, which was maintained as a shrine of sorts at 1290 Avenue of the Americas, when I worked for Atlantic. Now that all of Warner Music is in a different building a few blocks over, I guess they just boxed up all the photos of him with everybody you've ever heard of in your life, etc.)

grawlix (unperson), Friday, 10 August 2018 23:41 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

Before Ertegun lived in NYC, he was a teen living in segregated Washington DC but at the Turkish embassy where his father was the Turkish ambassador to the US. A movie doc about this 1935 to 1944 era called "Leave the Door Open" is now out.

"Leave the Door Open" is showing live at 4 pm today Sunday at the Arlington, VA Cinema and Drafthouse (with a panel discussion) and will be shown online as part of the DC Independent film festival for a charge (you have to pay around $22 for the whole festival). It is a movie doc about when the teenaged Ertegun sons who had been sneaking out to the Howard Theatre & Waxie Maxies at 7th & T, began setting up integrated jazz jam sessions at their home embassy residence as their father was the ambassador from Turkey; and a concert at the DC JCC, despite DC being segregated, and some white folks opposing their efforts. They lived in DC from around 1935 to 1944. The movie doc is focused only on their time in DC and uses older interviews with both brothers who passed away years back.


curmudgeon, Sunday, 4 April 2021 19:49 (two months ago) link


[i[As teenagers, Ahmet and Nesuhi were smitten by jazz when they heard Duke Ellington play in London and were excited about moving to his hometown. But when they arrived, they were disappointed to find how racially segregated the city was. “When I first came to Washington, the stores downtown didn’t carry any jazz records or blues records,” Ahmet said in a 2002 interview. “I had to go to the Black section of Washington for the shops that sold records of the music we wanted to buy.”

He visited jazz clubs on U Street and record shops on Seventh Street, and became a regular at Waxie Maxie, the music shop owned by Max Silverman, who built the store into a leading music retail chain. There, Ertegun found other jazz fans, such as Washington Post photographer and reporter Bill Gottlieb, later a writer for the influential Down Beat music magazine, and Billy Taylor, who would go on to become a bandleader and for decades directed jazz at the Kennedy Center....Historian Maurice Jackson described to Safter an Ertegun-organized concert at the Jewish community center: “Two Muslim brothers bringing Black music to the center belonging to our Jewish brothers and sisters. This is historic.”[/i]

curmudgeon, Sunday, 4 April 2021 19:53 (two months ago) link

W/R/T the original question, Ertegun for sure, but Clive Davis gets a ton of credit for shoveling money at Miles Davis while he was still at Columbia, and for signing (or approving the signing of) Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake and Muhal Richard Abrams when Arista had a jazz division in the 1970s.

but also fuck you (unperson), Wednesday, 7 April 2021 12:28 (two months ago) link

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