Jerry Moss, 88, was a music business magnate who co-founded A&M Records with Herb Alpert and catapulted the label from a Los Angeles garage to the peak of success with hits by Alpert, the Police, the Carpenters, and hundreds of other musicians.
Moss, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Alpert in 2006, died on Wednesday at his home in Bel Air, California, his family said. Tina, his wife, told the Associated Press that he died naturally.
“They truly don’t make them like him anymore, and we will miss our conversations with him about everything under the sun,” the statement said.
“The twinkle in his eyes as he approached every moment, ready for the next adventure.”
Jerry Moss death
Jerry Moss married Tina (Morse) Moss in 2019 after dating her since 2016. They lived in Bel Air, California, and Maui, Hawaii. Jerry Moss died on August 16, 2023, at the age of 88, in his home in Bel-Air, California.
In 2020, Moss and his wife Tina will donate $25,000,000 to The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles. This was the single largest donation to The Music Center ever made.
Moss was appointed to the California Horse Racing Board in 2004, taking over for 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 payment with Giacomo in 2005, his first horse in that race. In 2011, he was inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Jerry Moss Biography
Alpert and Moss led one of the music industry’s most successful independent labels for over 25 years, publishing chart-topping albums such as Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights, Carole King’s Tapestry, and Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive! They signed the Carpenters and Cat Stevens, as well as 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 performances in January, when he was honored with a tribute concert at the Mark Taper Forum in downtown Los Angeles. 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, were among the performers. Although Moss did not speak at the ceremony, many others did.
“Herb was the painter, and Jerry was a visionary.” Rita Coolidge, a singer, said on the red carpet, “It just changed the face of the record industry.” “A&M made such a difference, and it was the place where everyone wanted to be.”
Tina Morse, Moss’ second wife, and their three children survive him.
Moss, a native New Yorker and English major at Brooklyn College, had wanted to work in show business since he was in his twenties and saw how much fun the entertainment industry’s clients appeared to be having. After a six-month army stint, he acquired a job as a promoter for Coed Records and eventually moved to Los Angeles, where he met and befriended Alpert, a trumpeter, songwriter, and entrepreneur.
With a $100 investment apiece, they created Carnival Records and had a local hit with Tell It to the Birds, an Alpert song released under the name of his son, Dore Alpert. After realizing that another firm called Carnival already existed, Alpert and Moss renamed their company A&M and developed the distinctive logo with the trumpet across the bottom from Alpert’s garage.
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 signed the Police, Squeeze, Joe Jackson, and other British new wave singers, R&B musicians Janet Jackson and Barry White, and country rockers 38 Special and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils to its roster.
By the late 1980s, Alpert and Moss were operating from a Hollywood property where Charlie Chaplin had previously filmed films, but they were unable to keep up with ever-increasing recording contracts and sold A&M to Polygram for an estimated $500 million. They remained with Polygram until 1993, when they severed differences with the label’s management.
For a few years, Alpert and Jerry Moss ran Almo Records, releasing music by Garbage, Imogen Heap, and Gillian Welch.
“We wanted people to be happy,” Moss told the New York Times in 2010. “You can’t force them to listen to a certain sort of music. They make the best music when they are free to do what they want rather than what we want.”
Jerry Moss began his music career after graduating from Brooklyn College with a degree in English and serving in the United States Army by marketing “16 Candles,” a 1958 success for the Crests on Coed Records. In 1960, he moved to California and co-founded Carnival Records with Alpert, which he administered from an office in Alpert’s garage. They renamed their newly created company A&M Records after discovering that the name was already in use.
In 1989, Jerry Moss and Alpert decided to sell A&M to PolyGram Records for $500 million. Both continued to run the label until 1993, when they resigned in protest of PolyGram’s ongoing efforts to force the label to conform to its corporate mentality.
In 1998, Alpert and Moss sued PolyGram for breach of the integrity clause, and finally paid for an additional $200 million. Alpert and Moss then expanded their music publishing company, Almo Sounds, to encompass record production, using Alpert’s compositions as a platform. Almo Sounds is modeled around the previous organizational culture established by Alpert and Moss when they launched A&M.
Jerry Moss and Alpert were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006 as non-performers.