Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jerry Wexler 1917-2008

Jerry Wexler, died yesterday at the age of 91. He was one of the most influential record producers of the past 50 years. He coined the term "rhythm and blues", and was integral in producing many of the most important names in R&B and soul music during it's defining years of the of the 50's and 60's, He
was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

For more than 30 years Wexler was a partner in Atlantic Records, where he worked with a legendary list of artists, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Big Joe Turner, Professor Longhair, Solomon Burke and Wilson Pickett.

His work with Stax Records in Memphis produced hits for Otis Redding, Sam and Dave and Eddie Floyd while his sessions in the Alabama town of Muscle Shoals produced the worldwide number one, "When A Man Loves A Woman" by Percy Sledge. Some of Wexler’s greatest recordings came in 1967 when he combined Aretha Franklin with the session musicians from Muscle Shoals on such hits as "Natural Woman", "Respect" and "I Never Loved a Man".

Later in his career, Wexler was instrumental in signing Led Zeppelin to Atlantic, produced albums for Bob Dylan and Carlos Santana and aided the career of the Allman Brothers.

A few years ago Jerry Wexler burned a CD containing 20 songs he was most proud to be associated with:

1. Professor Longhair, "Tipitina" (1953)

2. Ray Charles, "I Got a Woman" (1954)

3. Big Joe Turner, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" (1954)

4. LaVern Baker, "Tweedlee Dee" (1954)

5. Champion Jack Dupree, "Junker's Blues" (1958)

6. The Drifters, "There Goes My Baby" (1959)

7. Ray Charles, "What I'd Say" (1959)

8. Solomon Burke, "If You Need Me" (1963)

9. Booker T. & the MG's, "Green Onions" (1962)

10. Wilson Pickett, "In the Midnight Hour" (1965)

11. Aretha Franklin, "Respect" (1967)

12. Dusty Springfield, "Son of a Preacher Man" (1969)

13. Dr. John, "Iko Iko" (1972)

14. Doug Sahm, "(Is Anybody Going to) San Antone" (1973)

15. Willie Nelson, "Bloody Mary Morning" (1974)

16. The Sanford/Townsend Band, "Smoke From a Distant Fire" (1977)

17. James Booker, "Winin' Boy Blues" (1978)

18. Etta James, "Take It to the Limit" (1978)

19. Dire Straits, "Lady Writer" (1979)

20. Bob Dylan, "Gotta Serve Somebody" (1979)

Listen at Rolling Stone - Wex on Wax

Jerry Wexler Biography