Jerry Moss, the record executive who co-founded A&M Records with Herb Alpert, has died. Billboard reports that Moss died earlier today while at home with his family in Bel Air, California. No cause of death has been reported. Moss was 88.
Jerry Moss grew up in New York, and he started working as a record promoter at Coed Records after studying English at Brooklyn College and serving in the Army. After moving to Los Angeles, Moss met Herb Alpert, the trumpeter and bandleader. In 1962, Alpert and Moss co-founded Carnival Records, an independent label that was run out of Alpert’s garage. When they learned that another company was already called Carnival, Alpert and Moss changed the name of their label to A&M, after their initials.
A&M Records initially had its greatest success by selling Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’ easy-listening records, but it branched out into rock in the late ’60s. In 1976, A&M released Peter Frampton’s massively successful double live album Frampton Comes Alive! Later on, the label also signed the Police, Janet Jackson, and Sheryl Crow.
In 1987, Alpert and Moss sold A&M to Polygram for $500 million. They stayed with the label for another six years, and then they sued Polygram and won a $200 million payment. In 2006, both Alpert and Moss were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as non-performers. Moss and his first wife also started a horse racing business, and their horse Giacomo, named after Sting’s son, won the Kentucky Derby in 2005.