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Ahmet Ertegün, 1940
Ahmet Ertegün, 1962
Ahmet Ertegün, May 14, 1988
Ahmet Ertegün, May 8, 2006

Record Label Executive

Atlantic founder Ahmet Ertegün was introduced to Jazz and R&B at a young age, and together with his brother Nesuhi, eventually amassed a collection of some 20,000 Jazz and Blues recordings. Ertegün formed a partnership with Herb Abramson of National Records and, with $10,000 borrowed from his dentist, launched Atlantic Records in 1947.

As Atlantic grew from literally a one-room operation into one of the most successful music companies in the world, the label released recordings that have had profound effects on the course of modern music.

Ahmet Ertegün, co-chair and co-CEO of the Atlantic Group, holds the distinction of being the longest-standing record label founder still at the helm of his company.

Atlantic released its first singles in 1948, and scored its first hit in 1949 with Stick McGhee's "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee." Then came artists like Professor Longhair, Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, and Ray Charles-and the label was a fully established success.

In 1955 Ahmet's brother Nesuhi joined Atlantic and made a series of records by the likes of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus.

By the mid-1950s, producer Jerry Wexler had joined Atlantic as Ertegün's partner, and with the help of The Coasters, LaVern Baker, and Clyde McPhatter And The Drifters, the predominantly R&B label helped usher in Rock 'n Roll.

The Coasters were one of the first Black vocal groups to cross over to the largely white Rock 'n Roll audiences, and in 1958, Bobby Darin's "Splish Splash" established Atlantic's place in the Pop market. In the 1960s, with the popularization of Black music, Atlantic went back to its roots with Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, and Aretha Franklin. But Atlantic didn't ignore the world of white Rock 'n Roll either, signing Cream; Led Zeppelin; Crosby, Stills and Nash; and The Rolling Stones.

Sold in 1967 to Warner Communications, Atlantic continued its concentration on Rock 'n Roll. Today, Atlantic is still helping us define and express ourselves with the music of artists such as Tori Amos, Collective Soul, Hootie And The Blowfish, Lil' Kim, and Jewel.

A long-standing member, Atlantic has positively influenced NARM since the early '60s. The Ertegün brothers, Ahmet and Nesuhi, were jointly recognized with the NARM Presidential Award in 1973.

"When I first started the label, I thought we'd make records for two or three years and that would be it," Ertegün said. "We never imagined we would be able to make a real living out of doing what we loved so much."

This is from an interview he did in Performance magazine.

"What were your impressions on signing Led Zeppelin to Atlantic Records?"

"We were very, very hot on the group from the beginning becaus we both knew the excellence of the playing of Both Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. We were very happily surprised with the other musicians because they were equally great. Robert Plant is certainly one of the outstanding singers in the history of rock 'n' roll. He's a scholar of rock 'n' roll and blues music. He probably knows it better than anyone I know - the whole library of rock and roll music."

"What do you remember about first seeing Zeppelin perform?"

"We had already signed them. They were the most dynamic band I had ever seen. They had a presence onstage like no other. They were very different from The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles or Cream - the big British groups that preceded them. They had a mystique, an aura all to themselves. They didn't do interviews. They didn't want any singles released from their albums. They weren't interested in television. Plus there were their antics on the road, some of which, but not all, were exaggerated. They look back at those days with sentimentality, nostalgia for a different time and period when crazy things were going on. The late 60s and 70s were very different times, the time of revolution, of revolutionary ideas. Young people revolted against traditional establishment values. They were in the forefront of that, always on the cutting edge.

The music they made had sorrow, pathos, happiness and a great deal of love."

"How would you characterise Jimmy Page and Robert Plant as people?"

"They are dissimilar - two totally different people - each a personality uopn themselves. They have their own charecteristics, sensitivities, opinions and way of life.

Robert is more outgoing, outspoken and has a dynamic personality. He's very charming. He has a really flamboyant personality on and off stage. He's thoughtful and sensitive.

Jimmy Page is quieter with more of an artisitic temperament. He is deeply thoughtful, has a sweet personality, is very friendly and has a great musical inspiration, which is reflected in his character. He has the soul of an artist, sometimes unpredictable.

They both love to have a good time- their one common trait - and I have a great time with them both.

One night in Barbados we went to a nightclub with a whole group of friends. Later, some people dropped out, and there were just a few of us, including Jimmy. We went to a nightclub for locals, not tourists, that had a little reggae band. I asked Jimmy if he felt like sitting in and he said that he would love to. We went over to this band, and this was at the very height of Led Zeppelin's popularity, and I said that this was Jimmy Page. They sort of nodded and said "So what?" I said "You know Led Zeppelin?" They didn't know who Led Zeppelin were. Jimmy said "Can I borrow your guitar and play a little bit?" The guy said "No man! I don't lend my guitar to nobody man!" We finally got them to let Jimmy play a little bit, and, of course, they were astounded. They never heard anybody play guitar like he did. Nobody in the world plays like Jimmy does."

"Do you have a favourite Led Zeppelin concert?"

"Oh God! My favourite Led Zeppelin concert was a rehearsal to which they weren't allowing anybody in the theatre (Hammersmith Odeon) in London. One day, their manager called and said "The boys have agreed to let you and your friends (I was going out and having dinner with some friends) come and listen to the rehearsal." That was a great thing. My friends were beside themselves. They couldn't believe they were actually going to see Led Zeppelin. There was nobody else there except the crew. They said we could come up and sit on the stage. They put me right in front of the blasting speakers. I had jet lag. I stayed up the night before and hadn't slept. I had several drinks before dinner before going there. Right in the middle of the third song, I fell asleep. I dozed off and apparently was snoring a little bit. Robert put the microphone right in front of my nose and that's when I woke up."

"What are your memories of Peter Grant?"

"That's a book. One of his artists said to me "He must be the cleanest person in the world because whenever anyone called, they would say 'Oh, Mr. Grant is in the bathroom. He'll call you when he gets out.""

We all loved him. He redefined the meaning of management. He gave Led Zeppelin their mystique, their aura, what they believed in. He was a wonderful man, but toward the end of Led Zeppelin, he became a bit difficult. He was the best manager around."

From - Thanks to Knebby

On October 29, 2006, Ertegün attended a Rolling Stones benefit concert in New York City, when he tripped and fell, hitting his head on the concrete floor. He was rushed to the hospital and slipped into a coma and eventually died on December 14, 2006. He was buried 4 days later, next to his brother, father and great-grandfather in Sultantepe, Üsküdar, Istanbul.

A memorial service was held in New York City on April 17, 2007 and perfomers included Wynton Marsalis, Eric Clapton and Dr. John, Stevie Nicks and Phil Collins. Another service was held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calfifornia on Jul 31, 2007.

On December 10, 2007, the Ahmet Ertegün Tribute Concert was held to raise money for the Ahmet Ertegün Education Fund, which pays for university scholarships in the United States, England and Turkey. It was held at the O2 Arena in London, England and included performances by Paolo Nutini, Mick Jones of Foreigner, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings and Led Zeppelin.


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Rick's Cool Collectibles is a memorabilia mail order company serving collectors worldwide! Since 1979 the name Rick Barrett has been associated with quality collectibles including rare concert & event tickets and stubs, Led Zeppelin memorabilia, select music & sports memorabilia, stamps, coins, old postcards, and more!

This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

August xx, 1968 - Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham hold their first rehearsals in Gerrard Street, London
August xx, 1968 - Page, Grant and Chris Dreja go see Robert Plant perform at a Birmingham Teachers College. Page invites Plant to his Pangbourne house and offers him the vocalist position
August xx, 1969 - Peter Grant starts enforcing the 90/10 split in favor of the band
August 31, 1969 - The third US tour ends at the Texas International Festival in Dallas
August xx, 1970 - Zeppelin earn no less than $25,000 per show
August 17, 1970 - Page completes mixing of the Led Zeppelin III in Memphis
August 19, 1971 - The seventh North American tour opens in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
August xx, 1972 - Jimmy Page purchases Plumpton Manor in Sussex
August xx, 1973 - Jimmy starts arranging ideas for the next album
August xx, 1974 - Film maker Peter Clifton has the band re-enact scenes at Shepperton Studios
August 31, 1974 - John Paul Jones appears with David Gilmour and Steve Broughton as Roy Harper’s backing band for the night
August 04, 1975 - Robert Plant and his family are seriously injured as their car veers off the road on the island of Rhodes
August 08, 1975 - Rehearsal for Zeppelin’s Eleventh North American tour postponed after Robert is involved in a serious car accident
August xx, 1976 - Arrangements are made to show the upcoming Zep film in theaters
August xx, 1976 - Jimmy Page finishes mixing the soundtrack for the movie The Song Remains The Same
August 14, 1977 - Jimmy jams with Ron Wood at a charity golf tournament for underprivileged children
August xx, 1978 - Robert plays with Dr. Feelgood and Phil Carson in Ibiza, Spain while on holiday
August 11, 1979 - Led Zeppelin perform a second show at Knebworth due to overwhelming ticket demands
August xx, 1980 - Jimmy moves into his new Windsor home, which was purchased from Michael Caine
August 14, 2009 - It Might Get Loud opened in select theatres in NY, WA & CA.
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