Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ahmet Ertegun

I had never heard of this guy until reading about him in World. But he had an amazing amount of influence in the world of pop culture.

The article details five examples. Below is Arsenio Orteza's brief review of Ertegun's life and his influence...

Written and directed by Susan Steinberg, Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built reveals the late Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun to have been a real-life pop-music Zelig. Instrumental in signing, promoting, and sometimes composing for over 50 years' worth of best-selling acts (the A-list: Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins), Ertegun arguably exerted a greater influence over American pop culture than any other musical figure.

The deeper value of Steinberg's documentary lies in its tracing of Ertegun's roots. The son of a devoutly Muslim Turkish diplomat, Ertegun fell in love with America via jazz. So it was that upon his arrival in the United States as a seventh-grader he was as immune to the nation's residual racism as he was to anti-American hostility. Whether the music of Ertegun's most successful latter-day discovery, Kid Rock, will engender similar good will among today's less diplomatically inclined Muslims is less certain.


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