Over the last fifty years these individuals have impacted the music industry globally and have helped many African Americans achieve great levels of success internationally.
These individuals are responsible for creating successful recording artists, song-writing and record production teams and legendary record labels over a 50 to 60 year period that helped to develop distinctive signature sounds that have impacted popular culture internationally and introduced to us such great cultural icons as Bob Marley, the Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson. They were also responsible for bringing together Blacks and Whites, developing good race relations through music, long before other industry sectors both private and public took such initiatives. It is interesting to note that each of these men is Jewish by birth and from America.
The legendary recording executive, Clive Davis, has been instrumental in the success of several black recording labels over the last 40 years, beginning with Philadelphia International Records in 1971 and then Laface Records and Bad Boy Records in the 1990s. These labels combined have generated approximately 500 million dollars to the recording industry. Clive was also responsible for the success of Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. He re-invented the careers of Luther Vandross, Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin, in the process helping each artist to have cross-over success internationally.
Born in Kensington, North Philadelphia, in 1948 of Jewish parents, Larry started to play professionally with the cello in this early teens as a soloist for the Philadelphia Orchestra. By the mid 1960s he began to play at a supper club called the Latin Casino as part of the house band, in the city of Philadelphia, where he supported such artists as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr.
Larry’s greatest accomplishment was the opening of his own full-time recording studio in 1996 to meet the needs of the increasing list of clients coming to ask for his assistance with string arrangements in the Philly soul classic tradition. Some of the many string arrangements that Larry has done include The Roots’ Grammy winning single “You Got Me” (featuring Erykah Badu) and Jennifer Lopez’s number one single “If You had My Love”. Larry arranged, conducted and played cello for Jay-Z’s performance on MTV Unplugged with the Roots. Since the start of the 21st century Larry has written, conducted and arranged strings for Carvin Haggins and Ivan Barrias, Andre Harris and Vidal Davis, Rodney Jerkins, Kirk Franklin, James Poyser and ?guestlove.
Michael Jackson’s tenth and final studio album “Invincible” was recorded at Larry’s studio with Rodney Jerkins, Andre Harris and Vidal Davis involved in the production end of the recording along with legendary studio engineer Bruce Swedien
Gerald “Jerry” Wexler (10th January 1917 to 15th August 2008) was a music journalist before he took on the role of music producer and partner at Atlantic Records and was regarded as one of the major contributors to the success of the music industry from the 1950s into the 1980s. He coined the term “rhythm and blues“and was integral in signing and/or producing many of the biggest acts of the last 50 years, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Dusty Springfield and Bob Dylan.
Jerry Wexler in the recording studio at the world famous Fame Studios in Muscle Shaols with Aretha Franklin in 1967, recording her classic hit “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You.”
Jerry Wexler and Aretha Franklin presented with a gold disc for the million-selling record “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You” from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)