7 Highlights From A&M Records Co-Founder Jerry Moss’s L.A. Concert


A&M Records has long been respected as an artist-focused label. That point was stressed repeatedly at “Live at the Music Center: Concert Celebrating A&M Records Co-Founder Jerry Moss,” which took place on Saturday (Jan. 14) at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum.


David Foster hosted the show, which featured live performances by longtime A&M stars Herb Alpert, Amy Grant, and Peter Frampton, as well as Dionne Warwick.

The argument concerning A&M’s artist focus was most vividly stated in a filmed memory from former A&M executive Jim Guerinot, who recalls looking at an A&M artist’s falling sales fortunes and asking Moss a direct question. “Why are we even releasing this artist’s 13th record when it will almost certainly lose money?” he wondered. Moss’ response, according to him, was “It’s because she’s an A&M artist.”A&M Records Co-Founder Jerry Moss All-Star Tribute Planned – Billboard


It was that straightforward at A&M. The label believed in its artists and prioritised them. Alpert, who co-founded A&M with Moss in 1962, spoke about that artist focus before performing his 1968 hit “This Guy’s in Love With You.”

“A&M was very unique,” Alpert stated. “I see why they [the artists] liked us; we were on their side. In the early 1960s, I worked as an artist at RCA. They were cruel to me. I pledged that if I ever owned a record label, I would put the artist first.”


Moss and his wife Tina will gift $25 million to the Music Center in 2020 to increase access to its programmes for people of all backgrounds. This salute was the Music Center’s way of thanking Moss for his generous donation, and it was the participating artists’ way of thanking Moss for his belief and support. “Thank you, Jerry Moss, for my entire career,” Peter Frampton said.

Here are seven highlights from Jerry Moss’s tribute:

Amy Grant kicks off the show.

Amy Grant kicked off the event with “I Will Remember You,” an emotional song that was one of five top 20 Hot 100 successes from her 1991 album Heart in Motion. Grant earned the Kennedy Center Honors last month, confirming A&M’s faith in her. Between 1985 and 2003, Grant released seven studio albums for A&M/Myrrh.

Peter Frampton Makes Use of His ‘Talk Box’

“Do You Feel Like We Do,” a highlight from his 1976 smash Frampton Comes Alive!, was performed by Peter Frampton. During Frampton’s long guitar solo, a talk box solo (akin to a vocoder) was famously used. In this case, he used the effect to “say” “I want to thank Jerry” and “Thank you all for coming out.” It was a lovely addition.

Frampton and Moss had a lengthy relationship. From 1970 to 1975, Frampton’s band Humble Pie released six studio albums on A&M. From 1972 to 2006, Frampton released nine studio albums for the label.

Frampton told a delightful anecdote about Moss’ instincts as a promotion man being as sharp as ever at the age of 87. “When Jerry and I met this afternoon, he asked if I was going to play – and, being the A&R guy that he is, he replied, ‘You going to give me new music?'”

Rita Coolidge expresses gratitude

Rita Coolidge, who made 13 studio albums for A&M between 1971 and 1984, did not perform, but she did present in person to honour her long-time boss and mentor.

She recalls being offered a solo deal at A&M at the end of Joe Cocker’s renowned “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour. “Jerry told me we’re in it for the long haul,” she recalled. “He said, ‘If you get a hit record right away, terrific,” but Moss made it clear that she was under no obligation to come up with a hit.

It took some time for Coolidge to score a hit. Anytime… Anywhere, which made the top 10 on the Billboard 200 in 1977 and generated a pair of top 10 hits on the Hot 100, “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher” and “We’re All Alone,” was her sixth A&M studio album.

“I’m eternally grateful for my entire life, as Peter is,” Coolidge added.

David Foster Remembers His Moment of Bold Courage

David Foster was a pleasant event host. He remembers feeling confident after a pair of singles for Earth, Wind & Fire (“After the Love Has Gone,” No. 2 on the Hot 100) and Cheryl Lynn (“Got to Be Real,” No. 12 on the Hot 100) in 1980.

He met with Moss and expressed his desire to work as a staff producer for A&M. He asked for $2 million per year, which was a lot of money in 1980. (and not a small sum today). Moss was as gentlemanly as usual, according to Foster, but “he signalled the meeting was done.”

Foster went on to write and/or produce a succession of songs for Chicago, Peter Cetera, The Tubes, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins, Kenny Rogers, John Parr, and others in the 1980s, bringing his career to a close. “I first saw Jerry in the late 1980s. “I recall you came to visit me and begged for $2 million a year,” he remarked. “How come you didn’t tell me you were going to be David Foster?”

Foster, who has starred in a number of great PBS programmes, sang an amusing “and then I composed” medley, but it had nothing to do with A&M. It would have been better if he had discussed the performers on A&M with whom he would have liked to work; this is what drew him to become an A&M staff producer in the first place. And he could have done snippets of those hits. The next time.

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