2006_12_arts_ertegun.jpgAhmet Ertegun, the man who founded Atlantic Records, died yesterday at the age of 83. Ertegun, along with a partner, Herb Abramson, founded Atlantic Records in 1947. They started up in an office in a hotel on West 56th Street in Manhattan. The initial investment of $10,000 was borrowed from his family dentist. 48 years later, in 1995, at the Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, it was announced that the museum's main exhibition hall would be named after Ertegun.

Growing from an independent to a major label, he helped shape the careers of John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and the list goes on and on. Apparently Ertegun persuaded the Rolling Stones to sign with Atlantic after pretending to fall asleep at a Chuck Berry concert they attended together, playing up to Jagger - who he knew was against pushy execs.

The NY Times reports that a "spokesman for Atlantic Records said the death was the result of a brain injury suffered when Mr. Ertegun fell backstage at the Beacon Theater in Manhattan on Oct. 29 as the Rolling Stones prepared to play a concert that marked former President Bill Clinton’s 60th birthday. He had been in a coma since then."

Ertegun will be buried in a private ceremony in his native Turkey, and a public memorial service will be held in New York early next year.