Music Impresario. He was a co-founder of Atlantic Records and through this record label he helped define American music by popularizing the earthy Rhythm & Blues of Ray Charles, the classic soul of Aretha Franklin and the British rock of the Rolling Stones. A Turkish ambassador's son, he initially began collecting records as a hobby and later became one of the music industry's most powerful figures with Atlantic Records, co-founded by him in 1947. The label first made its name with rhythm and blues by Ray Charles and Big Joe Turner, but later branched out, making Aretha Franklin the Queen of Soul as well as promoting British rock with the Rolling Stones, Cream and Led Zeppelin and also American pop with Sonny & Cher, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and others). Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 (he was a founder), awarded an honorary doctorate in music from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1991, and the Grammy Trustees Award for his lifetime achievements in 1993. The United States Library of Congress recognized him as a "Living Legend" in 2000. In 2005, the Recording Academy presented him with the first "President's Merit Award Salute To Industry Icons". He was also a soccer aficionado who strongly supported professional soccer in the United States and was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003. He died of complications from a fall while attending a Rolling Stones performance, in New York City.
Bio by: Fred Beisser