Ertegun, Ahmet

Ertegun, Ahmet (Munir)

(1923–  ) recording producer, song publisher; born in Istanbul, Turkey. Son of the Turkish ambassador to the U.S.A., he and his brother Nesuhi Ertegun effectively grew up in Washington, D.C., and were greatly attracted to American jazz and popular music. Ahmet attended St. John's College (Md.) and studied for a doctorate at Georgetown University, but he abandoned a conventional career when in 1947 he cofounded Atlantic Records (with Herb Abrahmson). Nesuhi Ertegun concentrated on producing jazz records with the likes of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, while Ahmet worked with such musicians as Big Joe Turner, the Drifters, Professor Longhair, and the Rolling Stones; he would also play a role in bringing such Southern musicians as the Allman Brothers into the mainstream of popular rock. The cosmopolitan Ahmet was at home among the jet set but he also had a hands-on role in producing many records, and the Atlantic label became one of the most important in the history of 20th-century music because of the support—technical, financial, and personal—the company gave to several generations of emerging musicians.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.