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Mo Ostin, legendary artistic director of Warner Bros., is dead

Former Warner Records executive Mo Ostin, who worked with The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, has died at the age of 95.

Mo Ostin, the legendary record producer who ran Warner/Reprise Records for more than 30 years and worked with iconic artists such as the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, died of natural causes on Sunday. He was 95 years old.

Mo was one of the greatest recording men of all time, and one of the main architects of the modern music industry.said in a press release Tom Corson and Aaron Bay Schuck, the current co-presidents of Warner Records. For Mo, it was always first and foremost about helping artists realize their vision. A key figure in the evolution of Warner Music Group, Mo ushered Warner/Reprise Records into a golden age of revolutionary art and cultural change in the 1960s. Over the next three decades with the label, he remained a tireless champion of creative freedom, both for the talent he fostered and for the people who worked for him. Mo lived an extraordinary life doing what he loved, and he will be deeply missed by the entire industry he helped create, and the countless artists and colleagues he inspired to perform at their best- same. On behalf of everyone at Warner, we would like to thank Mo for all he has done and for believing in our bright future. We extend our condolences to his family at this difficult time.. »

Ostin made his Reprise Records debut in 1960, hired by none other than Reprise founder Frank Sinatra. A few years later, Warner Brothers bought out Reprise, and Ostin ran the joint label, creating a giant with music from the Kinks, but also from Young, Mitchell, Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac and Van Morrison, among others. Ostin had a reputation as an artist-first man who was trusted by musicians in the industry. During his later years at Warner, he also signed artists such as Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

While at first the Red Hot Chili Peppers left with someone else, as wrote Los Angeles Magazine, Ostin called the band to congratulate him, and the band was so moved they preferred to work with him. Their first album under the Warner aegis was the big hit Blood Sugar Sex Magik. ” He was comfortable chatting with royalty or Hollywood underworld punks – it was pretty special. »

After leaving Warner in 1994, Ostin also worked with Dreamworks in 1995 to found the entertainment company’s music division. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 by Lorne Michaels, Paul Simon and Young.

I love Mo, and you’re talking about a phrase that has a different meaning today than it once meant, that was “behind the music”. For me, this expression now evokes soap operas, but this man, Mo Ostin, was behind the musicYoung said during the induction. He was the originator of the music, he let it happen as it was meant to happen, and he kept it going. And that’s why Reprise and Warner Brothers have been the greatest music label of all time, as far as I’m concerned. This man here “.

Young posted a letter on his website to pay tribute to his longtime friend and thank him for helping him throughout his career: Without Mo, my life in music would never have been the same. Every time we put out a record, I would start by taking it to Mo and playing it for him and Lenny Warnoker. This tradition continued until last month, when Rick Rubin and I played our last Crazy Horse record for him at his home. We must have done this at least 40 times over the years. This last time was so special, because I was sitting between Mo and Lenny on his couch, listening to the new recording in his living room. Mo loved it, compared it to “Harvest Moon” and other records we had made together while the record was playing. Michael Ostin, Mo’s wonderful son, was with us that day as always to make sure everything was okay. […] Mo’s passing at age 95 touched me deeply, as I realize how lucky I was to have him and Elliot Roberts by my side. They’re both gone now, but their spirits will never fade “.

Ostin leaves behind his son Michael; his wife Evelyn died in 2005, and Ostin’s two other sons, Kenny and Randy, died in 2004 and 2013, respectively.

Ethan Millman

Translated by the editor

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