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Nesuhi Ertegun ( ; November 26, 1917April 15,1989) was a Turkish-American record producer and executive of Atlantic Records.


Born in Istanbulmarker, Turkeymarker, Nesuhi and his family, including younger brother Ahmet, moved to Washington, D.C.marker in 1935 with their father Münir Ertegün, who was appointed the Turkishmarker Ambassador to the United Statesmarker in that year.

From an early age, Nesuhi’s primary musical interest was jazz, attending concerts in Europe before his family moved to the USA. While living at the Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C., he promoted jazz concerts during 1941-44.


When his father died in 1944, and most of the rest of his family returned to Turkey, Nesuhi decided to stay in the USA and moved to California. He took over the Jazz Man Record Shop in Los Angelesmarker, which, in addition to selling records produced by other labels, also produced their own on the Jazz Man and Crescent labels. At Jazz Man, Nesuhi produced classic Kid Ory revival recordings in 1944 and 1945.

Although his main interest was initially New Orleans jazz, which he also wrote about while serving as the editor of Record Changer magazine, Ertegun was open to more modern styles. During 1951-54, while he was working at Contemporary Records, he taught the first history of jazz course ever given for academic credit at a major American university at UCLAmarker.

In 1955, he was preparing to work for Imperial Records to develop their jazz record line and develop a catalog of LPs. However, Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler persuaded him instead to join their company, Atlantic Records, where he was made a partner. He became vice-president in charge of the jazz and LP department at Atlantic, building up the label’s extensive catalog of jazz LPs. He was responsible for investing in the album market, improving the quality of recordings and sleeve formats.

As a producer at Atlantic he worked with John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, the Modern Jazz Quartet and many others. Nesuhi also became involved with the label’s rhythm & blues and rock and roll roster, first recruiting songwriters and producers Leiber and Stoller, with whom he had worked in California, and producing several hit records for Ray Charles, Chris Connor, the Drifters, Bobby Darin and Roberta Flack.

With Ahmet, he also co-founded the New York Cosmos soccer team of the North American Soccer League. They were instrumental in bringing in soccer legends like Giorgio Chinaglia,Pelé, Carlos Alberto and Franz Beckenbauer to the club.

In 1971, Nesuhi founded WEA International, now Warner Music International. While at WEA International, Nesuhi demonstrated tremendous independence and character, often going against the wishes of his U.S. counterparts. In the 1980's Neshui released the single "Girls, Girls, Girls" by then unknown Latin-American rockers Renegade forcing a domestic release of their debut album Rock N' Roll Crazy!. The domestic label had demanded the band members change their names to "less ethnic" sounding names. Nesuhi was incensed by the demand, and set out to break the record and the act internationally with the band's given names. He remained head of the Warner Records International Division until he retired in 1987.

He died on April 15, 1989, at the age of 71, due to complications following cancer surgery at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York Citymarker.

Nesuhi was an avid collector of Surrealist art. His collection (along with that of his friend's, Daniel Filipacchi) was exhibited at the Guggenheim in New York in 1999 in “Surrealism: Two Private Eyes, the Nesuhi Ertegun and Daniel Filipacchi Collections”--an event described by The New York Times as: “a gourmet banquet,” large enough to “pack the Solomon R.marker Guggenheim Museummarker from ceiling to lobby with a powerful exhibition.” [767726]

Nesuhi Ertegun was inducted posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall of Famemarker in 1991. He was posthumously awarded the Grammy Trustees Award for lifetime achievements in 1995. For his contributions to the sport of soccer, he and Ahmet were inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2003. The Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame at Jazz at Lincoln Centermarker was dedicated to him in 2004.

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