Ahmet Ertegun Remembered: “A True Guiding Light”

Jack Joseph Puig

Producer, Mixer, Engineer

U2, Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, John Mayer

Iconic producer/engineer Jack Joseph Puig commemorates the music industry legend who helped shape the careers of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Led Zeppelin, with a playlist of just a few of the soul and rock classics he had a hand in creating.

Ahmet Ertegun

Ahmet Ertegun

He was one of the most influential figures behind the scenes of American popular music in the twentieth century. As co-founder and president of Atlantic Records, as well as record producer, songwriter and mentor, Ertegun was a prime mover behind the careers of Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and many others. Admired by artists and music entrepreneurs alike, Ertegun passed away ten years ago, leaving behind a legacy of multi-cultural and multi-racial creativity.

Grammy®-winning producer/engineer Jack Joseph Puig remembers this music industry leader:

“In the days of rock & roll’s birth, Ahmet Ertegun was a true rock symbol and guiding light. Ahmet created a safe house and creative home for what turned out to be some of the greatest rock artists of the day, who have now become icons.

“I remember finishing a session one night and driving around a back private area of the studio to see Ahmet standing with the most two beautiful women on his arms, a brunette and a blonde. He himself looked like rock royalty. In today’s music world a lot of what we do is give confidence and a reason for executives to take a step and believe. Ahmet gave all his artists and record makers that reason and a chance to take that step. He was the pillar that didn't waver – he was the North Star.”

Ray Charles, “Mess Around”

One of Ray Charles’ earliest recordings for Atlantic Records, written by Ertegun himself


Big Joe Turner, “Shake, Rattle and Roll”

One of the first rock & roll songs: Ertegun suggested that songwriter Jesse Stone write it especially for Turner


Ben E. King, “Don't Play That Song (You Lied)”

Written by Ertegun and King’s wife Betty Nelson


Ray Charles, “What’d I Say”

A soul music watershed and a classic for Charles and Atlantic Records


Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters, “Let The Boogie Woogie Roll”

Composed by Ertegun, recorded in 1953, released in 1960


Want to read more behind-the-scenes insights from Jack Joseph Puig on America’s greatest record makers? Check here.

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