Producer Jerry Wexler Dies, Signed Willie Nelson in the ’70s

Famed music executive and record producer Jerry Wexler died at home in Sarasota, Fla. on Aug. 15, of congenital heart failure. He was 91. Wexler was best known for helping pioneer the Atlantic Records label, home to such artists as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and other R&B greats. Wexler was also responsible for signing Willie Nelson to the label in the 1970s, yielding the acclaimed Nelson albums Phases & Stages and Shotgun Willie. Wexler also opened a Nashville office for Atlantic’s country music division in 1974. He left the label the following year and worked as a freelancer, producing albums by such artists as Bob Dylan, Dire Straits and Carlos Santana.