Mo Ostin, the legendary music executive who ran Warner Brothers Records for more than 30 years, has died of natural causes at the age of 95.
Warner Records co-chairmen, CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck and chief operating officer Tom Corson, confirmed the news in a joint statement Monday, saying: “Mo was one of the greatest recording men of all time and one of the greatest recording men of all time.” the main architects of the modern music business. . For Mo, it was always first and foremost about helping artists bring his vision to life.”
“One of the seminal figures in the evolution of the Warner Music Group, in the 1960s, he led Warner/Reprise Records into a golden age of revolutionary art that changed culture. During his next three decades on the label, he remained a tireless champion of creative freedom, both because of the talent he cultivated and the people who worked for him.”
“Mo lived an extraordinary life doing what he loved, and he will be sorely missed throughout the industry he helped create, and by the countless artists and colleagues he inspired to be their best selves.”
Born in New York in 1927, Ostin got his first big break in 1960 when Frank Sinatra recruited him to run Reprise Records. The label was then acquired by Warner Bros. in 1963. Ostin soon made a name for himself at Warner Bros., mentoring The Kinks and Jimi Hendrix for years to come.
In 1970, Ostin became president of Warner Bros. Records and took over as chairman-slash-CEO two years later, a position he held until his retirement in 1994. Under his leadership, Warner became home to some of the most iconic acts in the industry including Van Halen, Bonnie Raitt, Madonna, James Taylor, ZZ Top, George Benson, Don Henley, Tom Petty, Green Day, Van Dyke Parks, The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Prince.
The veteran Warner executive was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 by Neil Young, Paul Simon and Lorne Michaels. “I love Mo, and you talk about a phrase that means something different today than it used to, it’s called behind the music. That phrase now connotes soap operas to me, but this man, Mo Ostin, was behind the music,” Young said at the induction.
Tributes have poured in from around the world as news of Ostin’s passing broke. Max Lousada, CEO of Warner Recorded Music, called the man “a pioneer who wrote the rule book for others to follow,” while Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea remembered the record executive as “the greatest person [he] known in the music business,” sharing that Ostin made him feel “valued, understood, and welcomed” when he was young and confused.
See more tributes below.
The Sinatra family has lost another dear friend, a true force in the music industry, and a true love.
Goodbye, Mo. 💙 Good luck…
Mo Ostin, legendary Warner Bros. record exec behind Hendrix and The Kinks, dead at 95 https://t.co/caL5vH8ZDv via @Rolling Stone
—Nancy Sinatra (@NancySinatra) August 2, 2022
RIP to Mo Ostin what an amazing times we had thanks for all the knowledge you passed on and contributions from jimi hendrix to prince..neva Be another https://t.co/53ym9lAv2F
— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) August 1, 2022
Mo Ostin, the legendary label executive who ran Verve, Reprise, Warner Brothers Records and DreamWorks SKG, and oversaw legends like The Kinks, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, REM and Randy Newman, has died at the age of 95.
This music business now wouldn’t exist without Mo. pic.twitter.com/OrWLN6ayun
—Eric Alper 🎧 (@ThatEricAlper) August 1, 2022
My heart is so deeply saddened to land on the news of Mo Ostin’s passing. I loved him, I have known him and his family for 43 years, he is a legend and a great man. Rest in peace I love you.
— ✌🏼rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) August 2, 2022
Mo Ostin deeply inspired Tom as president of Warner Brothers’ music division and was responsible for the creation of Wildflowers and Traveling Wilburys, among many other seminal musical endeavors. God bless Mo. One of the really good ones. Our thoughts are with his family today. pic.twitter.com/SaLYtYQWY3
—Tom Petty (@tompetty) August 1, 2022