Jerry Moss was the cofounder (with Herb Alpert) of A&M Records, a hugely successful and influential independent label beginning in the early 1960s, whose talent roster included Sergio Mendes, the Carpenters, the Police and Soundgarden.
Moss earned an English lit degree from Brooklyn College, served in the U.S. Army, then began working at Co-ed Records in 1958 to promote pop singles, including “16 Candles” by the Crests. In 1960, he moved to California as an independent promo man and song publisher. He met Herb Alpert and the two became friends, haunting the jazz clubs of La Cienega Boulevard.
Moss and Alpert decided to create their own label, first called Carnival Records, setting up offices in Alpert's garage. The partners soon discovered that another label was already using the Carnival name, so they renamed the company A&M, after their initials.
The label's first release as A&M was Alpert's “The Lonely Bull,” which became a Top 10 hit. Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass released more than 30 albums on the label, including A&M's first gold albums, “Going Places” and “Whipped Cream & Other Delights.”
In 1966, A&M took over the Charlie Chaplin Studio on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood (which remained its home through 1999). Though initially focused on jazz-pop and folk music, by the late '60s the company expanded deeper into rock music, releasing definitive albums by Joe Cocker and the Flying Burrito Brothers. The next decade saw releases by a wide range of artists and genres, including Cat Stevens, Quincy Jones and Peter Frampton, whose “Frampton Comes Alive!” was the bestselling album of 1976.
In the new wave '80s, A&M's success continued with the likes of the Police, Joe Jackson and the Go-Gos. Moss and Alpert closed the decade by selling A&M Records to Polygram for a reported $500 million in 1989, though the founders remained until 1993.
Moss survived prostate cancer and surgery, and in 1994 joined with Alpert again to launch Almo Sounds, a new independent label distributed by Interscope, releasing albums by Garbage, Ozomatli and Alpert, among others.
Moss and his wife, Ann, are also thoroughbred horse breeders. Their stallion Giacomo won the Kentucky Derby in 2005.
Moss was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1999.