Mo Ostin, the legendary record executive who ran Warner/Reprise Records for more than 30 years and worked with iconic artists including the Kinks, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, died of natural causes on Sunday. He was 95 years old.
“Moe was one of the greatest record men of all time, and the principal architect of the modern music business,” Warner Records’ current co-presidents Tom Corson and Aaron Bay Shook said in a statement. “For Moe, helping artists to realize their vision was always first and foremost. One of the key figures in the development of Warner Music Group, Moe in the 1960s created the golden age of revolutionary, culture-shifting artistry. Warner/Reprise Records debuted in the era.
“In his next three decades at the label, he remained a tireless champion of creative freedom, both for his talent and the people who worked for him,” he said. “Moe lived an extraordinary life doing what she loved, and she will be deeply remembered throughout the industry she helped create, and by the countless cast and collaborators whom she inspired to be her best self. Warner On behalf of everyone, we would like to thank Mo for everything he has done and his inspiring belief in our bright future. Our condolences are with his family at this difficult time.”
Osteen got his start with Reprise Records in 1960, hired by none other than Reprise founder Frank Sinatra. Within a few years, Warner Bros. purchased Reprise, and Osteen led the combined label, a collaboration with Kink’s music alongside Young, Mitchell, Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac and Van Morrison, as well as several others. Built a power station. Austin had a reputation as an artist-first record person who was trusted by industry musicians. In his later years with Warner, he also signed artists including Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“Between their people skills and real mo-ness we were able to shift gears,” Anthony Kiedis said of signing the Chili Peppers in place of Austin. Los Angeles Magazine Interview in 2018. The band has just broken up with their album mother’s milk, Falling in love with new labels including Austin.
Whereas the first chili pepper went with someone else, like Los Angeles Magazine wrote, Osteen called the band regardless to congratulate them, and the band was so impressed that they chose to work with him instead. Their first album under Warner was a huge success. Blood sugar sex majik. “He was comfortable breaking bread with royalty or punk from the gutters of Hollywood — it was kind of special.”
After leaving Warner in 1994, Osteen also worked with DreamWorks in 1995 to found the entertainment company’s music department. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003, presented by Lorne Michaels, Paul Simon and Young.
“I love Moe, and you talk about a phrase that means something different today, that is said behind the music. That phrase now alludes to soap opera to me, but this man Mo Austin was behind the music,” Young said in induction. “He was behind making it happen, he was behind letting it happen though it was meant to be, and he was behind making it happen. And that’s why as far as I’m concerned, Reprise and Warner Bros. Was the greatest label ever. That guy out there.”
Austin is survived by his son Michael; His wife Evelyn died in 2005, and Austin’s two other sons, Kenny and Randy, died in 2004 and 2013, respectively.
“In an era when creative entrepreneurs are respected, we celebrate Mo Ostin as a pioneer who wrote the rulebook for others to follow,” said Max Lusada, CEO of Recorded Music, Warner Music Group, in a statement. said in. “Warner Music Group and Warner Records would not exist without their passion, foresight and intelligence. They not only helped build one of the world’s largest music companies, but they inspired a culture of bravery and ingenuity. Moe The artists saw who they really were and gave them the space and support to fully realize their originality. Our condolences to Michael and the entire Austin family. Moe was a legend, and he will be greatly missed.”