In Memoriam|

Photo: Mo Ostin (Warner Bros. archive) | Mo Ostin (March 27, 1927 – July 31, 2022) was an American record executive who worked for several companies, including Verve, Reprise Records, Warner Bros. Records, and DreamWorks. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003 by Paul Simon, Neil Young, and Lorne Michaels.

Born as Morris Meyer Ostrofsky in New York to a Jewish family who fled Russia during the Russian Revolution, Ostin attended Fairfax High School in Los Angeles and studied economics and law at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He began his career in the mid-1950s as comptroller at Clef Records, a record company started by Norman Granz, brother of friend and neighbor, Irving Granz. The company was soon renamed ‘Verve’, where he was involved with Jazz At The Philharmonic, a worldwide concert promotion operation that provided a live performance platform for the label’s touring stars. Frank Sinatra tried and failed to buy Verve, which was eventually sold to MGM Records. Sinatra was reportedly so impressed by the company’s artists and the management’s style that he formed his own Reprise Records in 1960 and hired Ostin to head it. In 1963, Reprise joined forces with Warner Bros. The first rock act he signed to Reprise was The Kinks. He signed Jimi Hendrix in 1967 after seeing him perform at the Monterey Pop Festival.

Ostin spent 32 years at Warner/Reprise. He was instrumental in the acquisition of the independent Elektra label by Warner Communications, as well as the subsequent formation of WEA Corporation and WEA International. Recognized as an industry titan, he served as chairman of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for a two-year term. After departing Warner Bros., in 1995, he went on to join the music division of the entertainment conglomerate DreamWorks SKG. In 2003, Ostin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Three years later, he received The Recording Academy President’s Merit Award at the 2006 Grammy Salute to Industry Icons.

In May 2011, Ostin donated $10 million to his alma mater UCLA, where he earned an economics degree, for a state-of-the-art campus music facility known as the Evelyn and Mo Ostin Music Center. He sat on the UCLA Board of Visitors for the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture and The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, and supported the UCLA Center for the Art of Performance. In March 2015, Ostin donated $10 million to UCLA for a new basketball training facility, which will be called the Mo Ostin Basketball Center.

Personal life
Ostin’s wife Evelyn died in 2005; they had three children, Randy Ostin (1953–2013), Kenny Ostin (1956–2004), and Michael Ostin. Ostin died on July 31, 2022, at the age of 95.

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Our music community continues to lose our talented artists to COVID-19, suicides, murders – staggering loses. We are going to miss them so much. If you want to know more about any of the musicians we lost, please check them out at

August 2022
3: Nicky Moore, 75, English musician (Samson), Parkinson’s disease.

1: Rosa de Castilla, 90, Mexican singer and actress (The Unknown Mariachi, Yo… el aventurero, Héroe a la fuerza).

July 2022
31: Nirmala Mishra, 83, Indian playback singer (Malajahna, Adina Megha), heart attack; Mo Ostin*, 95, American Hall of Fame record executive (Warner Records, Reprise Records, Verve Records); Vitaliy Vanchugov, 70, Russian saxophonist (Leysya, Pesnya).

30: Raymond Raposa, 41, American singer-songwriter (Castanets); Archie Roach, 66, Australian musician and singer-songwriter (“Took the Children Away”).

29: Ulises Eyherabide, 55, Argentine rock musician; Jim Sohns, 75, American singer (The Shadows of Knight).

28: Ilhan Irem, 67, Turkish singer and songwriter, kidney failure.

27: Pino d’Olbia, 87, Italian singer; JayDaYoungan, 24, American rapper, shot; Sidney Kirk, 78, American pianist; John Grenell, 78, New Zealand country singer; Yuri Marusin, 76, Russian opera singer; Mick Moloney, 77, Irish-American musician and folklorist; Charles Ward, British recording studio owner.

26: Giancarlo Cardini, 81, Italian pianist and composer; Paul Garon, 80, American writer and blues historian; Darío Gómez, 71, Colombian singer; Balwinder Safri, 63, Indian singer.

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