News of Moss’ death broke yesterday morning (August 17), when a statement was shared by his family, confirming that he had died of natural causes at his home in Bel Air. He was aged 88.
Now, Sting has become the latest of the countless famous faces from across the music world to pay tribute to the late music executive, and described the A&M founder and Rock Hall Of Fame member as “irreplaceable”.
The singer-songwriter made the comments in conversation with Billboard and recalled his longtime friendship with Moss, as well as the ways in which the executive impacted both his solo music and work with The Police.
“I first met Jerry Moss in 1979. I just got to California with the band and I hugged a palm tree. I’d never seen a palm tree in my life. We booked into the Sunset Marquis and obviously sat at the swimming pool. And then in walked Jerry Moss and [A&M executive] Gil Friesen, two very tall, handsome, distinguished-looking Californian businessmen,” he began.
“Jerry really looked the part, I have to say: Such a striking, handsome guy. Jerry very quickly became a family friend rather than a record executive. But if I’m asked why I think they were so successful as a record company, I would say Jerry was, not to my knowledge, a cutthroat businessman, he was a gentleman first.”
Sting continued, describing Moss as “a friend”. “a mentor” and “a confidante”. He also explained that he thinks “those very human qualities” were what led to him being quite so successful in his career, rather than it being down to him “being some kind of shark”.
He also explained how the day that they met was also the day that The Police played their first Los Angeles show at the Whisky a Go Go, and that A&M Records later signed the band and contributed to the success of their 1983 hit ‘Every Breath You Take’.
“I would always listen and take what he said seriously. He knew what he was [talking] about, [and] He became a very close friend,” he added. “It was amazing that he had just as much talent spotting musical talent as he did horseflesh that would win. But again, I think his success came from his generosity, his humanity.”
Towards the end of the tribute, Sting also recalled how he last saw Moss last month, when the latter made a surprise appearance at one of his shows in Halifax. “He was in a wheelchair. He wasn’t speaking, but he was really able to demonstrate how pleased he was to see me and how pleased I was to see him,” he said. “It was the most unlikely setting for a final meeting, but I’m so grateful that I had that opportunity. We spent a lot of time with him. He’s irreplaceable. I love him and it’s been a devastating loss for [wife,] Trudie and myself and the record industry.”
Other tributes for Moss have come from the likes of A&M co-founder Herb Alpert, who said he had “never met a nicer, honest, sensitive, smart and talented man than my partner Jerry Moss,” and Quincy Jones, who shared that Moss “was the consummate music man, [whose] love of all genres of the art-form was unabashed.”