Jagger, Clapton, Midler & More Honor Atlantic’s Ertegun
by Natalie Finn
Led Zeppelin didn’t reunite, but plenty of Ahmet Ertegun’s other disciples were more than happy to take the stage together.
Rock icons such as Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Stevie Nicks, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young gathered at New York’s Lincoln Center Tuesday to pay tribute to the Atlantic Records chairman, who died Dec. 14 at 83.
Tragically, yet oddly fittingly, Ertegun died of a head injury suffered in October when he fell down at a Rolling Stones concert. A mover and a shaker until the end, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer signed and nurtured rockers such as the Stones and Led Zeppelin, as well as some of the biggest names in soul and R&B, including Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding.
Jagger remembered his boss at Atlantic as “the wicked uncle with the wicked chuckle,” saying he could never keep up with the dapper Turk.
The event’s host, Bette Midler, said that Ertegun could “charm the birds out of the trees,” and reminisced how she had grown up on Atlantic music, tunes that “promised there was a party somewhere.”
As one would expect, “Ahmet Ertegun: A Celebration” was largely a musical affair.
Performers included Clapton, who led a band featuring New Orleans pianist Dr. John through Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone to Love” and Stick McGhee’s “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-dee-o-dee”; Phil Collins, who sang “In the Air Tonight” and then, joined by the rest of Genesis, “Follow You, Follow Me”; Ben E. King, who crooned “Don’t Play That Song,” which Ertegun helped write; Crosby, Stills & Nash, who took on the Beatles’ “In My Life” before Neil Young joined them for “Helplessly Hoping”; Young, who coupled with Stephen Stills on “Mr. Soul”; Stevie Nicks, who sang a double feature of “Stand Back” and Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll”; Solomon Burke; and, adding a contemporary vibe, Kid Rock.
Rock, who also attended Ertegun’s funeral in his native Istanbul, took on the Wilson Pickett classic “In the Midnight Hour” and Sam and Dave’s “I Thank You,” with the help of Sam Moore.
“I hope that today’s musicians have someone like Ahmet,” Young said.
Other notables on hand to celebrate Ertegun’s legacy and pay their respect’s to the late impresario’s wife, Mica, included New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, designer Oscar de la Renta, Ray director Taylor Hackford, David Geffen, Henry Kissinger and Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner.
Copyright 2007 E! Entertainment Television, Inc. All rights reserved.