A&M RECORDS EXECUTIVES

JOLENE MADDIN BURTON

(September 23, 1932 – August 17, 2020)

 

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Jolene Burton

 

 

Jolene was born and attended school in Vernon, Texas.

She started with A&M Records in 1963 as the bookkeeper alongside Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss and was hired as their very first employee. After 20 years Jolene retired as the Vice President of Finance for both A&M Records and Almo Music Publishing at the end of 1983.

Jolene then left with her husband Karl on their sailboat “Magic”.  They cruised the world for 16 years with stops throughout the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, Bombay, India, across the Indian Ocean to Salalah, the Sultanate-of Oman, Aden, Djibouti, up the Red Sea, the Suez Canal to Cyprus, the Historic Turkish Coast to Istanbul, the Bosporus into the Black Sea, Varna, Bulgaria, Romania and Sozopol a 2000 year old City State.  While in Varna she hosted the Russian Ambassador and subsequently the Mayor of Sozopol, who gave her a personally guided tour of the Historic City.  Jolene and Karl asked for permission to sail to Russia and were told they were about 2 years too soon for that to happen.  When Magic sailed back to Turkey, Jolene’s popularity earned her a thorough search of their boat and a Bulgarian Naval vessel escort to Istanbul.  No stowaways allowed. The year was 1987.

Jolene sailed off the obvious beaten path to see places that others rarely saw.

>We dropped our anchor and visited in bays where 2000 years ago other boats and Biblical figures had also dropped their anchors.

As in her working life, she marched to a different drummer.  After living in both the Keys and Daytona Beach, Florida, Jolene and Karl brought their new sailboat “Viking” back to Los Angeles and returned to the home they had left behind.  They continued sailing, not only to the local Islands but also several trips down to La Paz, Mexico and around the Sea of Cortez and Hawaii.  Jolene and Karl loved cruising on the big ships as well and were content reading and enjoying each other’s company as they covered the parts of the world they had not seen on their sailing voyages!  Jolene was not an ordinary Lady who did ordinary things. She was an accomplished Lady who did extraordinary things!

Her life was all about hard work, family, friends and her love for Karl.  In her own words she said “We have seen and done so much in our lifetimes!”.

 

REFLECTIONS FROM FORMER A&M AND ALMO MUSIC PUBLISHING FRIENDS!

From Chuck Kaye: Former President of Almo Music Publishing

I met Jolene in 1969 when I joined A&M Records and she was the Administrator and Comptroller.  She immediately became my roadmap and point person at the company. She was warm, open and had the best smile I’d ever seen. Through my stay at A&M she helped me understand the ins and outs of their finances of the publishing business. If there was a problem she would be there to help, she was relentless. If you were on her good side she was the greatest, but if you weren’t you would be in for a hell of a battle.

Jolene and Karl got me into sailing, one of the great joys of my life.  Both Jolene and I left A&M at different times. I had taken over Warner Bros Music and found the back office a mess. Jolene joined me at Warner’s and went to work, with her work ethic and intelligence she accomplished what had to be done. She then went off sailing.

A number of years later my brother Joel Sill and I started a publishing company called “Windswept Pacific”. We had acquired several companies and had some serious accounting and royalty issues and fortunately Jolene was available and joined us. She was able to get the problems solved, no small job. Yeah, again Jolene to the rescue.

I loved Jolene, she and Karl became great personal friends for over 50 years. To me Jolene was a sister I never had and her influence on me was huge. She had the heart of a lioness and was one of the most loving and caring people I’ve known.

 

From Joel Sill:  Former Vice-President of Almo Music Publishing

I met Jolene when I was young and knew her differently. She would protect me from business bullies and scold me when I made a mistake but with Zen instructions on how to do it right the next time. Honesty and strength were two qualities she had an abundance of, she also taught by example. Chuck gave me the chance to become friends with Jolene and Karl. They just embraced you emotionally, Jolene with her unspoken love and sparkling eyes and Karl with his booming affection. Sailing was always a treat, we laughed so much at times that my stomach still hurts. I had a second chance to be with her at Windswept and she was Chuck’s and my North Star. I found some money from an old song a coal miner had written decades before which a film studio had never paid him for. He had black lung disease and was putting his daughter through college. Jolene was ebullient when the money came in so she could write him the check. I could see how it made her enormously happy to help someone in need. I revered her as a person and loved her as a friend. Irreplaceable!

GIL FRIESEN

(March 10, 1937 - December 13, 2012)

Gil Friesen

 

His method was to work around the flawed, correct the imperfect, and improve upon the best.--Tyler Friesen

The worldly smile, the easy confidence
The good humour and the quiet strength
The go to person whenever some landmark decision needed to be made
He'd put books in my way that he thought would be useful to me, literature, poetry, philosophy, history, books on the environment
--Sting

He cared about people and asked about them with genuine interest. When someone had a problem or needed to make a decision, Gil was the one to turn to. He did not have an agenda or an ego that interfered. He had a unique insight into people which gave him the rare ability to size up talent in the music business, in artistic endeavors and in business.--Joel S. Ehrenkranz

Always curious and conversant on the most wide range of people, ideas, places: eager, excited, curious to live and learn and to bring you along with him, to hook you up with other people, feed you ideas, making sure you were your best. His capacity for friendship was deep and intense. --Jann Wenner

Gil Friesen became my first (nd irreplaceable) friend in California.--Jerry Moss

 

Quotes from Gil Friesen's memorial book

BOB GARCIA

- April 26, 2020

Bob Garcia

 

Artist Relations, Publicity, Artist and Catalog Development

“Uncle Bob was our concierge, our mentor, our protector, our confidante, and we were always assured of a warm welcome there, laced with a liberal dose of his mordant wit. You could talk film, theater, books and music with Bob and behind the humor of those twinkling eyes you had a sense that he’d seen and heard everything and yet, like a true sage, had reserved judgment. He could be laconic and cryptic just as he could be compassionate and fulsome, but always equally amused by both the blandishments and trials of ‘the life,’ and nothing seemed to faze him. He was, and, to me still is, the presiding spirit of that magical lot on La Brea. He will always be there for me, as he was in life. God bless you, Uncle Bob, and thank you.”--Sting

“Bob taught me everything by example about how to connect with, respect and support artists and interface on their behalf with the company and visa versa...Passionate, brilliant, caring, funny, and colorful. He was my Yoda and he always had my back. We stayed close all these years.”--Doreen Ringer-Ross 

“Bob Garcia worked at A&M Records for many years and without exception, was liked by all...Artists and employees admired his quirkiness and original personality that didn’t change with the times. I personally appreciated his keen observations on music, and life as he saw it. I loved Bob.”--Herb Alpert

 “Bob Garcia was a huge part of the A&M Records community that I treasured. Bob shared a love of music and creativity that trickled down to me as an artist and I am forever grateful. He was quirky, warm and always fascinating. He will be greatly missed by so many of us.”--Amy Grant 

“Dear Bob, you were ‘a shelter in a storm—a Willow’ to so many of the Brit artistes, managers and staffers from across the pond. Back in the U.K., your bonhomie was legendary. Thanks for giving so much to so many of us lost in L.A. Travel well.”--Derek Green

“A true original, a raconteur, a style maven, a gentle man with the heart of an artist. He weathered the regime changes with good humor and acceptance—oh my God, can you imagine after decades in the business he got stuck in that little marketing building with us yammering young know-it-alls and never had an unkind word about any of it. I reread some of the greetings he'd sent on my birthdays—droll one-liners that made me laugh out loud last night. Thank you, Bob Garcia, for welcoming us into your world and always reminding us what we were there for.”--Jill Glass Easton

 “ What an incredible man. I learned so much from Bob and was so lucky to have gotten to work with such a legend. Not to mention such a kind and gentle soul. I close my eyes and I’m transported back to that office. I can picture the photos on the wall. The big dog. His stories about driving the van for The Police. And so, so, so many more. I will miss him.”--Larry Weintraub

"he was one of the great characters in music-biz annals. Neither was Garcia the ampersand of A&M Records, although some have described him that way—but he was the ampersand that connected A&M’s culture with several generations of staffers and artists who called the iconic Lot at 1416 N. La Brea home."--Bud Scoppa

 

Quotes from The Hollywood Reporter May 6, 2020
Variety May 4, 2020
Hits Daily Double May 5, 2020

JERRY MOSS

Jerry Moss

 

Jerry, thank you so much for empowering the music and empowering all of us to be a part of your legacy.--Amy Grant

At the end of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, I was offered a record deal with A&M Records. For any artist at that time, the label was a dream to be signed to. It was a label that was driven by music, not by business; by artist support, not by a one-hit wonder. It was just an amazing place to be. And when I signed with A&M, Jerry actually said to me, ‘We’re in this for the long haul. If you get a hit record right away, that’s great. If not, we want the longevity to help you build your career.’ … Nobody did it before and nobody’s done it since, and I’m eternally grateful, as Peter (Frampton, who preceded her) is, for my whole life.--Rita Coolidge

To be honest, I don’t think I would’ve had the musical career that I’ve had without Jerry Moss. I knew how to make records, but I didn’t know what to do with them. Jerry did. He sure did.… I got lucky to have a partner and a dear friend like Jerry Moss. Jerry’s an unforgettable person, because he’s real… I adore you, man.--Herb Alpert

 

All quotes from the Music Center Los Angeles Tribute Concert for Jerry Moss January 14, 2023.