Ahmet Ertegun, a young Turk - literally - with an immigrant's passion for the African-American music he heard in the rigidly segregated Washington, D.C. nightclubs of the 1940s, recognized that "all popular music stems from black music, be it jazz or rock n' roll or rap." He exported these unique sounds to England, where they merged with the European sensibility, and then imported that fusion back across the ocean. "The Atlantic Sound," which sprang from the small record label Ertegun co-founded in 1947, was a revolutionary new genre, single-handedly influencing the future direction of contemporary music. Ertegun wrote music, produced music, defined careers and changed lives. "He found Ray Charles, he introduced Eric Clapton to Aretha Franklin, he fell asleep on Mick Jagger," says Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner in AMERICAN MASTERS Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built.
For the last half-century, Ahmet Ertegun was hip-deep in R&B and rock and roll. Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built follows Ertegun's remarkable career and its impact on the evolution of the world's most popular musical genre while offering an insider's look at the recording industry, from its infancy to today. The two-hour film, produced by Thirteen/WNET New York and Warner Music Group, premieres Wednesday, May 2 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS. The House That Ahmet Built features rare, private and classic clips, performances and studio sessions of Atlantic recording artists. The film is narrated by award-winning singer/actress Bette Midler.