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"Everyone touched by the spirit of Elektra and who contributed to the company 'owned' it in the richest sense of that word. That memory will inform all that you chose to do in the future. You are one of the lucky ones who experienced the specialness."
——Jac Holzman, Elektra founder to Joel Amsterdam

A FAREWELL TO ELEKTRA

Longtime Elektra PR Exec Joel Amsterdam Remembers, and Label Founder Jac Holzman Reacts
Joel Amsterdam worked at Elektra for 14 years, rising to Vice President Press and Artist Development, before he left the label as part of yesterday’s Warner Music Group consolidation. The following is an e-mail he sent out:

It was a childhood dream to work at Elektra, the home of my heroes, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, X, The Doors, Television, etc., etc., etc. Fourteen years later, the gratitude I'm feeling is overwhelming. So many great memories, historic projects, AMAZING MUSIC and truly inspiring people have made this experience priceless.

Smoking a joint on a tour bus in Seattle with Black Francis and Kurt Cobain; sitting with Emmylou Harris and Daniel Lanois at Kingsway Studio listening to Wrecking Ball for the first time; Taking Henry Rollins to Nesbitt, Mississippi to do an EPK with Jerry Lee Lewis; Traveling through Italy and the south of France with Metallica; tooling around London with Bjork; watching the 10,000 Maniacs play at a middle school in Salem, Oregon; seeing Jason Mraz at the Mint for the first time; seeing Old 97's at SXSW for the first time; running around Boulder, Colorado in a van with Phish in 1991; setting up a photo shoot with the Breeders before their first record came out with a novice photographer named Spike Jonze; watching Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds put up with stupid interview questions during Lollapalooza; sitting in awe as Billy Bragg orders a drink for me from the stage in Kansas City on my VERY first travel date (!!); and even watching in horror as Stephan Jenkins comes out in straight-jacket during 3EB's infamous Tonight Show appearance.

Really, this list could go on and on, it's all too numerous to mention.

The best part about all these years is developing the lasting relationships that is the essence of this once great company. A special thanks to Sherry Ring for giving me a chance and helping me flourish. No one cares about artists and their music more than she does. To Lisa Jefferson, Gihan and the entire publicity staff East and West, thanks so much, working with you on a daily basis made this crazy business make sense and made me look forward to coming to work everyday. You guys are family. And speaking of family, I even met my beautiful wife here, what can be better than that??

That's how much Elektra has meant to me. This was once the crown-jewel of the music industry. I'm so proud to have been a part of it.

Keep in touch.
Take care and God's speed,
Joel
323-658-8473 (home)
[email protected]

Jac Holzman was the founder and chief architect of Elektra Records in 1950 when he was just 19 years old. He wrote this incredible note about the end of Elektra as we know it. I thought you might find this interesting and valuable.

Joel:

It's been a difficult day for me as well. Everyone touched by the spirit of Elektra and who contributed to the company "owned" it in the richest sense of that word. That memory will inform all that you chose to do in the future. You are one of the lucky ones who experienced the specialness.

Elektra's end was foretold when it moved more toward the center and away from the edgy repertoire upon which it was founded and later enriched by the amazing contributions of Bob Krasnow.

Thank you for sharing your letter and feelings with me. I do understand. You've lost a love. But, the music is still there and, in the end, only the music really counts.

Jac Holzman

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