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JERRY BLAIR,
1961-2021

The entire industry is mourning Jerry Blair, a true mensch and one of the best promotion executives of all time, who passed away peacefully on 9/8 of complications from COVID-19, with his family by his side. He was just 60 years old.

Jerry’s star rose during the ’80s when he headed the West Coast office of Chrysalis Records during the label’s hottest period, playing a key role in the careers of such era-defining artists as Huey Lewis & the News, Pat Benatar, Billy Idol, Jethro Tull and Blondie.

But it was his 11-year run at Columbia, the dominant label in the music business through the ’90s, that cemented Jerry’s stature. As EVP for the label, he personally oversaw the career development of Mariah Carey, The Fugees, Destiny’s Child, Jessica Simpson and Aerosmith, whose career he reignited by pairing the group with Diane Warren, whose “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” became Aerosmith’s first-ever #1 single in 1998. He also orchestrated the promotion and marketing campaigns for legendary artists Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel.

Jerry helped kickstart the Latin-pop explosion by launching Ricky Martin’s U.S. career behind the now-iconic chart-topper “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” His foresight opened the door for numerous other Latin artists, including Shakira, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez and Enrique Iglesias, to cross over to the pop charts.

“What I did with Ricky Martin basically woke up the country and marketers to what was really going on in the Latin marketplace, ahead of the census reporting that Latinos were the dominant minority,” Jerry later recalled. “It woke up people to that fact.”

As EVP at Arista Records, he was responsible for all non-urban promotion and marketing functions at the company, as well as overseeing online activities. During that time, Jerry guided the careers of such emerging acts as Usher, OutKast, Dido and P!nk, whose debut album, Can’t Take Me Home, yielded three massive radio hits, driving domestic sales of 2 million+ units.

Blair went on to relaunch Mariah Carey’s career as her partner in Monarc Music. He secured a worldwide distribution deal with UMG for Carey, whose The Emancipation of Mimi became the best-selling album of 2005, moving nearly 5m units.

During the last decade and a half, he remained active, working as an executive and entrepreneur in a number of ventures.  

Among those who worked with Jerry during his career were Rick Sackheim, Lee Leipsner, Charlie Walk, Chris Woltman, Lisa Ellis, Lisa Wolfe, Rocky del Balzo, Ed Green, Pete Cosenza, Joe Guzik, Jon Cohen, Steve Tipp, Jim Burruss, Elaine LocatelliRobin CecolaJerry Lembo, John Strazza, Trina Tombrink and Shana Miller.

Jerry is survived by his wife Karen and daughter Suzette, 9 (pictured above), son Josh, 26, and sister Michelle.

His family wishes to acknowledge the outpouring of love, support and prayers at this time, and asks to be granted respect and privacy as they navigate this new reality.

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