The Last Sultan: The Life and Times of Ahmet Ertegun

The-Last-Sultan-Ahmet-Ertegun.jpgBook Review
Big Joe Turner, Ray Charles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones and more. He found them and made them part of music history. The founder of Atlantic Records and a real genius. In 1947, he started Atlantic Records with only $10,000 which was an investment from his family’s dentist. When he died in 2006, he was the prince of an empire that changed the route of Rock’n Roll.

Ahmet was born in Istanbul in 1923. His father Munir Ertegun was a diplomat and he was a member of the Lausanne delegation after the Turkish Independence War. Until 1932, Munir Ertegun was an ambassador in several counties. Then he moved to Washington D.C. as the Ambassador of Turkey. When they moved to the USA, Ahmet was 9 years old. This move was a turning point in Ahmet’s life. They lived in a big house which was bought by the Turkish government. They were having a rich life. Ahmet and his brother Nasuhi were going to a good school. During that time, Ahmet started to be interested in jazz music. He discovered real music in D.C.’s black district and he really loved it. Ahmet made a lot of friends and invited them to the house for lunch and to talk. Ahmet and Nasuhi started to collect 78s (gramophone records) and they also started recording with their own record-cutting machine. After a while, the collection reached 15,000 pieces. Ahmet’s father Munir Ertegün died in 1944. Soon after, the family returned to Turkey, but Ahmet and Nesuhi stayed in the United States. While Nesuhi moved to Los Angeles, Ahmet stayed in Washington and decided to get into the record business.

“We started Atlantic simply because we wanted to sign a few artists whose music we liked, and make the kind of records that we would want to buy.” Ahmet said.

Ahmet never left music for the rest of his life. At the age of 83 on October 29, 2006, Ahmet attended a Rolling Stones benefit concert at the Beacon Theatre for the Clinton Foundation. When he was backstage, he tripped and fell, striking his head on the concrete floor. Ahmet slipped into a coma and died weeks later on December 14, 2006.

In 2012, six years after his death, this book was published by Robert Greenfield. And two years later, it was translated into Turkish. The book has really interesting and impressive stories inside and also many photos of Ahmet Ertegün, his family, his friends and the bands which he founded.