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Mo Ostin

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Lorne Michaels, Paul Simon, Neil Young
  • Category:
    Ahmet Ertegun Award

A record exec who knows music is more than a business.

Mo Ostin’s immense success in the music business can be attributed to the fact that he never lost sight of music as art. He encourages creativity and risk-taking and knows a future star when he hears one.

Hall of Fame Essay


Stan Cornyn

Let me pretend you’ve never heard of Mo Ostin, or, as he was first called in Billboard, Mo Austin.

That mention was in 1960, when Mo was in his twenties, freshly married to a store clerk cutie named Evelyn, and had lucked into an indecent job: working for Norman Granz at Verve Records. We should be interested in this man. He’s been granted the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, even though his fathers-in-art, Granz and Sinatra, dismissed R&R with naughty words.

We need to understand how this man became the record world's most outstanding label runner. In short: Why Mo?

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program Cover 2003
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2003 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Mo Ostin

For him, before everything else, there was the music, and whoever it was who was making the music.

Lorne Michaels

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