Mo Ostin, Longtime Warner Bros. and Reprise Records Chief, Dies at 95

Mo Ostin, Longtime Warner Bros. and Reprise Records Chief, Dies at 95

He presided over labels that sold iconic music by Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, the Grateful Dead, the Kinks, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Randy Newman, and many others

Mo Ostin

Mo Ostin (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Mo Ostin, who headed Warner Bros. and Reprise Records for three decades from the ’60s to the ’90s, has died, Variety reports. He died of natural causes at the age of 95.

Ostin helmed Warner/Reprise Records for three decades; he was originally hired in 1960 by Reprise founder Frank Sinatra. He established himself as an industry force after the label was bought out by Warner Bros., signing the Kinks and Jimi Hendrix in the 60s, and forming the distributor WEA. At its peak it was among the biggest labels in the industry—Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours sold more than 20 million copies and spent 31 weeks at No. 1. He was named chairman/CEO in 1972, a position he held until 1994. During his tenure the label released records by Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the Grateful DeadPaul Simon, Van Morrison, Randy Newman, and many others.

In 1995 he joined Dreamworks, the entertainment company founded by label executive David Geffen, film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg. He returned to Warner Bros. as a consultant in 2006.

Ostin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.


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