Jerry Wexler

Associated Press

For decades, "race music" was the euphemism used for recordings by African American musicians. That didn't sit well for a young music journalist named Jerry Wexler, who coined the term "rhythm and blues" in 1949. The term stuck.

But it was as an executive and producer at Atlantic Records that Wexler changed American music. He introduced the masses to Ray Charles and Big Joe Turner, and honed the sound of Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett.