Jay Lasker

Jay Lasker standing in the back row all the way to the left with Dunhill recording artists Three Dog Night and staff

Jay Lasker was born in 1924 and was a recording industry executive who was president of ABC/Dunhill and Motown Records. He developed his experience in the post war recording industry and was involved in the earliest days of rock and roll music and the British rock and roll invasion of the 60’s.

Lasker worked for Decca Records in 1945 after serving in the army during World War II. After getting a law degree, he became the Detroit branch manager for Decca in 1951 and was involved in the production of Bill Haley's classic, "Rock Around The Clock." In 1956 he became Decca’s vice president of sales.

He became vice president of Frank Sinatra's new Reprise label in 1961, and then worked for Vee-Jay Records during the period when the company owned the rights to release The Beatles early recordings in the United States. In 1965, he became a partner and president of Dunhill Records. When ABC bought Dunhill in 1967, he became president of ABC/Dunhill. Lasker presided as top executive during The Grass Roots record setting run of 307 consecutive weeks in the Billboard charts from 1967 to 1972.

In 1975, Lasker became a partner in the short-lived Ariola America Records. In 1980, he was appointed president of Motown Records. Lasker revitalized the company by reissuing many catalogue recordings and worked closely with such performers as Lionel Richie and Smokey Robinson.  In 1984, Lasker insisted on releasing the number one single "I Just Called To Say I Love You" after singer Stevie Wonder worried about its marketability. It became one of Wonder’s most commercially successful singles. Lasker retired in 1987 and passed away in Encino, California on June 13, 1989.

From left to right: Berry Gordy Jr., Ewart Abner & Jay Lasker of Motown Records