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Essay: Comparing Billie Holiday, Steve Jobs, and Ahmet Ertegun

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  • Published: 1 January 2021*
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  • Words: 913 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 4 (approx)
  • Tags: Apple essays

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Billie Holiday, Steve Jobs, and Ahmet Ertegun are all very different people. One being a jazz singer, one being the co-founder of Apple, and another being the founder of one of the largest record labels in history. Although all three of these people are easily contrasted, they can be compared to each other almost as easily. Steve and Ahmet were both extremely successful businessmen; Ahmet and Billie had a huge hand in how music was perceived and looked at back in their time; and all three of them made an impact in music and business. All three of these icons deserve a massive amount of respect for what they brought to this world.

Ahmet Ertegun was the founder and longtime president of Atlantic Records. He always had a passion for music ever since he was a young boy. He would routinely see music icons of his era such as Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. When he founded Atlantic Records in 1947, he almost immediately brought in Jerry Wexler who is famous for being a record executive and the person who coined the term ‘rhythm and blues’. Due to Atlantic’s extraordinary sound quality, it was a pretty big hit. This record label was able to bring in some of the most influential female R&B singers such as LaVern Baker and Ruth Brown; they even signed Ray Charles on to their label. Atlantic specifically focused on R&B music but started to add rock bands into their label, most notably being Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones. Ahmet Ertegun was awarded a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 for being a successful producer. Compared to Billie and Steve, he played a crucial role in music and was a very successful business man. But in contrast, he got to work with more people and was the single hand in multiple people’s startups and success. Unfortunately, he did die on December 14th, 2006 after falling and landing on his head at a Clinton Foundation support concert where he was then rushed to a hospital and slipped into a coma. Despite his tragic death, he is still looked at as an inspirational figure in the music industry to this day.

Billie Holiday is a very important and famous jazz singer from the 1930s to the 1950s. She was born right into music with her mother being Clarence Holiday: the guitarist of the Fletcher Henderson band. Billie’s birth name was Elinore, but she later changed it to resemble her favorite movie actress’ name: Billie Dove. Billie never had professional voice training but still managed to get a job as a performer at a Harlem nightclub. She was able to adopt a unique and emotional style that was able to captivate the audience’s ears. Her big break was her recordings with Teddy Wilson and other members of his band where she then started to perform in concerts and cabarets. Only a few years after she become an influential artist, she began abusing heroin that unfortunately started to deteriorate her voice. She was later arrested due to her drug abuse and took a break from performing to go to a in-patient rehabilitation center. After this, she continued to perform in concerts and went on a few tours before dying in 1959 due to health complications from her drug abuse. After her death in 1959, she was given a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Compared to Steve and Ahmet, she was, and still is, an extremely influential person because of her music. But in contrast, she received a lot more help from people to get her started and didn’t play much of a role in other people’s success. With that being said, she is still extremely successful and deserves a ton of credit for how she has impacted the music industry.

Steve Jobs is one of the founders of one of the biggest technology providers around the world: Apple. But unfortunately, a lot of people don’t recognize that he was the chairman of Pixar and was a member of the board of directors for Disney. He is known as one of the main influencers and starter of the technological revolution. In 1976, they tried to give Wozniak’s, another co-founder of Apple, computer titled Apple I a start up. But they were not really known until they released Apple II where they finally started to give themselves a name. But unfortunately, Jobs was fired from Apple a few years later. Jobs and Apple’s CEO had a non-friendly relationship which drove Jobs to ‘steal’ some of Apple’s employees to go to his company NeXT. He then paid 10 billion dollars to Pixar through investments and permission for their technology rights. He was then named chairman and a member of the board of directors for Pixar. Ironically, NeXT merged with Apple in 1997 where he then became the new CEO of Apple within a months. He helped bring Apple back out of debt once he was named the CEO by creating things like iTunes, the App Store, iPod, and iPhone. Unfortunately, Jobs died from respiratory arrest due to a tumor that was discovered a few years before. Compared to Billie and Ahmet, he shockingly revolutionized music by creating the online streaming application: iTunes. But in contrast, he is definitely more popular than the other two for creating a brand that everyone knows about and a lot of people use on a daily basis.

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