The label was founded in 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Upon its creation, Atlantic was principally a jazz and R&B label, signing Ray Charles from 1952-1959, though it also released some country western recordings as well. In the early fifties Ahmet was joined by Jerry Wexler and then Nesuhi Ertegün. From February 7, 1955 Nesuhi headed the label's jazz division and was responsible for major signings such as Charles Mingus and John Coltrane; later Joel Dorn filled this position. Although it began as an independent record company, it became a major player in the music business in the 1960s, with mainstream pop signings like Sonny and Cher. Competing record labels included Columbia Records and RCA Records.