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Becoming Elektra True Story Of Jac Holzman's Visionary Recor Label Paperback – September 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Jawbone Press (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906002290
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906002299
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,381,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mick Houghton is a music publicist and journalist. Since 1979 he has looked after the Ramones, Talking Heads, Undertones, Echo & The Bunnymen, Julian Cope, Sonic Youth, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The KLF, Spiritualized, XTC, Bert Jansch and Richard Thompson, among many others. His writing has appeared in Let it Rock, Circus, Zigzag, Sounds, Time Out, Mojo and Uncut, and he wrote the book that formed part of the Grammy nominated Forever Changing: The Golden Age of Elektra 1963-1973 CD box set. He first bought an Elektra LP in 1966.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jym Cherry on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
"Becoming Elektra" covers the years from when Elektra records was founded by Jac Holzman in his college dorm room to when he sold Elektra to Warner Communications. In between there was a lot of music, a lot of taking chances, a folk music scene that exploded, a rock music scene that exploded, iconic personalities and albums, iconic producers, and at the center of it, some times barely hanging on, was Jac Holzman and Elektra.

The late 40's and early 50's were a comparable time to our's for the recording industry as today technology is available to those who want to make a CD. The early 50's was on the cutting edge of a technology change. The young and ambitious were there to take advantage of it. Many record companies started up at this time. Some didn't survive, but some did and we know them today; Atlantic Records, Chess Records and Elektra. The first technology to make this possible was the ability to create thinner and smaller records that were more easily usable than the thick 78's. The mechanical technology to record, portable and widely available to everyone was left over equipment from World War II.

This technological vantage point is where Holzman found himself when he started Elektra. Another was New York as the opening of coffee shops put the city at the forefront of folk music as a scene. Holzman was able to record the folk denizens of Greenwich Village. Later, when the music scene in Los Angeles was about to burst Holzman had the insight to see the Sunset Strip as the same kind of focal point for music that Greenwich Village was in the 50`s.

Since Elektra was a small company that didn't have a lot to lose but a lot to prove.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barron W. Chandler Jr. on October 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful, well-written account of the people and artists that made the original Elektra label so consistently excellent. I often bought artists' releases simply because they were on the Elektra label.
Here is a detailed and even presentation of the stories behind and histories of the many famous and/or highly talented contributors - Tom Paxton, Tom Rush, Phil Ochs, Fred Neil, Tim Buckley, Judy Collins, Paul Butterfield, Love, Doors, Stooges, Queen, Jac Holzman, Paul Rothchild, Bruce Botnick, John Haeny, William Harvey to name a few. So many interesting and fascinating facts and facets, often provided first-hand by the actual participants, to keep the reader engrossed and inspired to hear as much of the music as possible.
This is a book that will be referenced many times after the first reading. A must for any music lover's library!
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Format: Paperback
Unlike most volumes on a single company - in this case, a record label - "Becoming Elektra" is not about Elektra Records as a whole, but is rather an illustrated history of the label during the reign of its legendary founder, Jac Holtzman.

What began largely as a folk-based label started back in 1951, while Holtzman was still at St. John's College, became a powerhouse of Unlike most volumes on a single company - in this case, a record label - "Becoming Elektra" is not about Elektra Records as a whole, but is rather an illustrated history of the label during the reign of its legendary founder, Jac Holtzman.

What began largely as a folk-based label started back in 1951, while Holtzman was still at St. John's College, became a powerhouse of rock by the end of Holtzman's tenure with such chart-topping acts as the Doors and Queen. Along the way, Holtzman's taste allowed for a panoply of folk singers to reach public audiences, many for the first time. Phil Ochs, Judy Collins, Tim Buckley and the Incredible String Band were some of the labels early successes. Even in its nascent days, the label went beyond the limits of pop music by releasing records titled Zodiac Cosmic Sounds, Sing Along in Hebrew and later a Child's Garden of Grass. Elektra was the first mainstream label to issue an extensive series of sound effects records as well.

Through it all, the label was known for its organic sensibilities. Despite the breakthroughs of the Doors and L.A.'s Love, it wasn't until the sale to Warner Communications and the eventual handing over the reigns to David Geffen, Joe Smith, Bob Krasnow and Sylvia Rhone that Elektra became a full fledged, mainstream label.
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