From Publishers Weekly
The title comes from Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun's answer when asked how to make money with music: the way to get rich was to keep walking around until you bumped into a genius, as Goldberg paraphrases. Inside the industry for almost four decades, Goldberg now looks back at those he bumped into during his rise from rock writer to public relations to personal management, plus heading three major record companies (Atlantic, Mercury, Warner Bros.). As he puts it, The idea of this book is to give some impressionistic views, through my eyes, and through the examples of a handful of artists, of the rock and roll business from 1969 through 2004. He began at Billboard
, where his rhapsodic review of the Woodstock festival established him as a rock journalist, and his opening chapter covers Paul Williams (Crawdaddy
), Gloria Stavers (16 Magazine
) and other editors and critics of the 1960s. Doing PR for Led Zeppelin was his introduction to the adrenaline of a big-time rock tour, and his backstage memories of those days are vivid and razor sharp, offering an intimate glimpse into PR strategies and tactics. The parade of personalities runs the gamut from Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Nicks to Kurt Cobain and Warren Zevon. Goldberg summons up some fascinating anecdotes as he writes about these performers with much honesty and compassion, bringing it all back home. (Sept.)
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Record label exec, publicist, and journalist Goldberg has interacted with many of the most successful pop acts of the last 40 years. Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Bonnie Raitt, and the Allman Brothers have all benefited from Goldberg’s acumen, and, among others, they populate his anecdote-laden memoir. He spins page after page of mots, many of them bon, and delivers insights like the observation that, before his suicide, Kurt Cobain frequently seemed listless and very stoned. Who knew? Well, for one, Cobain’s widow, Courtney Love, also a client of Goldberg’s and also limned here. Many of Goldberg’s anecdotes seem fresh, and he tells them well. He spotlights some previously underreported aspects of the music biz, revealing, for instance, that Howard Bloom, his successor as editor of Circus, originally an “awkward schmoozer at best,” persevered to eventually have a roster of clients that included Prince and Michael Jackson back when having those two was a positive commercial situation. Great behind-the-scenes stuff told literately and with a minimum of pretension, this is both entertaining and cautionary reading. --Mike Tribby