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Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group Hardcover – Bargain Price, February 1, 2002


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, February 1, 2002
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0380978520
  • ASIN: B000H2M432
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,513,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When did the money become more important than the music? Cornyn, a veteran of Warner Bros. Records from its birth in the late 1950s, fondly recalls when it was about the music (and the dames and drunken fun didn't hurt), a time before such terms as "units," "product," "industry" entered the vernacular. He's frank about the people and circumstances that have forever changed the business. Also realistic, he knows changes will continue (which is why he urges readers to turn this into a "living book" by contributing their own observations online). Having spent 34 years with the company in its many incarnations, Cornyn could've chosen the route of raunchy expose, but instead he delivers good gossip with high humor and class. He describes the unknowns who stepped in and rescued Warner during down times, like Bob Newhart with his comedy album in 1962, and later Madonna. Snappy stories of artists itching to break contracts Sinatra did so with "laryngitis," the Sex Pistols with urine, Jackson Browne with tears. But even juicier, as the company history unfolds, are the insider takes on the men (and the occasional women) behind the music, the boardroom brawls, midnight calls, hush-hush deals, and talks with Teamsters. Endearingly, he freeze-frames the grander moments, when someone makes the perfect quip or sings a line just right. This music narrative has all the elements drama, mystery, comedy, a course in business (royalties, payola, severance pay), debauchery (Queen's outrageous party in New Orleans) and history.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A creative executive at Warner Bros. Records for 30 years, Cornyn presents a provocative, witty, and engrossing insider's story of that label and the cutthroat machinations of the record industry. Beginning with the takeover of Warner Bros. Pictures by the despicable Jack Warner, he charts the rise of Warner Records in the late 1950s with Mike Maitland, who first brought success to the label. He then moves to the merger of Warner Bros. Records with Frank Sinatra's Reprise label, its absorption of successful independents Atlantic and Elektra, and the buyout of Warner by Steve Ross of Kinney National, who created Warner Communications. Cornyn continues with Warner's assimilation of Asylum Records, its merger with Time, and its eventual union with Ted Turner's communications empire. Giving little emphasis to the artists except as fleeting commodities, the author graphically reveals the transition of Warner from a fledgling record company dedicated to unearthing the newest music trends to a corporate conglomerate obsessed with greater market share and escalating profits. Fans of record mogul tell-alls will enjoy this. Highly recommended for popular music collections. Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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An easy 5 stars.
Clark A Novak
I spent a lot of money on this tome hoping to read about some of them.
Terry Saundry
I highly recommend this book to all serious music fans.
Ed

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Terry Saundry on June 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Exploding is populated by music stars like Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Lil' Kim, Dr. Dre, the Grateful Dead, Queen, Madonna, Ice-T, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, Alice Cooper, and dozens more".
Yeah? Where?
The artists are merely footnotes in this saga; weirdos to be tolerated (barely) and joked about. I spent a lot of money on this tome hoping to read about some of them. Instead I got 450 pages of business talk with about 4500 witticisms to amuse and confuse.
At least I found out why their awesome back catalogue has shamefully been left to earn whatever dollars it can in crappy 80's CD output (in the main) while other labels remaster properly and expand on their reissues - Warners just don't give a damn.
Won't be reading it again, I assure you.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Exploding" not only gives a very thorough and complete historical structure of how Warner Bros. became a film and music leader, but gives outsiders the intense understanding of what the "insiders" were dealing with, when the company and the music industry went through the myriad changes of the 20th century.It's a time-line saga and sensory experience of all that the Warner Music business was and later became. The book gives readers both funny, poignant and enlightening glimpses into the key players and other personalities of the Warner Music Group, and describes how the rock industry's stars rose and fel. After working in the music industry for many years, I learned even more than I ever previously knew about how WB began and evolved. From mostly behind the scenes and through mainly a mere few "big-wigs" the cards were dealt or held for many future careers at the WB family of labels. Musicians, songwriters, radio and record neophytes could learn alot from reading this book. Industry veterans will enjoy the trips down memory lane, and ultimately, be carried along it's emotional currents. Coryn's writing is witty and he gets to his well-crafted points with style and substance. After dozens of years working deep in the creative trenches as the changes occured, he is well-suited to tell the tales, both bitter and sweet.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Clark Benson on March 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
then you will definitely find this worth your time.
I've been in the record biz for the last ten years and got an awful lot out of reading this - it tells the business story in an entertaining manner - it's about the personalities behind the music, but not as much about the hype (as much as it's possible to take hype out of anything about the entertainment industry).
now with the record biz in a rough spell is a particularly timely point to put your book out - the perspective of this book (which covers about 40 years quite well) is well needed.
I especially liked the focus on the business end, all the numbers, the annual growth, etc. This is the rare (only?) record biz tale that really gets to the bottom of how records get out there and in the public's hands - the nuts and bolts like NARM conventions and less emphasis on A&R stories than in most books about the biz (yet it's still a great tale of personalities).
It's up there with Hit Men, definitely.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 27, 2002
Format: Hardcover
LET ME 'fess up. This is a book I would kill to have written.
It's a book I've been saying should be written for the last
ten years a book, a huge book, about possibly the hippest,
bravest, most nurturing record company rock'n'roll ever spawned. Now Stan Cornyn, a Warners "insider's insider" if ever there was one, has gone and done it with help from smart Rolling Stone vet Paul Scanlon.
"The really important factor was that we were a younger company than Columbia," Cornyn said when I interviewed him in 1993. "We weren't structured so tightly that we couldn't bend."
Bend Warner Brothers did or at least Warner Bros. and Reprise Records,under the inspiring helmsmanship of sometime Sinatra accountant Morris "Mo"Ostin and Boston disc-jock Joe Smith. For a golden half-decade, roughly 1967-1972, Warner-Reprise was the ultimate haven for the crème of the talent pouring out of (and into) the canyons of Southern California. Between 'em, Mo'n'Joe bagged the signatures of Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young,Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Ry Cooder, Fleetwood Mac, Van Morrison, James Taylor, Frank Zappa, Little Feat, Van Dyke Parks and on and on and on. Cornyn calls that "a spurt of prescience heretofore unknown in the record business". Frankly, it's hard to argue.
Warner-Reprise didn't do too badly either side of those halcyon five years, of course: from the Everlys to REM, Ostin and Smith green-lit signings that helped the WM Group shift gazillions of albums. But that heady turn-of-the-decade stretch, full of bold impulses and daring risks, is the guarantor of Warners' place in the history tomes.
It's also why Exploding is as much a lament a "They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore" about record execs as it is a racy, fact-packed narrative about company politicking.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ed on March 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
At age 44, and with an album collection of over 400 LP's, I have been an avid music fan since age 10, as a wide-eyed, curious kid in 1968. I have always wondered just how the record industry worked, besides what I have learned over the years. Stan Cornyn's new novel "Exploding", is everything I could have asked for and then some! This book is very well written, concise, and stuffed full of details only an insider such as Stan Cornyn would know. This book had me turning pages late at night as I felt like a confidant to Cornyn, in that this book was written for me personally. I am a huge fan of 70's music, and what went on during this era at Warner / Reprise was simply unbeleivable, author Stan Cornyn will take you on a rollercoaster ride of this crazy time in the Record Industry, as well as American History, and how music is the bridge that connects it all. I highly recommend this book to all serious music fans. Now, whenever I play an album with the Warner Brothers label, I see much more than "just" a label, thanks to a brillantly written book by Stan Cornyn. Well done, this was money well spent for me, I learned a lot about music and record companies, as well as being entertained and amused with each page I read. Excellent work, Mr. Cornyn!
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