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Hitmaker: The Man and His Music Hardcover – January 29, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Tommy's a smart guy, he's creative, and he's got street smarts and he did it! It's one of those classic American success stories, coming out of a neighborhood like the Bronx, you just do it, you make it and you're able to become the CEO of Sony. I was proud of him."
--Robert De Niro

"Tommy knows what it's like to be hungry. He's a rock and roll animal, and he's a street guy. He had that fire in the belly. You're not gonna keep a guy like that down. He thrives on adversity."
--Billy Joel

"Tommy became a huge part of my life and my career. He's a guru. He knows what he's doing. No one had as much to do with the success of the music business as Tommy. He has created more superstars than anyone else. All these amazing artists with such great catalogs, it all had to do with Tommy."
--Jennifer Lopez

"Launching an artist's career, creating the aura that someone special is about to come on the scene, and then taking it to each separate level where they become not only national stars, but international stars, with uniqueness and a special aura, Tommy did that extremely well."
--Clive Davis

"Tommy Mottola's got guts and balls of steel. When the whole world said no to the Chicago soundtrack, Tommy said yes. The album won a Grammy and sold four and a half million copies. So much for the naysayers."
--Harvey Weinstein


"I've met a few legends in my life and Tommy Mottola is one of them. What Tommy did, in my opinion, is change the landscape of music and the music business. He made the music business more fun, less corporate, more maverick...He was a catalyst in making me think about things differently and it changed the course of my life. He understands star power, making superstars, and globalization."
--Simon Cowell

About the Author

Tommy Mottola is one of the highest-profile executives in the history of the music industry. He is credited with discovering and guiding the careers of many of the world's most iconic music artists. Starting as a musician and an Epic Records recording artist at the age eighteen, he returned twenty years later to run that very company as Sony Music Entertainment's global CEO. In his tenure, he is credited with tripling the company's revenue, selling an estimated 8 billion CDs, and generating more than $65 billion in sales. Tommy now heads the Mottola Media Group, a global entertainment and media company in New York City. He resides in New York City with his wife, Thalia, and their two young children, Sabrina and Matthew, and close by are his two older children, Sarah and Michael.
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Product Details

  • Series: The Man and His Music
  • Hardcover: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition (January 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446585181
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446585187
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joey Bee on July 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The only reason this book doesn't get 1 star is that there's some worthwhile stuff about his early years, first as a failed recording artists, and then moving up through music publishing and management, especially with his first big act, Hall & Oates.

However, once Tommy becomes the Chairman of Sony Music, it becomes nothing more than a place to settle scores on his terms with him coming out looking like an angel, taking down Howard Stringer, other SONY Japanese execs, telling his side of the Mariah Carey story, and then waxing schmaltzy about his new wife and how truly awesome she is. Throughout this section, we get about 50 examples of Tommy quoting himself in conversations that go like this "I told them that this would be the biggest hit, ever. I know it in my bones. You need to make this the single. I stake my reputation on it." And then he pats himself on the back for being right, and everyone else being a moron. That's fine, autobiographies are supposed to be self-serving. Tommy often ends with his "aw shucks" moments about "and to think, me, a kid from the Bronx..." schtick. Nauseating.

But we don't get what the business was really like - Tommy doesn't seem to yell at anyone, no one drops any f-bombs, no one gets sent any hookers or coke to spin records (Walter Yetnikoff seems to bve the only person Tommy's met who uses drugs), no one cheats anyone out of royalties, and so on. In other words, it's an utterly sanitized "as told to" book that gets more and more annoying as you near the end of it. The fact that the end has a lot of Celine Dion stories doesn't help much either.

And to think I actually read this book because of a positive review in the "New York Review of Books" over the new Clive Davis autobiography!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Sack on March 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A little less back patting and a little more detail on how he achieved what he did would have made this a better book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By beatlefan on April 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought this was going to be interesting but it is just a fluff piece about a producer who thinks he is number one. Actually this book goes on and on and slow moving. He jumps from his friendship with Hall and Oates to Gloria Estefan briefly touches upon his feelings for a young Mariah. Not as good as I would expect.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mediaman on May 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Mottola sings his own praises in this long-winded but lightly-detailed life story that focuses mostly on his corporate work. The book starts out with promise, written in a self-effacing style in which he takes blame for his mistakes and even says he doesn't recall exact conversations (refreshing compared to other autobiographies). But once he gets some power the tone of the book changes to him over-praising his ability to pick artists and hits. The guy was good, but not as good as he writes himself to be. In focusing on his corporate successes he almost ignores his private life and short-changes readers on inside stories about the stars he worked with.

For some reason the artists that get the most pages in the book are Hall & Oates, who Mottola claims are one of the greatest groups in rock history (of course, because he managed them!). Meanwhile Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey and other big names get shortchanged. There are almost no interesting inside stories revealed about the names you'll know while there are a number of minute details about corporate co-workers you've never heard of. Namely, Mottola doesn't dish on the people you want to hear about.

Everything he touched he claims went "straight to number one" or was "one of the biggest selling albums of all time" or that his then-wife released "the single greatest modern Christmas album of all time" (you know--the one he forced her to make against her wishes!). In truth he just put out some great records with some good artists whose stories don't get detailed here. He tip-toes around his marriage to Mariah Carey (who he keeps referring to as appealing to a hip-hop audience) and repeatedly talks about what a bad father he was to his first two kids.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sophia Loren on May 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I can really appreciate how Tommy was able to make to the top of Sony without the 'standard' credentials. It doesn't happen often but when you are lucky enough to find a brilliant mentor who sees your gifts, magic can happen. Very interesting history of Sony, Tommy and the transition of the music industry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michele Knight on April 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
However, you get the sense that he's leaving things out and tidying up his image. It did provide a good summary of his work at Sony records, and I found it more engaging than Clive's latest biography. But, I'm not sure if most of what he says is true
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MD on March 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Empty Calories

Poor Cal Fussman. He really had his work cut out for him. You know who I'm talking about here right? He is the second name on the cover of this book. Yeah, that's him, the one in significantly smaller font, positioned strategically below Mr. Mattola's name, as if Mr. Mattola is standing on the shoulders of Mr. Shultz's efforts.

A highly successful record executive does not a good author make, unless your sole purpose is to showcase how wonderfully talented you are, and boy does this book fit that purpose. So in that context, you may deem this a success after all. As if by small chance the title does not give you that impression, be sure to open the book and delve further.

Mr. Mattola never passes up an opportunity to tell you how "hands on" he was, and how all his stars loved him so [with the exception of John Mellencamp]. But don't take his word for it. Interspersed throughout the book are accolades from the various celebrities he has dealt with over the years. Can you imagine Mr. Mattola going hat in hand asking for praise? It is not as if any of them were going to say, "Sure Tommy, but I have some bad stuff to say about you". Fat chance, his ego would not allow it.

Instead you get broad strokes on how Mr. Matolla did this, decided that, had the vision, etc. etc. etc. No humility, scant acknowledgement of his failures and what he learned from them. There is no denying that from a business perspective, all the Mr. Matolla accomplished is phenomenal, and he was smart enough to recognize that he needed to bring in talented executives to cover areas that he had no expertise in. But wait! Isnt' that yet another sign of his genius!

Do you sense a pattern here?
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