In 1948, Hungarian-born engineer Peter Goldmark unveiled for Columbia the creation of the 331/3long-playing microgroove record, revolutionizing the music industry. In this comprehensive history, Marmorstein (Hollywood Rhapsody) offers an overview of those events in the context of a complete company history spanning a dozen decades. He documents the 1889 origins of the Columbia Phonograph Company and subsequent technological plateaus, from cylinder recordings to single-sided and double-sided discs, followed by the LP, stereo and the dawn of the digital era. Along with company mergers, he profiles music makers from Bessie Smith to Bob Dylan and looks at the innovative album art of Jim Flora ("a post-nuclear Miró") and the creation of logo designs. He turns up the volume when writing about the men behind the music, from "witty and plugged-in" president Goddard Lieberson to acclaimed producers John Hammond and George Avakian. Along with an earful of audio archives and oral histories, Marmorstein leafed through recording contracts, sales reports, job sheets, memos and personal correspondence. The 35 pages of bibliographic notes indicate the exhaustive research that led to this authoritative history. 16-page photo insert not seen by PW. (Mar. 26)
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