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Stalking the Red Headed Stranger Paperback – January 1, 2012
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No one can accuse Mr. Poe of untruthfulness in advertising. Drawing on his decades in the music biz, most of it spent as president of the impressive Leiber & Stoller Music Publishing, every page delivers hilarious stories and brilliant advice for anyone who wants to get ahead in any profession. I just recommended this book to a 17 year-old highly talented sculptor. I also gave it as a gift to a friend who's a songwriter. Anyone I meet who's whining about why the world hasn't served them a five-course meal on a silver platter will be told to read this book.
From Poe's 1980 arrival in the big wicked city - New York - with nothing but $275 in a wallet made of duct tape and knowing no one in the music business, he pole vaults his way to success rather quickly. He crashes black-tie events wearing fake tuxedo pants with black electrical tape down the side and a $5 thrift store jacket. He does anything asked of him. He learns everything he can about everyone he needs or wants to know. He trots out many a cliche and shows why they exist. Like, it's not just who you know, but who you KNOW. How do you walk the line between being impressed by a celebrity you idolize without being intimidated and too fawning?
And how do you get Willie Nelson to record a song written by your bosses?
The lengths to which he goes to present said song to "the red headed stranger" is the golden thread masterfully woven into a loom of colorful personalities, history and anecdotes. The inspired interior design also deserves to be recognized. Savor this one!
This much I did know, I enjoyed and respected the hard work Randy had done in his important Duane Allman bio, "Skydog."
This is Randy's own entertaining memoir of spending thirty-plus years in the music business. But he's too self-depricating and not conceited enough to just make it an autobiography; he takes the time to share from an insider's point of view what aspiring songwriters can do to get their work in the hands of the right artists.
Therein lies the utlimate quest of this book, the thread woven from chapter to chapter. It starts as a simple slight, a slip of memory that in the end gives Poe no choice but to embark on a planes,trains, ferryboats and rented automobiles cross-continent trek to track down Willie Nelson and make good on a promise.
In between, legendary artists, songwriters and composers like David Amram, Bob Dylan, and some of the greatest songwriting talent of this era, make interesting cameos and keep the narrative flowing.
If you love music, musicians and how their timeless songs came to be, you will find this book a satisfying read and the author someone you'd like to get to know(if you don't already).
It's easy to enjoy one layer of the story and be totally satisfied.
But by opening-up to layers two and three, you can have a triple-spin of delight.
First, there's the tale itself -- and it's a good one. Mission impossible becomes mission accomplished when Randy tracks down Willie Nelson across Canada to pitch him a song. It's a fun, insightful excursion into how things can happen in the music world.
Then there's the story about Randy himself. It's a wonderful, separate tale of dogged determination that goes beyond his stalking the red headed stranger. Randy's story of success in the music industry is inspirational on its own. You will chuckle at his resourcefulness, humility and sweet inside stories.
Whether intended or not, Randy offers readers a nice recipe for life -- whatever field of endeavor. It's not a secret recipe. It includes knowing what you want and working hard to make it happen. Randy shares the road he's traveled in his own career and validates his theories with great tales of his own practical applications.
Finally, even though it's clearly expressed in its extended title, I was surprised and impressed by the meaningful, knowledgeable and sincere guidance offered to aspiring song writers. With a heart sensative to song writers, Randy shares real insights about "making things happen" with those who dare to dream.
The book has a happy heart, fun format, short chapters (mostly) and is easy to read. Lots of side-bar tidbits and entertaining anecdotes. Nice surprise.
Another story for another time. I will say this, though. My tale of woe would've have never happened had I read Randy Poe's (Wait! Woe. Poe. I think I've got an idea for a great song!) book, Stalking the Red Headed Stranger.
Before I share my thoughts about this great book, let me tell you about Mr. Poe.
Besides having an uber-cool first name, Randy Poe has an incredibly impressive resume. He has been president of the legendary Leiber & Stoller Music Publishing (writers of such iconic hits as Jailhouse Rock, Stand By Me, Yakety Yak, and many, many others) for 27 years. He's also the former president of the California Copyright Conference and has authored Skydog: The Duane Allman Story; Squeeze My Lemon: A Collection of Classic Blues Lyrics and the winner of the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award, Music Publishing: A Songwriter's Guide. He's also on the advisory board of the publication Sing Out!
So, as you can see, Mr. Poe knows some stuff about some songwriting stuff so you'll want to buy this book and take his words to heart.
Oh, about the book: First of all, the title is actually: Stalking the Red Headed Stranger or How to Get Your Songs into the Hands of the Artists Who Really matter Through Show Business Trickery, Underhanded Skullduggery, Shrewdness, and Chicanery, as Well as Various Less Nefarious Methods of Song Pluggin: A Practical Handbook and Historical Portrait.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As an aspiring song writer and Willie Nelson fan this book hit just the right note. I really enjoyed the story and learned a bit about what song pluggers go through in today's... Read morePublished on July 11, 2014 by angelfood
Randy Poe visited our school, and the Professor requires us to read this book. His speech is not nearly as amazing as his writing. Read morePublished on April 29, 2014 by valkerie
The way the author weaves two captivating story lines through the book while at the same time giving interesting and important information about the music industry today as well as... Read morePublished on November 14, 2013 by Coco
What a great book. As a publisher and song plugger myself, I found this book to be the best I've ever read. Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by Ron Rich / Casara Publishing
Just completed Randy Poe's "Stalking the Redheaded Stranger." Poe has now written two of my favorite books (Skydog being the other).
I highly recommend it. Read more
I've been in and out of the music business as a songwriter for a long time, so this book was of special interest to me. Read morePublished on April 10, 2012 by DavidM