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What a Wonderful World: A Lifetime of Recordings Hardcover – May 4, 1995
From Publishers Weekly
Taking the title of his entertaining memoir from a song he co-wrote for Louis Armstrong, record producer Thiele, aided by record executive and producer Golden, reminisces about his long career in the popular-music world. Having founded several private labels (the first in 1939, when he was 17) and been an executive at major recording companies, he knows almost everyone in the business, and anecdotes abound. Thiele describes battles with corporate bosses who wouldn't acknowledge such discoveries as Buddy Holly and the Crickets; the idiosyncrasies of stars he has recorded, among them Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Judy Garland, Johnny Mercer and Charlie Mingus; making a recording of Jack Kerouac reading his poetry; and numerous encounters with volatile personalities in the fast-paced record industry. He prides himself on making recordings of music he likes, not because he thinks they will be big sellers.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
About the Authors:
Bob Thiele is recognized as among the most influential record producers in the history of American music. The co-author of the beloved and enduring standard "What A Wonderful World," he has received numerous gold record awards and is still active in the music business today. A well-known record executive and producer, collaborator Bob Golden is currently the National Director of Marketing and Promotion for the Thiele-owned label, Red Baron Records.
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Top customer reviews
Record producers are middle men, riding herd on cats and, at their best, trying to reconcile the often irreconcilable interest of the artists and the music business. They don't make music, they make records and in fact, if you talk to a recording engineer, they don't make recordings either. But the producer leaves his mark on recordings, especially over a body of recordings. Jazz producers, I think with some justification, are a breed apart.
For those reasons, Thiele's book makes an interesting comparison to jazz producer Orrin Keepnews' memoir "The View from within" published nearly 10 years earlier. Both are music businessmen and consider themselves jazz lovers at heart. They share many experiences but they could not be more different in style (style of writing, and of producing). Both started small labels but Thiele went large scale corporate while Keepnews stayed in the bullpen of the big leagues. But where Thiele is wide open and effusive, Keepnews is thorny and buttoned down. Thiele rambles, Keepnews belabors. Both love the music, both experimented and pushed limits. But while Thiele had no compunction about producing a pop-jazz cash cow, Keepnews, though open-minded, was conservative and a purist at heart. Keepnews will talk to you about jazz music, Thiele will talk to you about jazz records. The difference in their style is as apparent in their recordings as it is in their books.
Finally, both have produced some of the finest recorded jazz of the day and like them or not, we have the producers to thank for much of the recorded legacy that has come down to us.