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Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business
Stock image - cover art may vary
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0679730613
ISBN-13: 9780679730613
Publisher: Vintage
Release Date: July, 1991
Length: 432 Pages
Weight: 14.4 ounces
Dimensions: 8 X 5.3 X 1 inches
Language: English

Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business

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A nauseatingly honest and therefore controversial expose of the base beings that inhabit the higher levels of the music industry. Filled with horror stories that will confirm your worst suspicions about the toxicity of what my friends and I call "Planet CD Wood."

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Customer Reviews


This book shook the music world when it was first released, which was when I first read it. I just recently picked it up and read it again, and it was still an equally mind-blowing experience.
What was with those guys? Why did they feel the need to rip off every artist to the maximum possible extent? Couldn't they still have been just as powerful, just as legendary, and very nearly as wealthy, if they'd paid the artists the few pennies per record or airplay that would have been their rightful compensation for creating the music that rocked the world and brought billions of international dollars into American coffers?
Whatever happened to Dennis Waitley and his "win-win" scenarios? You don't hear much about him any more. Perhaps his concepts were too anathematic to the American mindset. Whatever happened to the concepts of "noblesse oblige," and "from those who have received much, much is expected"? Whatever happened to "a rising tide lifts all boats"? Whatever happened to the Magna Carta, the Renaissance, the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and all the other movements that raised the world to the dizzying heights it once achieved?
I guess they've been replaced by that all-American concept, "whoever dies with the most toys wins."
As we watch the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and rising fuel prices cause the American dream to recede into the sunset while our beloved representative republic slips back toward medieval fuedalism; as we watch American corporations, once looted from without by corporate raiders, now being looted from within by greedy and/or incompetent executives with golden parachutes while their stockholders, employees and retirees have their lives decimated, we can at least hope that what we do here will stand forever as an example to the rest of the world of how NOT to live.
Osama bin Laden, in his famous "letter to America," called us the worst civilization the world has ever seen, wallowing in decadence and depravity and calling it the height of individual freedom. Could he have been right?
This book gives the reader a valuable opportunity to take a close-up look at one of the foundation pillars of our economy and our culture, and witness the process by which America is rotting from within.
  So, we've got the Mob to "thank" for Culture Club?

This is an extremely well-researched and well-documented look into the popular music business from the days of Alan Freed to the end of Walter Yentikoff's reign at Sony/Columbia. It helps that the subject is so darn entertaining and seedier than you probably would have guessed...otherwise this might have been sluggish reading, but it actually moves rather quickly. Of course the end result is to frighten anyone who might actually believe that pop hits on the radio have much to do with the actual songs themselves. The narrative ends in the early 90's and if I could rate this book 4.5 stars instead of five, I would...because it could use an update chapter in its next edition. Other than that, I'd recommend it heartily to anyone who cares about why their favorite new song never gets played on the radio.

As an experienced music industry professional with over 15 years of experience, I can tell you that this is the unofficial history book of the music industry that can be used to expose and introduce the truth about the origins and operations of the music business.

It's insightful, relevant, and shocking.

Buy it today.

  Terrific reading as both information and entertainment.

A frightening and enthralling look at the history of the modern music business. Dannen creates a mosaic of life in the industry by tracing the histories and careers of some of its most colorful characters. He looks at the rise and fall of Walter Yetnikoff, the education of Dick Asher, David Geffen's success with Asylum Records-- to name just a few of the people and issues _Hit Men_ tackles.

This is really a warts and all treatment with wickedly funny asides and adult language quotations from the people involved. It made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion and I still came away feeling as though I understood a whole lot more about how this industry really functions.

High Recommend.


Dannen hit such a home run with this thoroughly researched book that he was honored from within the music industry (Ralph J. Gleason award) and without (national bestseller list). The topic here is unwholesome practices within the music industry, but the most passionate subtopic of Dannen's research is the system of independent promotion through which singles are "added" to radio station playlists and then moved through the charts. I almost think HIT MEN should be considered a must read for anyone in the music industry: artist, manager, songwriter or publisher. Since Dannen reports his quotes exactly as they come down, you will not find the dialog exactly suitable for Sunday School. The second edition covers events up to and including 1991 and contains a follow-up chapter not in the original 1990 hardback edition. Now, some years after its original introduction, HIT MEN is still gripping and relevant. Aspects of the described litigation still tend to resurface from time to time, and many of the key players identified and profiled by Dannen are still suited up and swinging on the music-business diamond. Ron Simpson, School of Music, Brigham Young University. Author of MASTERING THE MUSIC BUSINESS.