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Hardcover Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group Book

ISBN: 0380978520

ISBN13: 9780380978526

Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group

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Book Overview

Stan Cornyn -- a key creative force behind the rise of the Warner Music Group -- experienced the ultimate highs and lows of the company for more than thirty years. Now, get the inside scoop on top... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Fast Times at Warner High

Not only is this a wonderful and ambitious book by Cornyn & Scanlon, but it is also a great tool for young musicians because this book takes the mystery out of the record business. Cornyn has a wonderful appreciation for great stories, but he's also bright and is able to recount the stories behind the signings of artists and the whys in great detail. He also captures the energy and team effort of all of those Powers-That-Be (Were) at Warners because it was for the love of the music.The turning point in the book is when after an exhaustive 8-10 hr meeting about sales units, how to change the corporate structure Cornyn got into this car to drive home and realized that during the whole 8 - 10 hr meeting, no one mentioned music. These guys were from the streets and got into the industry because of their passion for music.The pace of the book is terrific, starts at the biginning of Warner Bros. Motion Picture Studio, builds up to the peak, then the reader is slowly let down when Cornyn starts talking numbers instead of artists.It's a fun ride thru the "inside track"....enjoy!

Barney Hoskyns in MOJO

LET ME 'fess up. This is a book I would kill to have written.It's a book I've been saying should be written for the lastten years a book, a huge book, about possibly the hippest,bravest, most nurturing record company rock'n'roll ever spawned. Now Stan Cornyn, a Warners "insider's insider" if ever there was one, has gone and done it with help from smart Rolling Stone vet Paul Scanlon. "The really important factor was that we were a younger company than Columbia," Cornyn said when I interviewed him in 1993. "We weren't structured so tightly that we couldn't bend." Bend Warner Brothers did or at least Warner Bros. and Reprise Records,under the inspiring helmsmanship of sometime Sinatra accountant Morris "Mo"Ostin and Boston disc-jock Joe Smith. For a golden half-decade, roughly 1967-1972, Warner-Reprise was the ultimate haven for the crème of the talent pouring out of (and into) the canyons of Southern California. Between 'em, Mo'n'Joe bagged the signatures of Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young,Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, Ry Cooder, Fleetwood Mac, Van Morrison, James Taylor, Frank Zappa, Little Feat, Van Dyke Parks and on and on and on. Cornyn calls that "a spurt of prescience heretofore unknown in the record business". Frankly, it's hard to argue. Warner-Reprise didn't do too badly either side of those halcyon five years, of course: from the Everlys to REM, Ostin and Smith green-lit signings that helped the WM Group shift gazillions of albums. But that heady turn-of-the-decade stretch, full of bold impulses and daring risks, is the guarantor of Warners' place in the history tomes. It's also why Exploding is as much a lament a "They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore" about record execs as it is a racy, fact-packed narrative about company politicking. Like Cornyn, the Creative Services ace who conjured up mad as for the emerging underground press ("Win a Dream Date With the Fugs", "the Pigpen Lookalike Contest"), Mo'n'Joe 'n Lenny Waronker, and others like them cared deeply about talent. And the talent,generally, cared about them. Don't get me wrong: Stan's yarn is first'n'foremost about players,workaholic Jews jockeying for position in worlds of fast deals and loaded stock options. Stan, a token Burbank goy, is as besotted by the greed and manoeuvring of the David Geffens and Bob Krasnows as he is by the talent-rich rosters of Warner-Reprise, Atlantic, Elektra and the other labels woven into the WM fold. Written in prose that's at once manic andjovial and with both eyes on a Vanity Fair serialisation Exploding contains swathes of detail about money, sales, executive toilets and, above all, who reported to whom. If you want to read about Joni'n'James and all the other ladies'n'gents of the Canyon, you may be better off elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you dig sweeping accounts of musical empires, and you loved Hit Men and The Mansion on the Hill, get your teeth into Cornyn, whose sardonically honest take on the vanity, megalomania and brilli

if you are fascinated by the business of music. . .

then you will definitely find this worth your time. I've been in the record biz for the last ten years and got an awful lot out of reading this - it tells the business story in an entertaining manner - it's about the personalities behind the music, but not as much about the hype (as much as it's possible to take hype out of anything about the entertainment industry). now with the record biz in a rough spell is a particularly timely point to put your book out - the perspective of this book (which covers about 40 years quite well) is well needed.I especially liked the focus on the business end, all the numbers, the annual growth, etc. This is the rare (only?) record biz tale that really gets to the bottom of how records get out there and in the public's hands - the nuts and bolts like NARM conventions and less emphasis on A & R stories than in most books about the biz (yet it's still a great tale of personalities).It's up there with Hit Men, definitely.

"Entertainment Weekly" March 22 issue

EDITOR'S CHOICE Long-in-the-tooth music fans may remember those flippantly hilarious print ads Warner Bros. Records and its sister label Reprise used to run in the late '60s/early '70s. You could win a dream date with one of the plug-uglies in the Fugs, enter a Pigpen look-alike contest, or score a double-LP sampler for two bucks. Those campaigns were created by Stan Cornyn, a 30-plus-year Warner vet who, with Paul Scanlon, has just written Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group (HarperCollins, $ 39.95). Beginning with movie mogul Jack Warner's decision to enter the music biz in 1958, the book presents an insider account of the company's history. As fly-on-the-wall tomes go, Exploding rates five flies, thanks to its plethora of dish about machers like Frank Sinatra, Ahmet Ertegun, and David Geffen. Cornyn's prose is laced with his trademark barbed wit, which is so penetrating it pulls you through the dull passages about warehousing and distribution. The music biz may not be what it once was, but thank God Cornyn escaped with his irreverence intact. A- --Tom Sinclair

"Exploding" Is Pure TNT of the Record Industry!

At age 44, and with an album collection of over 400 LP's, I have been an avid music fan since age 10, as a wide-eyed, curious kid in 1968. I have always wondered just how the record industry worked, besides what I have learned over the years. Stan Cornyn's new novel "Exploding", is everything I could have asked for and then some! This book is very well written, concise, and stuffed full of details only an insider such as Stan Cornyn would know. This book had me turning pages late at night as I felt like a confidant to Cornyn, in that this book was written for me personally. I am a huge fan of 70's music, and what went on during this era at Warner / Reprise was simply unbeleivable, author Stan Cornyn will take you on a rollercoaster ride of this crazy time in the Record Industry, as well as American History, and how music is the bridge that connects it all. I highly recommend this book to all serious music fans. Now, whenever I play an album with the Warner Brothers label, I see much more than "just" a label, thanks to a brillantly written book by Stan Cornyn. Well done, this was money well spent for me, I learned a lot about music and record companies, as well as being entertained and amused with each page I read. Excellent work, Mr. Cornyn!
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