The Reading Corner: Music Manager Memoirs

Bring It On Home: Peter Grant, Led Zeppelin and Beyond: The Story of Rock’s Greatest Manager – Mark Blake

Peter Grant is arguably one of the most (in)famous music managers in Rock ‘n’ Roll. He was the manager and carer of the legends that are Led Zepplin, helping them forge global stardom. But his life story was every bit as extraordinary and dramatic as the musicians he looked after. For the first time ever, the Grant family have allowed an author access to previously unseen correspondence and photographs to help build the most complete and revealing story yet of a man who was a pioneer of rock music management, but also a son, a husband and a father. Along with stories of debouched adventures across with world and his time with ‘Led Zep’ it is also the first biography to reveal the truth behind Led Zeppelin’s demise, Grant’s subsequent fall from grace amid death threats and the shadow of organised crime, and his final days as a man who shunned the excesses of the music industry in favour of his friends and family. This is a must read for any music fan and a page turner from the go. Buy it here
(Published By Constable, Little Brown Book Group – 2018)

Bumping into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Business – Danny Goldberg

Everyone knows of them, Nirvana, a legendary band of guys, that also included Foo Fighters Dave Grohl, that led the grunge era in music. If you weren’t aware of that then you at least knew of the pained suicide of their lead singer Kurt Cobain and his struggle with drugs, that ultimately, led to his early demise to join the ’30 Club’ – a list of musical genius’s that never made it to 30. Well, Danny Goldberg was the man who saw that rough talent and helped manage the band and Cobain to the stardom they “never really wanted” creating one of the most iconic bands of a generation.
But that isn’t all he did. Danny Goldberg wrote his first music review for Billboard, he couldn’t have imagined that he would go on to enjoy one of the most varied and influential careers in the world of rock and roll. He went on to do PR for Led Zeppelin and KISS, launched Stevie Nicks’ solo career and managed Bonnie Raitt’s when she won four Grammys for Nick of Time. He later went on to run ran Atlantic Records, Mercury Records and Warner Bros Records. Danny takes us in his hand and guides us through the world of Rock & Roll in its hay-day, with stories of an industry that, on a good day, was the most cynical and chaotic of places to work. It was an industry that was obsessed with drugs and was a mixture of art and commerce, idealism and selfishness. Danny’s love for the music is obvious, his book a love letter to the music he loves as well as tales of the musical genius he happened to bump into along the way. Buy it here.
(Published By Penguin – 2010)

They Call Me Supermensch –
Shep Gordon

The nice guy of the entertainment business. In the course of his legendary career as a manager, agent, and producer, Shep Gordon has worked with, and befriended, some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. From his first client Alice Cooper to Bette Davis, Raquel Welch to Groucho Marx, Blondie to Jimi Hendrix, Sylvester Stallone to Salvador Dali, Luther Vandross to Teddy Pendergrass. He is also credited with inventing the “celebrity chef,” that we all know and love and has worked with Nobu Matsuhisa, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Roger Vergé, and many others, including the Dalai Lama. Gordon’s memoir is a superbly engaging read, he recalls his life, from his humble beginnings as a “shy, no self-esteem, Jewish nebbisher kid with no ambition” in Oceanside, Long Island, to his unexpected rise as one of the most influential and respected personalities in show business, revered for his kindness, charisma—and fondness for a good time. He would lead you to believe his life and career were and accident, which from what we have read is all completely true. From hippie drug dealer in LA, infatuated with Janis Joplin to one of the most powerful men in entertainment, if you haven’t heard of Shep Gordon, you’re about a fall in love. Buy it here.
(Published By HarperCollins – 2018)

BIG LIFE – Jazz Summers

If you want the unbiased truth of being a music manager then this book is for you. At points in this book you even feel sorry for Jazz on his road to becoming a successful music manager. You’re transported from the monsoon drains of sixties to the smoke-filled folk clubs of seventies New York. In short, he was a soldier. Then form a band. Smoked dope in Malacca. Went to meetings in the coke-sprinkled boardrooms of eighties Los Angeles. Manage Wham! Drank wine (a lot of it). Wore baggy suits. Ate at uptight banquets in pre-Tiananmen Beijing. Heard Punk’s first screeching notes. Drank heavily. Wore make-up. Managed Yazz. Married Yazz. Met Roy Orbison. Managed SnowPatrol. Nearly signed Puff Daddy. All in all Jazz Summers had nothing sort of an interesting life, full of major highs and major lows. This is the life of a music manager uncloaked, unfiltered and at points you find yourself asking “why don’t you just give up already?” but his unwillingness to do so meant he went on to have a career to be proud of and a company that still exists today, even after his death. Buy it here.
(Published By Quartet Books – 2013)

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