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

Fredric Dannen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 2 1991 Vintage
Copiously researched and documented, Hit Men is the highly controversial portrait of the pop music industry in all its wild, ruthless glory: the insatiable greed and ambition; the enormous egos; the fierce struggles for profits and power; the vendettas, rivalries, shakedowns, and payoffs. Chronicling the evolution of America's largest music labels from the Tin Pan Alley days to the present day, Fredric Dannen examines in depth the often venal, sometimes illegal dealings among the assorted hustlers and kingpins who rule over this multi-billion-dollar business. 

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From Amazon

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."

From Publishers Weekly

English rock group Pink Floyd was one of the hottest bands in 1980, with an LP shooting up the charts and a concert tour that sold out within hours. But the group was unable to get airplay for its latest single, at least not without engaging the services of a nascent breed of freelance promoters whose practices ushered in a new era of payola. These promotors, dubbed "indies," used illegal methods and had suspected mob connections. That the recording industry not only tolerated but embraced the indies is indicative of the questionable tactics now employed in this high-stakes arena, charges Dannen in a sharply critical study. At its center is industry leader CBS records, whose president Walter Yetnikoff is depicted as a bully of Machiavellian proportions whose style set the tone throughout the business in the '80s. Dannen, a reporter for Institutional Investor , mixes the skills of an investigative journalist with the gifts of an expert storyteller in an expose that will intrigue and appall readers with its disclosures. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Vanity Fair; author tour.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
PINK Floyd booked five concert dates at the Los Angeles Sports Arena in February 1980 and sold them out. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars July 4 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
really scary
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5.0 out of 5 stars HIT BY THE TRUTH March 22 2004
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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good July 18 2003
By A Customer
Well written and researched, but frankly, why write about men who weren't executives for the best and phenomenons?! It's my own personal bias, but I was let down there's nothing about the Beatles in here, a few pages about the Stones, nothing about the Doors. Even Michael Jackson and Elvis. I happened to eat at Le Bernardin near Clive Davis last year, and that was enough for me to want to read the Davis bits (my fellow dinner guest is kind of a rotten egomaniac, it turns out. Ahh, the double-edged sword of fame!) But even so, I'm disappointed at who and what companies the author chose to profile. But you may not be.
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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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but can a little dull in spots July 25 2002
This book offers an interesting look at the music industry from the mid-60s to the early 90's. Many of the characters are fairly unsavory. While fairly interesting for the most part some sections seemed to get a little bogged down in listing too many characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars TOUR DE FORCE!!!!!! July 23 2002
Powerful Book&even more on Point considering what Michael Jackson is going through with Sony&TOmmy Mottola.this Book takes on many things from the past,present&future.this Book details Label heads from Past Era's to Now.Very Detailed on the Ends&Outs of this trip out Business.PAYOLA which still Runs the Radio&Video Game.this Book Details the Monopoly The Business has on different things.Very Upfront&Honest.nothing though Surprised me however.alot of GLassy-Eyed Racals in that Business.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down until it was finished June 13 2002
By samchar
If you can't stop reading it, it must be good non-fiction. Well done. If you like this one, I'd recommend "Mansion on the Hill" as a companion. Same good problem: To interesting to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You Will Want to Read the Sequel March 22 2002
If you possess even a passing interest in the music industry or a general fondness for a good character story, you should run out and buy this book!
Dannen tells a story that most of the public wouldn't even imagine is possible in the modern business world. The music business is clearly not for the faint of heart, and Dannen wants to make sure that we know it. This tale of rampant ambition, greed, back-stabbing, and arrogance is gripping from the opening chapter. The real miracle is how captivating the book remains while spending so little time discussing the people we normally associate with those charateristics... THE STARS! The American music buying public could be all wrong about where the entertainment lives...
Everyone who reads the book will be blown away by the amount of research involved. You might find a few quotes or statements that you just won't believe, but you need only flip to the back and search for the page number to find a note regarding the real-life source. Dannen's research is meticulous, and we have to be grateful for all the blood, sweat, and tears that went into producing this work.
I have only one recommendation on improving the book: Illustration! The complex web of companies that own or operate other companies... who works where and when... which lawyer worked at what firm... who waged war against who and their tactics... I wanted to take out sketch paper and start charting the history. A few illustrations for the reader to reference would have made Hit Men an even more incredible read.
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