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What'd I Say?: The Atlantic Story [Hardcover]

Ahmet Ertegun
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 55.00
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Book Description

June 12 2001
The official behind-the-scenes story of the meteroic rise of Rock and Roll by the people who made it history.

Product Details

Product Description

From Library Journal

Founded in 1947 by Ertegun, the son of a Turkish diplomat, Atlantic Records is one of the most successful and respected major record companies. Early hits by black artists such as Ray Charles and Clyde McPhatter established the label as an incubator of R&B. (In fact, it was Ertegun's partner, Jerry Wexler, who coined the phrase rhythm & blues). As the 1970s dawned, the label famous for its black artists filled its roster with quintessential white bands like Yes, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Led Zeppelin. In this oral history, Ertegun's anecdotes are liberally supplemented by comments from scores of associates and Atlantic artists. Some of the most respected names in music journalism, including Robert Christgau and Greil Marcus, have also contributed eight essays covering different time periods and aspects of Atlantic. More than 1200 color and black-and-white photographs make this a fun book to leaf through. Big, glossy, and entertaining, "What'd I Say" is a coffee-table tribute to a rare species: a record company that respects its artists and treats them fairly. For a more comprehensive biography of Ertegun, see Dorothy Wade and Justine Picardie's Music Man (LJ 3/15/90). Lloyd Jansen, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

With a roster including Ray Charles, the Drifters, and Aretha Franklin, Atlantic Records pretty much was rhythm and blues in the '50s and '60s. And label founder Ertegun was Atlantic Records. This lavish tome tells the hugely influential record company's story in 1,000 evocative photographs, augmented by the oral-history-style reminiscence of Ertegun and musicians he discovered or helped make stars. Atlantic did well in other genres besides R & B, recording some of jazz legends John Coltrane's and Charles Mingus' best work and the influential rock supergroups Cream and Led Zeppelin. By the '70s, though, its glory years were over, and the likes of Foreigner, ABBA, and, more recently, Hootie and the Blowfish became the label's mainstays. So the book resembles those CD boxed sets tracing the trajectory of a career: just as the first two or three discs get repeated play, whereas the last gets filed after a cursory scan, the second half of this volume pales before the glories that precede it. It records a remarkable half century of music, nevertheless. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one big beautiful book Jan. 11 2002
First of all, this book is huge and weighs a ton. That is appropriate for the subject matter, because Atlantic Records is a huge presence in the history of rhythm & blues and rock. Chock full of pictures and commentary, this presents a totally fascinating portrait of Ahmet Ertegun and his record company, including all the great artists associated with Atlantic. From the early days with artists such as Ruth Brown and the Clovers, through the early career of Ray Charles, and on to Otis Redding, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett and the incomparable Aretha Franklin, Atlantic Records made its reputation in R&B. Less well known, but hardly less influential, is its presence in the jazz world, thanks to Ahmet's brother Nesuhi. In the late '60's Atlantic expanded into the field of rock with Cream, Led Zeppelin, and, later, the Rolling Stones, and was a major player in art/progressive rock by signing such bands as King Crimson, Yes, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
They could have ended the book in the early '70's, in my opinion, because after corporate buyouts and sellouts, Atlantic's imprint became less distinctive. Face it, Foreigner could have been on any label and it wouldn't have made much difference. Later forays into country music seem very un-Atlantic, to say the least. But during its heyday, there was no label putting out as high a level of quality music as Atlantic records, and this is its fascinating story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indispensable! Feb. 1 2002
I had the supreme honor of working for Atlnatic Records as a promotions Manager in the '70s, so I saw first-hand a lot of what's in this book. I saw it through the label, the artists, radio and retail. And lemme tell you, the book is spot-on accurate. The two words that best describe Atlantic Records are sophisticated and engaged, and those characteristics come top-down from the founder, Mr. Ahmet Ertegun, and through all of his management.
While the book is an amazing account of Atlantic Records, what is more is the indispensable perspective on the music business at large. For anyone even remotely interested in the history of this industry and its artists, this book is vital.
The cost is a bit pricey, but the old saying you get what you pay for has never been more true. The oversized book features fantastic photography and superb quality. I just wish it would have had included a 30-song sampler of the history of Atlantic artists.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally.......It was worth the wait! Aug. 25 2001
By David
Ahmet Ertegun has to be one of the true legends of popular music in the 20th century. When I first heard that Ertegun had penned the story of Atlantic Records 2 to 3 years ago, I immediately searched it out. But for some reason publication was delayed over two years. Alas it's here. This huge book has everything. First hand oral historical accounts on the birth of R&B with Ray Charles, Jerry Wexler, Otis, the Drifters through the evolution of 60's Rock with Cream, the Stones and Zepplin. The photos are spectatcular and Ertegun's own accounts insightful.....A brilliant man with impeccable taste. He may be the hippest son of a Turkish ambassador to ever found a legendary record label. While I personally can do without the more recent sections dealing with 80's and 90's music (how can you include Jewel with the likes of Ray Charles and Ben E. King?), this book is so huge (almost 10 lbs.) that the majority of the book far exceeds all expectations. At a time when lightweight books by airheaded groupies who played abolutely no role in the creation of a musical revolution somehow make their way into publication, this book stands alone as a classic account of a time when the musicians really were artist who paid their dues, song writers were stylists, and goood taste and genuine talent not only mattered, but actually sold records. If you are a true music fan, this book is the next best thing to being present at the birth of the R&B. One more suggestion, get the Atlantic R&B box set. If I were allowed to keep but one body of work from my music collection, this would be the one. It is the Rosetta Stone of modern R&B.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Have!! July 31 2002
Ahmet Ertegun what a Important figure in the Music Business? the Guy truly knew His stuff at making a label Important.just His Association with Ray Charles&Aretha Franklin alone speaks volumes to me.He had a strong Idea of what He wanted&He got it.in it's Hey Day Atlantic Records was as Important as Any Other Label then or Now.the one thing you get after reading this Book&Hearing the Atlantic Box Set is that Ahmet Ertegun could vibe with anyone.a Must Have.
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