3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2012
TRUE NORTH: A LIFE IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS
by Bernie Finkelstein
McClelland & Stewart
Right from childhood Bernie Finkelstein was his own man with a love of music and a romantic's curiosity about the people who made it. Though he spent his formative years in Britain his heart was back in North America with Rockabilly, Blues and the emerging genre of Rock and Roll. There was never any question about what he would do when he grew up; he was going to be in the music business. The fact that there was no music business in Canada at the time was no impediment to his goal. He made it up as he went along.
The story begins with the early years of Folk at it's most innocent and follows along as things get political and then morph into a psychedelic rejection of the Establishment. People were lost along the way but Finkelstein managed to make it through, somehow recognizing when it was all getting a little too 'out there'. Despite whatever was going on around him, and he did participate, he manages to maintain a focus on what really mattered most: the music.
Finkelstein broke ground and forged a path for his artists who themselves were groundbreakers. He had a natural gift for recognizing talent and then fought to get others to see what he saw -- hear what he heard. And he gave back to the business that he'd help create, devoting much of his time to the industry organizations that would work to protect the ground that had been gained. His efforts have been recognized with numerous awards over the years.
Finkelstein tells his tale with humility, which according to those who know him, is not the first quality that comes to mind when they think of him. He's quick to recognize the contributions of others and downplay his own efforts with a 'right place, right time' kind of off-handedness. This is the story of a life well lived and enjoyed
on September 28, 2013
All right if you are at all interested in the early days of the Canadian music business and have an interest in life in Toronto's Yorkville Village during the 60's then this is the book for you. Finkelstein built a company from nothing during a time when most Canadians weren't interested in music from Canada. And he just didn't do it in Canada. He had several international hits, including songs from Bruce Cockburn, Wondering Where The Lions Are and If I Had A Rocket Launcher and Dan Hill's Sometimes When We Touch as well as hits from Rough Trade and Murray McLauchlan.
This book gives you an inside look at what had to be done to get things done in Canada and around the world from 1960 through to the 2000's.
A great read. Pick it up.
on November 4, 2012
The book is entertaining, but Bernie, a personal friend, was given erroneous data as regards my supposedly throwing a garbage can through someone's window. It was a mentally disturbed person who was bothering another friend in my quarters back of the Cosmic Visitor shop on Yorkville, and after I asked him to leave he threw a garbage can through the window of my store. Page 104. The rest of the info Bernie reports is close enough to not be concerned.
I think anyone interested in how music business has worked will enjoy the book.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2012
I wasn't a fan of this book. I can't exactly say why. Maybe it was the writing style. Maybe it was the fact that all of the Canadian acts that Bernie Finkelstien was talking about were bands that I had zero interest in, or that I had never heard about. But whatever the reason this book was a slog to get through.
While I have no doubt in my mind that Mr. Finkelstien was instrumental in the Canadian music biz (after all they don't just hand out the Order of Canada to anyone) I couldn't wait for this book to be over. And when you don't have any interest in the story or the characters or anything that the author is talking about, trust me when I tell you that getting through this book was tough.
If you have any interest in any Canadians bands that hit the scene after the 1980ies, pass on this book. But if you're interested in the burgeoning Canadian music business back in the 60ies, then give it a read.