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Howling at the Moon: The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in an Age of Excess | [Walter Yetnikoff, David Ritz]

Howling at the Moon: The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in an Age of Excess

During the 1970s and '80s the music business was dominated by a few major labels and artists such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand and James Taylor. They were all under contract to CBS Records, making it the most successful label of the era. And, as the company's president, Walter Yetnikoff was the ruling monarch. He was also the most flamboyant, volatile, and controversial personality to emerge from an industry and era defined by sex, drugs, and debauchery.

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Publisher's Summary

During the 1970s and '80s, the music business was dominated by a few major labels and artists such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand and James Taylor. They were all under contract to CBS Records, making it the most successful label of the era. And, as the company's president, Walter Yetnikoff was the ruling monarch. He was also the most flamboyant, volatile, and controversial personality to emerge from an industry and era defined by sex, drugs, and debauchery.

Having risen from working-class Brooklyn and the legal department of CBS, Yetnikoff, who freely admitted to being tone deaf, was an unlikely label head. But he had an uncanny knack for fostering talent and intimidating rivals with his appalling behavior, usually fueled by an explosive combination of cocaine and alcohol. His tantrums, appetite for mind-altering substances, and sexual exploits were legendary. In Japan to meet the Sony executives who acquired CBS during his tenure, Walter was assigned a minder who confined him to a hotel room. True to form, Walter raided the minibar, got blasted, and seeing no other means of escape, opened a hotel window and vented his rage by literally howling at the moon.

In Howling at the Moon, Yetnikoff traces his journey as he climbed the corporate mountain, danced on its summit, and crashed and burned. Reflecting on the sinister cycle that left his career in tatters and CBS flush with cash, Yetnikoff emerges with a hunger for redemption and a new reverence for his working-class Brooklyn roots.

©2004 Walter Yetnikoff with David Ritz; (P)2004 Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This memoir by Yetnikoff, the former president of CBS Records, may lead to hipsters changing the phrase 'partying like a rock star' to 'partying like the president of a record label.'" (Publishers Weekly)

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    Francesco FitzroyAustralia 09-23-04
    Francesco FitzroyAustralia 09-23-04
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    "Bring back the age of Excess"

    They say that internet downloads are killing the music industry! i say boring industry exec's are killing the music industry?I'll give you an example? I recently called an A&R person in a major record company , and said are you going to check out blah blah, "oh no i dont go out anymore, I just stay at home and watch a dvd and go to bed" was the answer?this is what the industry is made of today?boring idiots. bring back the YETNIKOFF style exec. A MUST READ FOR ALL THOSE BORING IDIOTS WHO WORK IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. you might actually learn something and generate a profit for both your company and artists.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Phil Newcastle, Australia 01-24-13
    Phil Newcastle, Australia 01-24-13 Listener Since 2010
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    "Wicked story about a Wicked man!"

    I dont tend to usually go for abridged versions though not sure how much more of this I could take. He has lived this life most people could only dream of. At times seem to dismiss himself as not deserving though he worked tirelessly and it took its toll on marriages, bank accounts and his health. Check it out for sure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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