Going Platinum: Kiss, Donna Summer, and How Neil Bogart Built Casablanca Records

Brett Ermilio and Josh Levine. Globe Pequot, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7627-9133-0
This entirely inessential biography of record executive Neil Bogart is an exercise in familial apologia slathered in clichés and near-hagiography. Bogart, born Neil Bogatz in "humble" circumstances, was abused by his mother, harnessing his fanatical drive to later succeed in show business. He went from a stint as a teen Borscht Belt singer to running a small record label, where his gift for picking out the ‘hook' in a pop tune sent him on a giddy ride through the excesses of the music business: the shoddy business practices and the staggering drug abuse that fueled Casablanca Records' promotional efforts and turned KISS, Donna Summer and the Village People into 1970s stars. The biography does justly credit the "king of Bubblegum Pop" as the guiding spirit behind the dubious musical achievements of the 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Frosted Flakes, J.C.W. Ratfinks and other long-forgotten bands that provided an up-tempo, cheerful alternative to the heavier countercultural messages of 1960s rock icons such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Ermilio, Bogart's nephew, writes a spottily penned account of his roguish uncle's life. His collaborator Levine fails to excise the many passages that sound like three generations bickering over how to see a man who lived large and selfishly before dying young, his music empire in a disco-driven shambles. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/2015
Release date: 11/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4930-1627-3
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-4930-0937-4
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