Sonic Boom: The Impossible Rise of Warner Bros. Records from Hendrix to Fleetwood Mac to Madonna to Prince

Peter Ames Carlin. Holt, $29.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-2503-0156-7
Music journalist Carlin (Bruce) relays in his characteristic colorful style how music mogul Mo Ostin built Warner Bros. Records into an industry leader. In 1960, Frank Sinatra formed Reprise Records, asking his friend Ostin—who had earned Sinatra’s respect at jazz outlet Verve Records—to run the label, which Warner bought in 1963, becoming Warner/Reprise Records. Ostin succeeded at Warner, Carlin writes, because he focused on producing strong albums rather than “surefire” singles: “Something good was always going to happen because you’d just made a great record.” Between 1967 and 1970, the label signed 90 new acts—among them Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, and Alice Cooper—most of which eventually, through marketing and artist development, found commercial success. Through the ’80s and early ’90s, Ostin brought in an eclectic array of artists, including soul singer Chaka Khan and blues guitarist Bonnie Raitt—and notably, Prince and Madonna. Those looking for a gossipy tell-all won’t find one here; Ostin stuck with a formula, trusted and invested in his artists, took the music seriously, and honored the intelligence and taste of his customers. This brisk portrait of the man who made Warner Bros. into a powerhouse offers essential reading on the business and history of popular music. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 09/03/2020
Release date: 01/19/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Library Binding - 523 pages - 978-1-4328-8776-6
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-250-83840-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-7052-6929-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-7052-6928-2
Book - 978-1-250-30157-4
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