If you are old enough to remember when vinyl records were the only choice to buy music, you, like me, will love the behind-the-scenes rock music production stories included in the excellent Sonic Boom.
In 1958, Jack Warner started Warner Bros Records to cash in on the profits that the soundtracks from his movies were making other record companies. His one rule?
“No rock ‘n’ roll on my label.”
That was to change less than ten years later as the label changed the trajectory of music by embracing music as an art form and not a business.
“I’m trying to stop record companies from using artists, and start artists using record companies.”
I didn’t realize how transformative Warner Bros Records was—not only to music but pop culture itself. Think of a pop or rock icon and more likely than not they worked with WBR sometime in the past. From Frank Sinatra, Joni Mitchell, The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Prince, to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, every music style is included.
However, my personal favorite portion of the book was the description of how management changed over the years. Regardless of the loose dress code and extensive drug use, WBR was by the 1990s a turbulent cauldron of office politics and unreserved backstabbing. After all, running a multimillion dollar company was a zero sum game since only one person could be in charge.
If you like music, you need to read Sonic Boom. 5 stars and a favorite!
Thanks to Henry Holt & Company and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.