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This book is a remarkable look at one of the most dramatic, creative, and revolutionary settings in American popular culture: the Los Angeles popular music scene from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. Drawing on extraordinarily candid firsthand interviews Barney Hoskyns has conducted over more than three decades, Hotel California takes you on an intimate tour; from the SunThis book is a remarkable look at one of the most dramatic, creative, and revolutionary settings in American popular culture: the Los Angeles popular music scene from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. Drawing on extraordinarily candid firsthand interviews Barney Hoskyns has conducted over more than three decades, Hotel California takes you on an intimate tour; from the Sunset Strip to Laurel Canyon of the creative and personal lives of the legendary songwriters, superstars, and producers who made the music that everyone listened to. You'll read things you've never read before about such fascinating, complex people as Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey, Mama Cass Elliot, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, David Geffen, and many others. Packed with riveting anecdotes and sharp musical insights, Hotel California captures the amazing results of brilliant creative collaboration and the dark side of fame, wealth, and unbridled ambition. It is a story of rise and fall like none other, and you won't be able to put it down....

Title : Hotel California: The True-Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends
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ISBN : 9780470127773
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Hotel California: The True-Life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends Reviews

  • Melody
    2019-04-08 20:25

    Certainly full of interesting facts, but suffers from too many of them. The cast of characters is huge and unwieldy, with many people doing what I felt were unnecessary walk-ons. The writing was magazine-like with extra trivia shoehorned in. I enjoyed parts of it very much, especially how songs came to be written. On the whole, though, I can't recommend it to anyone but the stone Laurel Canyon junkie.

  • Jason Coleman
    2019-03-23 19:29

    I understand why it frustrates some people, but this is a decent book. The author has done a ton of research: if you were in Laurel Canyon in 1968-71 and Hoskyns didn't interview you, it probably means you are dead. He has digested the music itself and, in addition to all the milestones, champions several obscure works. His quick portraits are instinctive and convincing. And I like the trajectory he depicts: beginning with a truly vital scene that included the Byrds, Burritos, and Buffalo Springfield, the story moves from the hippie days in the Canyon, when it was about good weed and tail and you slept on someone's couch, to the hard and aloof multi-platinum era, when creativity gave way to cocaine and albums whose productions were as bloated as Cleopatra. "The world stopped looking to musicians for answers and instead started to live vicariously through their heroes' hedonism," Hoskyns writes—a withering observation.There are a couple problems here, though. First, Hoskyns has simply taken on too many stories. As if it weren't a tall enough order to treat Joni Mitchell, the Eagles, and CSN&Y (and all its offshoots) in a single book, the author also feels obliged to keep up with James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Tom Waits (one of the few native Californians here), Linda Ronstadt, Lowell George, et al, and to salvage the reps of forgotten artists like Judee Sill, Gene Clark, and Jimmy Webb. By the time Gram Parsons shows up, dragging his whole Nudie suits/funeral pyre myth along with him, the book has become hopelessly over-committed. And we haven't even gotten to Fleetwood Mac and Warren Zevon yet. On top of this there is the whole behind-the-scenes component: Doug Weston's Troubadour club down on Santa Monica Boulevard; the Reprise guys and their "Burbank sound"; David Geffen and the rise of Asylum; Irving Azoff, who stole the Eagles from Geffen and oversaw all those all those records with the horrible Boyd Elder cow skulls on them. You see what I mean, it all gets mighty complicated. The book could sorely use a family-tree diagram to sort out all of the players. (While they're at it, we could use another diagram just to sort out everyone Joni Mitchell and J.D. Souther had sex with.)There are no real hatchet jobs here; several people (Browne, Souther, Geffen, Stills, Crosby, Henley and Frey of the Eagles) are awfully hard to like, but I'm not sure that could be helped. What isn't all right is the way the music itself becomes hard to like. Which brings us to the second serious problem: the deterioration that Hoskyns traces is all too true. In the end it simply isn't a terribly vibrant scene he's writing about—it's the death of the rock'n'roll spirit and the victory of pure product. Not very heroic stuff. As one onlooker remarks in the midst of so much success, "I didn't think it was good poetry, and I didn't think it was good show business."Curious thing: while the photo gallery here is unusually good—I particularly enjoy all the shots of people lighting Glenn Frey's cigarettes—the cover art is weirdly bush league; it looks like it belongs on something like Bob Stroud's Mellow Guitar for Intermediate Players. (I made up Bob Stroud, so don't go looking.)

  • Ed
    2019-04-19 15:43

    To quote the author, this book is "an epic tale of songs and sunshine, drugs and denim, genius and greed". Barney Hoskyns takes us on the "rise and fall" trip of the Southern California singer-songwriter movement in pop music in the late 60's to the mid 70's when stadium rock, big money and coke destroyed the music I loved. Very detailed and readable history of this unique musical journey from the pioneering Byrds, Mama's & Pappa's to CSNY, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne to the Eagles. The music they made in Laurel and Topanga Canyon was sublime, laid back and beautiful but would quickly be destroyed by big money, big ego's and big drugs, coke in particular. This book is about the artists, their record labels and the powerful agents who followed the "greed is good" philosophy that became "cool" in the 1980's. Personally,I miss the beauty and simplicity of the music. Barney Hoskyns recreated that time and place in this excellent musical history.

  • Rory
    2019-03-19 16:38

    Um, this was not good. No real insight OR fun gossip, and no real sense of why these artists mattered. I love me some classic rock, and I'm interested in how folk music fed into pop to truly help define what "rock" became in the 1970s...but this was just an unfocused, boring mess.

  • Jeanette
    2019-03-26 18:37

    This has thorough research and does capture the time and place in that part of L.A. to a T.

  • Alan Taylor
    2019-04-14 21:23

    "It's not easy when you take someone who's basically right out of puberty and who becomes a millionaire responsible to no one."Barney Hoskyns's 'Hotel California' is the story of the late '60s rise of country rock and its descent into late '70s AOR; idealism into hedonism; dope smoking, laid back hippies into cokehead, egotistical control freaks. Of course, there are those who were already halfway there even at the Laurel Canyon scene beginnings - Stephen Stills comes off particularly badly - and it would be difficult to make it in music without a strong ego, but Hoskyns's story is largely a tale of innocence and experience.This is not a primer for California music; the book is almost novelistic and has a huge cast of characters and presupposes the reader's familiarity with many of them, not just the Crosby's, Stills', Nash's and Young's but also the Warren Zevon's and Lowell George's. Hoskyns takes these characters and weaves their individual threads into a complete tapestry of the times, albeit one which becomes badly torn and frayed at the end. He takes us from the idealistic Laurel Canyon community, the singer-songwriters at the Troubadour, an extended family who wrote together and played on each others albums, at time when record companies supported 'artists', to back-stabbing, suspicious superstars who tried to outdo and undermine each other at every turn. And, along the way, the casualties like Gram Parsons and Judee Sill.I enjoyed the book, and revisiting the music, immensely and would recommend it to anyone with more than a passing interest in the period. It is much more than the subtitle, "The True-life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends", would suggest and I look forward to picking up Hoskyns's "Small Town" which I hope expands on The Band's story in the same way.

  • Deanna
    2019-04-01 22:27

    I was so excited to read this book. I love this era and singer-songwriters are “my people”. However, after finishing the book, I am finding it hard to rate, since I really have mixed feelings about it.On one hand, the writing is really bad. I almost gave up after the first chapter. Once you get through the whole book, you have no doubt of the author’s credibility, but he needed a real writer to help him create a story that flowed well. It’s full of highly detailed facts that sometimes seem incongruent.On the other hand, I loved it! I don’t know whether the writing got better, or I just got used to it (and my love of the topic pushed me to continue), but I could picture myself in Laurel Canyon and at the Troubadour during that time (observing from the sidelines…ha, ha). Everyone knows the story of “sex, drugs and rock and roll”, but I didn’t quite know what was happening in this detail. This brings me back to my dilemma…too many details/facts or just the right amount?If you love the music of the 60’s and 70’s, you’ve got to read this book.

  • Sluserfive
    2019-04-17 20:20

    This book is a remarkable look at one of the most dramatic, creative, and revolutionary settings in American popular culture: the Los Angeles popular music scene from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. Drawing on extraordinarily candid firsthand interviews Barney Hoskyns has conducted over more than three decades, Hotel California takes you on an intimate tour—from the Sunset Strip to Laurel Canyon—of the creative and personal lives of the legendary songwriters, superstars, and producers who made the music that everyone listened to.

  • Suzie
    2019-03-31 18:30

    Hoskyn's book, in the edition that I have is subtitled "Singer Songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons, 1967-1976." This book covers the intersection of both subtitles. It centers on the Laurel Canyon scene in L.A. in the 60s and early 70s. There is a lot on CSNY and the Eagles, and Jackson Browne, and lesser but still fairly decent chunks on Joni Mitchell, David Geffen/Elliot Roberts/Asylum, the Troubador, The Roxy, Buffalo Springfield, and Gene Clark. Honestly, I am still not sure if Joni Mitchell gets mentioned more or less than cocaine, and I am VERY sure that Cameron Crowe is mentioned more times than Linda Rondstadt is. Rondstadt, James Taylor, Carole King, Tom Waits, Randy Newman, Bonnie Raitt, Lee Hazlewood, and the Mamas and the Papas are covered, but not in any great detail. This book was mostly helpful to me as an insight into which obscure albums from the period on Asylum I should be checking out. I also now know why Bob Boilen is so label-centric, and why Charles Manson chose Roman Polanski's house. Most of the people I'm interested in are not covered in any more detail than they are on their Wikipedia entries. I love music, I love documentaries about music, and I love watching episodes of 'Classic Albums', even for artists that I despise. Honestly this book is not that interesting. You should read this book if you are big on Browne, the Eagles, or any member of CSNY. If you really need to make a mixtape (or playlist) about Los Angeles, there is a nice appendix of period songs about L.A. If you want to look at the neat chart Hoskyns made showing how everyone in that scene was interrelated, that's also worth doing. But if you are not interested in any of the above items, skip it. Hoskyns has written another book on the L.A. music scene called Waiting for the Sun which covers from the postwar period to the nineties, and it's apparently much better than this one is. I would check that out instead.

  • Ethan Miller
    2019-03-23 20:37

    Not the deeply satisfying and more sensational reads of "Shakey" or "Long time Gone" but still an interesting read and a broader scope. For those of us who did not live through the late 60's and 70's and did not experience the music happening out of the LA area in a linear way this book puts that in perspective nicely. History has kind of judged and divided these troubadours into our sacred cow artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, the soft rock stadium sell outs like The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt and the burned out and over looked like Graham Parsons and Lowell George. This book puts them all back into the nest of Laurel Canyon and the immensely rich and creative Los Angeles hand to mouth singer songwriter scene together and shows their version of how and why they all went the path they did artistically and professionally later on. Through his interviewing and organized quotes Barney Hoskyns paints a grim picture of success and fame as the soul killer and ghost maker even (and especially) for those like Neil Young that we consider to have weathered fame and fortune well and come out the other side a great artist.The one tale that took me by surprise and I found to be the most fascinating and startling told in this book was that of David Geffen. A character so shrewd, audacious and aggressively ruthless it kind of takes your breath away. Yet he's one of those characters that seems to be highly magnetic, even after stabbing in the back, chopping off the heads and completely commodifying all those around him. A good airplane read for the avid music fan, perhaps a really good read for those that don't know much about these artists or LA cowboy rock from the early 70s.

  • Joab Jackson
    2019-03-31 21:28

    One curious thing I've noticed about cultural history is how many celebrities of an era tend to come from very closely interlocked social circles. This book shows this to be the case with an obscene number of famous and semi-famous counter-cultural west coast music makers of the late 1960s and early 1970s, who collectively dominated radio, FM radio in particular, of the day. This books draws an amazingly coherent continuum straight through The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Frank Zappa, Turtles, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills Nash And Young, Randy Newman, Ry Cooder, Van Dyke Parks, Poco, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles, Warren Zevon. They all lived in this suburban L.A. enclave, spent time hanging around the L.A. Troubadour folk music club, and many signed with David Geffen's Asylum label (that or the countercultural arty Reprise label, founded by Sinatra). In addition to mapping out the incestuous coziness of Laurel Canyon, this book also makes the case for how Geffen was instrumental in ushering in the more calculated, and less soulful, time of pop music making, with his roster of CSN, Eagles and Ronstadt making millions on each album, even as their music grew more bland to meet the increasingly rigid confines of album oriented rock radio.

  • PennsyLady (Bev)
    2019-04-08 19:28

    The time: mid 60's to late 70'sThe place: Los Angeles, California, specifically the Laurel Canyon (and beyond) music scene.Barney Hoskyns is a writer, editor and British music critic, who ushers us through a rise and fall era in the California musical scene.Behind the songs we loved, we're given an informative look at a myriad of relationships (both professional and personal).We're given snapshots of the singer/songwriters with their backgrounds, their personalities, their genius, their quirks.In an era of decadence and discovery, Hoskyns proposes that "two things had effectively killed the sixties hippie dream"One was cocaine; the other was big money.One reviewer call it "an epic tale of songs and sunshine, genius and greed. "You'll also find list of the albums referred to in the book, suggested readings and numerous interview notes.This is another Hoskyns offering that proves he has a keen eye for the musical scene.4.5������

  • Dan Pike
    2019-04-07 14:46

    I was disappointed with Barney Hoskyns' account of the lives of the primary musicians credited with establishing the Country Rock sound that was so popular in the late 1960's and throughout the 1970's...The author relies far too much on old interviews of the central characters, making Neil Young, Don Henley, Glen Frey, Jackson Browne, and many others seem flat and one-dimensional...Too much space is devoted to entertainment mogul David Geffen and his rise to power, which in Hoskyns' hands is about as exciting as a business resume...What could have been a intriguing and colorful account of a very important time in modern American music history, never captures the true essence of the time or the lives of the musicians involved...This is a fatal flaw that makes for tedious page-turning and an overall boring read.

  • Jan C
    2019-04-15 14:45

    Interesting story of the beginnings of the music of the singer-songwriters and the downfall when it became a Business. Times changed and they were deemed passe. But it goes into the heyday of The Eagles, Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, JD Souther, Jackson Browne, etc. Admittedly, drugs played a big part in the downfall. And people either came out the other side or, like Gram Parsons and Lowell George, they died

  • Marty
    2019-04-01 17:46

    Gossipy and fully deserving of a summer "beach read" even though I read it in my office on lunch hours. It kept my interest because this is the soundtrack of my high school and college years, but unfortunately the book needed some serious editing. The handful of typos I saw were distracting. On the other hand, when people talk about all the artists Joni Mitchell slept with, at least now I'll know who they were. I didn't pick it up because I knew it'd be fine literature.

  • Jim Colbert
    2019-03-21 16:26

    While I enjoyed reading the content, I was annoyed that the iBook version includes neither a functional index nor photographs. Well researched, just a ripoff that a full price book purchased for my iPad didn't have content other versions do.

  • Tanya
    2019-04-02 17:23

    I opened this book looking for information about the late singer, Judee Sill, and was drawn into Hoskyns' narrative about how many of these idealistic folkies of the 60's became big, bloated, spoiled, and egotistical cokeheads in the 70's and 80's.

  • Nikki
    2019-04-01 18:28

    I can't explain why I'm always drawn to this era of music, and am always reading about it. I think it's neat to learn the stories behind the songs. There was lots of boring stuff in there also.

  • John Norman
    2019-03-31 21:22

    About three months ago I read a group biography of Joni Mitchell, Carole King, and and Carly Simon, Girls Like Us by Sheila Weller, and really enjoyed it -- enough that I got very curious about the whole California scene, from folk/hippie rock to Warren Zevon. I started listening to music in earnest during the late 70s in the heyday of punk, and one was pretty much brainwashed into hating singer/songwriters and 70s corporate rock without distinction or nuance -- now I have enough distance that going back to that era is pretty eye-opening and of great interest. So I picked up this one at a used bookstore.The great benefit of the book is that it tells the business story along with the music story (which is also about the producers). Over about 15 years, a whole host of people traded in their ideals for money. A lot of deaths along the way.The book doesn't have much to tell about the changing roles of women, which is way, way better told in Weller's book: But you do certainly understand how everyone, seemingly, was taking advantage of everyone else, in every way: financially, sexually, chemically.I wish the book had been accompanied by a playlist highlighting the best tracks mentioned in the books. Two artists I knew before but hadn't listened to in awhile were Judee Sill and Gene Clark -- thanks to the book for reminding me about the awesome songs these artists produced.

  • Malcolm Frawley
    2019-03-24 18:23

    The generally closely-related group of bands & artists discussed in these pages were not high on my list of musical favourites. The late 60s/early 70s West Coast sound didn't appeal to me much, until Steely Dan. Interestingly Steely Dan are the least closely-related (to the dozens of others) band mentioned in this book. But it was a fascinating time & place, as the creation of heartfelt music slowly gave way to the business of making everyone money. There's a lot of money made, & then squandered, by these people. It appears that as one's disposable income grew, one's ego was taken along for the ride, & one's position on the arsehole hit parade was elevated. The combination of untold wealth & unlimited access to cocaine results in very few of these artists surviving this story as decent human beings. Quite a few don't survive at all & it might be argued that some could barely be regarded as human. Not for everyone but, for all who have an interest in the history of rock music, well worth a look.

  • Tony
    2019-04-13 14:44

    For anyone with a liking for, or even an interest in, the West Coast sound as exemplified by artists such as The Mamas and The Papas, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, The Eagles of Tom Waits this is is a compelling look at the artists, managers, agents and record labels that created the genre.Hoskyns has created a well researched history that, while not covering every aspect of what was a massive scene, is still compelling enough to keep you interested.While your own personal favourite may not have made the cut, or your own bugbear may have been given too much space, there will be enough new information for even the most obsessive fan.

  • James Doughty
    2019-03-31 15:39

    Absorbing but ultimately superficialHoskyns does a good job of weaving between the stories of the various artists and other power brokers who created the LA country rock scene of the 1970s. Unfortunately he has chosen such a large cast of characters to cover that he is unable to delve deep enough with any of them.

  • Booknerd Fraser
    2019-04-03 20:29

    The problem with too many actors is that there really isn't any focus. Lots of interesting gossip.

  • Ty Johnson
    2019-03-27 16:23

    Good read I like to read about my music heroes and heroines, kind of brings them back from the clouds and down to earth

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-07 20:42

    This book covers the rise (and fall) of so many musicians associated with LA. I learned a lot, but I also got lost in the names more than once.

  • Drew
    2019-04-09 17:36

    Not as focused as "Fire and Rain" by Browne, but a good companion book. More about the movers & shakers of the era, like David Geffen and crew.

  • Kahn
    2019-04-12 19:49

    The late 60s and early 70s were the halcyon days for the singer-songwriter in LA.David Geffen hadn't revealed himself to be the money grabbing businessman we know and love today, drugs were fresh and exciting and record labels allowed their artists time to develop and grow (for our younger readers, this was known as a 'career' - something that was meant to last longer than one series of X Factor).It should be a fascinating time in music history, making for a fascinating read.But it doesn't.Instead, what Hoskyns serves up is a superficial overview of what was supposed to be a time of deep introspection and artistic exploration. The irony, I fear, would be lost on him.Names flash by in the blink of an eye, the Troubador and it's Cheers-like cast of regulars is lauded before being pitied, the time line spins about like the Tardis on the blink and the reader finishes the book knowing not much more than when he/she started.Which is a shame.For a scene so rich in characters and events, how does Hoskyns manage to make it all sound so perfunctory? Well, in part, by not actually speaking to the main players. Simply re-hashing other people's quotes from interviews of old doesn't provide you with any real insight. Maybe Hoskyns couldn't gain access to the stars (he focuses a lot on famously reluctant interviewees Neil Young and Joni Mitchell), but there are enough other Troubadour survivors to fill several books, many no doubt only too keen to spill the dirt on those who made it when they didn't. So why not track them down?Or the widows and ex-girlfriends? Hell, there are plenty of them still knocking about. Wouldn't have been too hard to get a couple to recall days in the pool blitzed on coke and tequila.But no.Instead we get conjecture passed off as fact, a glossy overview of gritty incidents, all put together by a writer who singularly fails to engage with his subject.A cynic might suggest he stuck to the big names just to sell books...I could almost forgive all of that, though. I was about to just put it down to me not being in the right frame of mind, when I finally made it to the final few pages - pages which feature the story of David Geffen suing Neil Young.Not only does Hoskyns not get the story right (completely failing to mention the actual album that was the cause of the dispute), but he fails to put it into any wider context as to Young's personality and career.At which point you begin to question the accuracy of everything else you've trudged through and you begin to wish you'd never heard any of the albums Hoskyns glosses over.

  • John
    2019-03-23 20:36

    I loved this book. Well written, informative, lively. If you enjoy the rock scene of this era and how it came into its own, I recommend. Hoskyns is an excellent writer with a commanding prose style that is matched to solid research.

  • Tim
    2019-04-02 22:25

    It began in the late 1960s in a bohemian, artistic enclave in the canyons near Los Angeles. It spawned the singer-songwriter era of rock music and produced what would be called "the Southern California sound" and "country rock." It essentially ended in the 1970s as commercial success and millionaire lifestyles led to the disintegration of an edifice symbolized by "Hotel California."[return][return]That song title also serves befittingly as the title of Barney Hoskyns' exploration of that era. While subtitled "The True-life Adventures of Crosby, Stills, Nash, Young, Mitchell, Taylor, Browne, Ronstadt, Geffen, the Eagles, and Their Many Friends," the book is far broader. Hoskyns, a British music writer and critic, traces the history and development of what began as a mellow, acoustic and literate style of introspective music.[return][return]Hotel California begins where the music did -- in Laurel Canyon. There, musicians influenced by rock, folk and politics gathered into what would become a melting pot of styles and sounds. Among the first trends to emerge from this mélange was the singer-songwriter. According to Jackson Browne, who would be among those to epitomize the sound, when Neil Young and Joni Mitchell released their debut albums in 1968, "you started to get songs that only the songwriter could have sung -- that were part of the songwriter's personality."[return][return]But the songwriters weren't alone in developing and promoting what would broaden and eventually become known as the Southern California sound. [return][return]Balance of review at

  • R.S. Gompertz
    2019-03-30 20:47

    After the gold rush, before the deluge ...Hotel California documents the cultural shifts in the music business from the time when the New York City folk scene of the early sixties moved west to the dominance of arena rock in the late seventies. The migration from the early singer-songwriters to the mega-groups is a fascinating and wide-ranging story that is well told in this book.Hotel California the book, like the song by The Eagles, one of the groups in the story, is also a story of loss of innocence as the tumultuous sixties morph into the self-absorbed seventies. This is the saga behind the music that is still playing today.It's always risky to read about one's musical heroes as their personal stories are rarely as sweet and innocent as the art they created. I appreciated all the behind the scenes peeks at bands like Little Feat and artists like Randy Newman who don't often get top billing in discussions about this era. I exit this book still loving Joni Mitchell and my crush on Linda Ronstadt is intact, but the trajectories of CSNY and The Eagles read like a cautionary tale of how intense, and ego-driven, and drug-fueled the music business became. Behind the success and excess were some very savvy and often cutthroat agents and promoters who recognized and helped realize the potential to re-invent the music business. Mansions and swimming pools for the artists, even deeper profit pools for the record companies.Hotel California is well-written, fast paced and extensively researched. Barney Hoskyns is a seasoned rock journalist who has impeccable credentials to observe and document the California music scene.I enjoyed this book on many levels and recommend it to music fans, students of cultural history, and anyone interested in the business behind the soundtrack of the last fifty years.