Atlantic was founded by Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson, with Jerry Wexler and Ahmet's brother Nesuhi Ertegun joining the business a few years later. 'Making Tracks', Charlie Gillett's detailed history of the Atlantic record label spans from the label's creation in 1947 to 1973/74 when the book was written and first published.
The story of Atlantic and its many subsidiary labels is indeed a fascinating one, and Gillett's book charts more than just the history of the label, but the commercialisation of blues and soul music and the birth of rock'n'roll and pop. The Drifters, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield, The Allman Brothers, Cream, Yes, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and many more, all appeared on Atlantic or one of its subsidiaries during the period covered by the book. That said, Gillett doesn't uncover much about specific artists and bands, focusing more on who wrote the songs, who produced the records, where they were recorded and how airplay and distribution was achieved to make a hit. Or not.
As a literary work 'Making Tracks' isn't great, at times it's confusing to keep up with the sheer number of artists, songwriters and label names, and due to covering so much ground some of the stories and events lack detail. However, there are still plenty of genuinely interesting and amusing interviews and anecdotes and thanks to the 'References and further reading' section and index at the back, this book is an excellent go-to guide for anyone interested not only in Atlantic Records, but the record-making process and artists of the 50's, 60's and early 70's.