An engrossing account of the commercialisation of the American music business, Fred Goodman's Mansion on the Hill deserves a place in every rock library. Focusing on a handful of major figures, Goodman, a lifelong fan of rock 'n' roll, effectively skewers the managers and bean-counters who have done so much to subvert the record industry. Looking at the careers of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and mogul David Geffen, and the crucial relationship between artist and manager, Goodman chronicles the rise and rise of rock 'n' roll, from Elvis to MTV.
Columbia's Clive Davis claims that the fees went up the moment performers started calling themselves "artists". But with the potentially rich pickings offered by the rock 'n' roll circus, it was surely only a matter of time before the vultures started hovering. Elektra Records' Paul Rothchild judges that the beginning of the end came "When David Geffen enters the Californian waters as a manager. The sharks have entered the lagoon, and the entire vibe changes. It used to be 'Let's make music, money is a by-product'. Then it becomes 'let's make money, music is a by-product'".
Goodman's eye for detail is exhaustive and thorough but he still makes this book an entertaining read, including a great selection of anecdotes--like the time Bob Dylan casually swapped a priceless Andy Warhol print for a sofa he fancied in his manager's office. --Patrick Humphries
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'A hard-nosed history of the rock-music business - the best since Charlie Gillett's seminal The Sound of the City.' Kurt Loder 'Goodman charts the business of music in America, from humble beginnings to the time when "music no longer drove the business, but the business drove the music". Goodman concentrates particularly on the rise and rise of manipulative, calculating, and utterly ruthless, billionaire music biz Svengali David Geffen, plus Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau, with cameos, too, along the way, of Bob Dylan's (in himself, legendary) erstwhile manager Albert Grossman, and perhaps most entertainingly of all, the MC5 (and their White Panther party credo, "rock and roll, dope and fucking in the streets"). Goodman posits a powerful and cogent thesis on the increasingly global music business.' Ross Fortune, Time Out 'The Mansion on the Hill will disabuse you once and for all of the notion that rock 'n' roll was ever really about changing the world. It is an absolutely essential read for any music aficionado whose curiosity is not satisfied by myth alone.' Barney Hoskyns, Mojo 'Fascinating... Goodman's entertaining evaluation of how musical dreamers learned to dance with musical schemers is both provocative and persuasive.' Ira Robbins, Rolling Stone 'Well-documented with facts and footnotes, Mr Goodman's story is essentially a sophisticated moral fable about the collision and fusion of art and commerce. If The Mansion on the Hill has a moralistic outlook, its tone is calm, its portraits scrupulously balanced. And rare for a book of this kind, the musical analysis is as astute as the business reporting.' Stephen Holden, New York Times