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Mr Music Man: The Life and Times of a Music Promoter [Paperback]

Mervyn Conn , Andrew Crofts
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 Nov 2010
By the age of 21 Mervyn was running his own drinking club in Soho's Gerrard Street, frequented by a young crowd of soon to be pop stars, actors, business tycoons and criminals. After joining forces with the legendary agent, Joe Collins, (father of Joan and Jackie, partner of Lew and Lesley Grade), he staged the first Beatles Christmas shows and went on to work with virtually all the pop and rock and roll acts of the time, (he was running the tour where P.J. Proby infamously split his trousers), before spotting the potential of bringing country and western music to England and setting up the giant Country and Western Festival at Wembley. For many years Mervyn's festival brought all the great country names to Europe including Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Crystal Gayle etc. He was particularly friendly with Johnny Cash. He also staged West End shows and brought the Red Army to London during the Cold War, (along with many other Eastern European shows), and staged Marlene Dietrich's farewell tour. One of the few English showmen to have dined at Ten Downing Street, The White House and the Kremlin, Mervyn, now 75 years old, recently fathered a new baby and is planning a new show for the West End with Andrew Lloyd Webber. His story spans modern show business, from the age-old traditions of Variety through the revolution caused by the arrival of television and pop music.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tonto Books (11 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907183183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907183188
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


To say that 'Music Man' is an entertaining book with enlightening insights into the world of entertainment would be an understatement.
Mervyn Conn's amazing life story will enthral the reader as it opens the curtains on many of the behind-the-scenes happenings in the roller coaster world of showbusiness.
The story straddles many decades from Mervyn's childhood in war-torn Britain to his triumphs in making the International Festival of Country Music at Wembley into the biggest Country music event in the world.
His life is a potpourri of promoting almost all genres of music from Rock to Classical to Country and beyond.
The sometimes manic mannerisms of a few entertainers are exposed here. This is a warts-and-all account of the side of showbusiness that most fans don't see.
Mervyn Conn's story alternates from humorous tales to frank accounts of some the most high-risk adventures that he took as a music impresario for over six decades.
From the Kremlin to 10 Downing Street to the White House to Wembley, Mervyn takes the reader with him on his exciting and, sometimes dangerous, showbusiness odyssey every step of the way. --Tom Gilmore (Journalist and Broadcaster) The Tuam Herald Newspaper, Galway. Ireland and Galway Bay Fm Radio.

`Mervyn Conn is the legend you've never heard of; the missing link between The Beatles and Johnny Cash, a one-off without whom the history of popular music would not have been ... well ... so popular.'
--Steve Sutherland, NME

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good read. 27 Nov 2010
I first heard of Mervynn Conn when i attended the Country Music festivals at Wembley many years ago. He has almost certainly done more for Country Music in Europe than anyone else. Country music was not the only thing he promoted......the Beatles.....the Red Army Ensemble.......Chinese Acrobats.....panotimimes.......rock and pop tours of many of the great names of popular music. He has plenty of names to drop ministers, presidents, royalty, the criminals and well as showbiz. The book tells his story from childhood and the love and respect he had for his parents, his family life, his inability to resist temptation when away from home to how he made his fortune firstly in the clothing industry and then in showbiz. He is a self made man. he has taken risks and reaped the rewards. He has clearly gained much pleasure from seeing people enjoying his shows. It is a good read but I feel the book skims the surface and there is much more that could be said about his dealings and his life (for example the effect on his life of being wrongfully convicted of something he did not do). Sometimes names are mentioned but little else. However, the book is never boring and always entertains and there are some great moments (Thatcher, The Krays, PJ Proby, Jerry lee Lewis, Johnny Cash amongst them). For me, with a biography or autobiogrpahy, I look to be entertained and feel I know more about the person than I did before. This book passes both those tests for me. The one thing that strikes me about Mervynn Conn is he seems to me to be a man of integrity and a man of his word. He certainly has the trust of some very good people. He is one of the great impresarios of our time or any time and it is a shame he has not been properly recognised for his achievements when so many less deserving have been. Having read this book, he is someone, I would like to have met and would have been happy to deal with. Recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a person of cosequence 26 Feb 2011
By quaggi
An excellent autobiography by someone who deserves to be better known due to his influence on entertainment generally and Country Music in particular. A unique character whose innovations are still influencing entertainment today.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mr mervyn conn,your o k 9 Dec 2010
By tiggee
I fouund this book quit interesting,especally the old stuff about east london.I must admit i am a relation to
mr conn,a side of my family i dont really no about
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Mister Music Man: Mervyn Conn 7 Dec 2010
By Clive J. Payne - Published on
Verified Purchase
I first met Mervyn Conn during the 1970's when I was a compère/co-promotor in England for Lizander Promotions London and who at the time owned the 2 I's Coffee Bar just around the corner from his offices in Gerrard Street. We met several times during the 1980's when I promoted country music in Switzerland. I booked artists via Mervyn including: Bobby Bare, Joe Sun, Jim Glaser, Johnny Russell, Lonnie Donegan, Melba Montgomery, Ronnie Phrophet, Stella Parton, Vernon Oxford and the greatest CM artist of them all JOHNNY CASH and the Carter Sisters. As a result of meeting Mervyn I was invited several times to The Grand Ole Opry, Nashville and introduced to the 'original legends' of country music. It was really great reading your biography Mervyn as it brought back many memories for me of those long ago and almost forgotten days! It was also a pleasure working with you as you were always a man of your word and English gentleman. I look forward to when you visit your daughter Scarlett in Geneva as maybe you'll find time to meet with me again. You were my inspiration and I'm sure to many many others! Thanks Mervyn. Sincerely Clive
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