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Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay: The dodgy business of popular music Hardcover – 26 Jun 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Unbound (26 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1783520310
  • ISBN-13: 978-1783520312
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.6 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 375,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The world's highest-grade rock'n'roll gossip . . . Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay is a sharp, fast-moving and beautifully written popular history spanning three centuries of wheeling, dealing, horse-trading, cigar-chewing enterprise and skullduggery" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The highly-acclaimed one-volume insider history of the whole damn music business

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Superb witty acerbic history of music publishing - the bit of the industry which - up to now, anyway - has made the money. Starting waaay back, when the route to big money was flogging the sheet music, Mr N-B explores the various tricks employed to make your song sell, including bribing famous artistes to sing it; and the various tricks of the publishers to keep the money, including buying songs outright from impoverished and innocent composers, or demanding a share of the rights even when they couldn't write a note themselves. Al Jolson was credited as co-composer of hundreds of songs, despite not being able to write a note; and I remember a Dolly Parton interview in which she said she would have loved Elvis to sing I Will Always Love You (he wanted to), but she would not sign away 30% of the publishing, which was the so-called "Elvis tax" charged on every song he recorded. And, of course, the '60s were particularly renowned for the slaughter of the innocents as the Beatles, the Stones, and many others got ripped off in publishing deals because they and their managers had no idea how things worked.

The book is a fascinating tale of the rise of publishing companies in England and the US, their various interconnections, the multitude of tricks they employed to promote themselves and dish their rivals, the creation of the rival ASCAP and BMI companies to capitalise on royalty payments for broadcasts, with the arrival of records and radio, and the ill-treatment of those who actually made the music on which it all depended. If you have any interest in the development of popular music, you should read it.

And it is very very readable, as Mr N-B's books always are: though packed with information, it is no dry weighty tome, but is a jolly rollicking read.
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Format: Hardcover
Fascinating, exhaustive, clear-eyed, rivetting.

I have recently finished reading Simon Napier-Bell's marvelous romp through the evolution of the music business, how business shaped the choices we make, and those choices the business.. and society. He reveals the undercurrents which formed the industry - such as (for example) the monopolization of the music publishing world from the get-go by jews and how they were not interested in the sexual orientation or colour of who produced the goods for them, thus creating an industry far more tolerant and inclusive than any other.. and thus taste and role models are allowed to form. Significant social evolution under the patronage of simple avarice. Wonderful! (like the man himself :p) Buy it and be clear eyed.
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Format: Hardcover
The music moguls will hate this book. Simon N-B tells it straight, as always. We have all been shafted for years, and secretly we've all known it and gone along with the stiffing because we love the music more than we hate the industry that robs us. Here is the book that shames the card sharps who have exploited the musicians and the punters with equal disdain and tenacity since the early days of recording music. Simon takes the reader on a fascinating, informative, amusing and deeply revealing magical mystery tour of the whole damn shebang that is the making, production and selling of music. I found his final chapter on where we are now and where we are heading particularly riveting. The global corporations that control the music business are sleepwalking into extinction and Simon explains why. The future is electric and digital and now. Simon is one of the great living experts in the world of music. His joyful enthusiasm for all things witty and quirky and hilarious spills into every section of the book and while it is not as laugh-out-loud funny as his two autobiographical books, it is still full of his infectious genius and unbeatable charm. A must read for anyone interested in the world of music making in the Twenty First century.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a seriously great book and really should be required reading for anyone and everyone who wants to know a little about the 'The Soundtrack To Their Life'

In a world where pluggery is king maybe I should stress this is a genuine review !
As a music business contemporary of SNB although our paths , business or social very rarely crossed, It seems guess my knowledge of 'the business' from the 60's onwards is about the same as his and most of those mentioned are well known to me.

Actually also starting in the sixties I became business partners with some well established Swedes (publishers/record company owners) and through them was lucky enough to meet, and sometimes work with many of those mentioned in the earlier-pre 60's - sections of the book.
So I know enough to recommend it unreservedly.

As with SNB's earlier books the style is easy and very readable. There's a huge amount of history and background in here and so on occasions it careers on a bit relentlessly.... but invariably that's setting the scene or providing the background to a another significantly happy step in the industry of human happiness.

I do take issue with his very clear statement that the first club DJ's were in NY in '64/'65 -Sybils and the Sanctuary....Terry Noel and Francis Grasso.
Come on Simon, lets go back to very early sixties. What about the Twisted Wheel, Millionaire and many more in Manchester, Sheffield, London or Club Voom Voom in St Tropez or Johns in Rome.

Just around the corner from De Hems pub in Macclesfield Street just off London 's Shaftsbury Avenue where the entire music industry (and various Kray brothers) would liquid lunch daily there were shops selling twin decks as far back as 1962.
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