Cover image for Music man : Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records, and the triumph of rock 'n' roll
Music man : Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records, and the triumph of rock 'n' roll
Wade, Dorothy.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W.W. Norton, [1990]

Physical Description:
303 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML429.E72 W32 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
ML429.E72 W32 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This history of Atlantic Records and the spectacular career of the man who founded it, covers his love of jazz, the business deals, the parties, the drugs, the feuds and the many famous performers that Ertegun brought to greatness (Mick Jagger, Aretha Franklin, Phil Collins and the Drifters).

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

This may look like a biography of the only founder of Atlantic Records who's still with the company, but it's actually an anecdotal romp through the 40 years of the pop-record biz that the label's survived. Son of an early ambassador to the U.S. from Kemal's Turkey, Ertegun is an interesting guy, but so are former Atlantic associates Herb and Miriam Abramson, Jerry Wexler, and Tom Dowd. So are his counterparts at other labels, especially the outrageous Syd Nathan of Cincinnati's legendary King Records (the country-music outfit that discovered James Brown). So are the Atlantic singing and songwriting stars--Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, the Drifters, Leiber and Stoller (the Rodgers and Hart of rock 'n' roll), etc., and later Led Zeppelin, Foreigner, the Rolling Stones, etc.--who also walk through this book. In fact, Ahmet's pretty constantly being upstaged. Rock history buffs won't mind that situation at all. To be indexed. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Picardie and Wade ( Heroin: Chasing the Dragon ) here recount the career of Ahmet Ertegun, rock 'n' roll mogul and co-founder of Atlantic Records. They show that in an industry not noted for gentility, heavily influenced by drugs and associated with organized crime, Ertegun is among a handful of people who have remained essentially decent. From an early age, he had a passion for rhythm and blues, frequenting Harlem nightclubs and poring through old recordings in Washington, D.C., record stores. This type of music formed the basis of Atlantic's early success through the songs of such artists as Ray Charles, Aretha Frankin and Ben E. King. Atlantic's direction changed in the mid-'60s with the signing of major white performers: Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and, eventually, the Rolling Stones. Ertegun's courtship of Mick Jagger not only makes for entertaining reading, but also demonstrates his persistence and shrewdness. The true entrepreneurial phase of Atlantic's history ended with the sale of the company to Warner/Seven Arts, according to the authors, who laud Ertegun, head of the Atlantic division of Warner, for his remarkable survival skills in a very tough business. The book will appeal primarily to insiders; those not familiar with the industry will find it of only passing interest. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This book offers the impressive 42-year history of Atlantic Records and its founder, Ahmet Ertegun, in innumerable anecdotes, interviews, and yarns entertainingly provided by past and present music industry executives and recording artists, as if they had all gathered for Sunday morning brunch at Broadway's Sunlight Restaurant to schmooz about old times and the nascent rock industry. Payola scandals, alleged Mafia infiltration, corporate machinations, the (mis)treatment of blacks, and pursuit of artists and groups are all grist for this mill. Throughout, the focal point is Ertegun, the preeminent statesman of rock, and his tenure at Atlantic. His business acumen, endurance, and passion for music, and the wide-ranging esteem in which he is held in a volatile industry, are well documented. The written story of rock is replete with many of the stories here, but not from this angle. Recommended.-- Barry Miller, Austin P.L., Tex. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Wade and Picardie's well-written and well-researched biography of Ahmet Ertegun is also a chronicle of rock 'n' roll history. Ertegun and two partners founded Atlantic Records, one of the first and most successful independent labels, in the late 1940s. By the mid-1950s, while white pop music dominated records sales and radio airplay, Atlantic signed, recorded, and promoted an array of black talent, including many performers now enshrined in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. This part of the book, however, presents much the same information as Charlie Gillet's Making Tracks: Atlantic Records and the Growth of a Multi-Billion-Dollar Industry (CH, Jan'75), though it does bring the material up to date. What is new and deserves reading is the story of the payola scandals of 1959-60 and the 1980s, and the account of organized crime's attempts to exert control over the music business. Illustrated, with a good index but no bibliography. Recommended for both undergraduate collections and public libraries. -H. A. Keesing, University of Maryland at College Park