Listen Out Loud: A Life In Music--Managing Mccartney, Madonna, And Michael Jackson
Ron Weisner, Alan Goldsher
Featuring an introduction from Quincy Jones and commentary from Winwood, Knight, and some behind-the-scenes record label power brokers, Weisner's illuminating memoir Listen Out Loud underscores the destructive changes to the industry during his forty-year career, including the shift in focus from artistic integrity to the pursuit of cold hard numbers. It's an intimate glimpse into the music world from a man with a keen eye, sharp ears, and a big heart.
he was ever off the map, really—and it drove me nuts that he refused to make a new album. “Just do a goddamn record,” I told him at least twice a month. “You don’t even have to tour. Your music is timeless, and everybody loves you, and you need to give your fans some new stuff. I can set it up with one phone call.” Time and again, he refused. Bill was perfectly content with his life and didn’t need to make music. He was married to a lovely woman, with whom he had two grown children; his only
scams-of-the-week. But that all paled in comparison to his network of black promoters across the country. The proliferation of segregation in the music world, circa 1980, was a dirty little secret; it was most evident when it came to concert promotion. In a nutshell, black acts used black promoters, and white acts used white promoters. Sliminess knew no race: There was an equal percentage of underhanded businessmen of every color. Joe Jackson managed to find most every underhanded black promoter
the arm, said, “Ron, we have a problem,” then dragged me out into the hallway. “What do you mean we have a problem?” I asked after I took my arm back. “Actually, you have a problem, because you’re the one who has to go in there and tell them we’re not getting all of our money tonight.” “What’re you talking about?” I think we were due $300,000. “Joe took half up front, but I never heard. And I just found out about it. And I don’t know where he is.” I shrugged and said, “Nothing I can do. It’s
that point, I’d met hundreds of individuals in all shapes, sizes, and demeanors, so I thought I was pretty good at reading a person. At our first meeting in New York, Madonna was abrasive, the furthest thing from warm and cuddly, but there was something about her that screamed success, even though she hadn’t done anything other than cut a pleasant enough demo. Still, it was uncomfortable being around her. I don’t mind hunger and aggressiveness, but it got to a point where, well, it wasn’t cool.
ran through a medley of his hits, my stage manager told me, “Lauryn’s in the wings, stage right. She’s looking for you.” “Whatever. She knows where to find me.” And indeed she found me. With two minutes left in the show, she glided over, clad in a flowing white dress, clutching a piece of paper. “I’m ready to go on,” she said. “Lauryn, you can’t. After Stevie is done, the show’s over.” “That’s great. Stevie and I are in the same cosmic plane.” What? “Listen, Lauryn, it’s not gonna . . .”