Monday, August 18, 2008

monday, 18th Aug 2008


Shortly after Tom Cruise was anointed (with Paula Wagner) as the new czar of UA, I encountered him at a party.

After I congratulated him on his new venture, Cruise said, "You ran UA once, didn't you?"

"Yes, I ran it for 20 minutes.

The trouble is, UA's a ghost, not a company." I said.

Cruise smiled his ultra-cool smile and replied, "I'm hoping for 25."

He was being modest, I realized.

There were good portents surrounding his deal, which was orchestrated by Bert Fields, his attorney, and Harry Sloan, chief of MGM.

There was a $500 million pool available to finance production.

There was a firm commitment of support from the persuasive Sloan.

So Cruise in the end got his 25 minutes and now he'll go back to being a movie star.

Wagner will go back to producing.

And UA will go back to being a ghost.


Geek Fantasy Come True....


***Record producer Jerry Wexler has died at age 91.
Ed Christman, N.Y.

Music industry legend Jerry Wexler, who kick-started his career as a Billboard journalist in the late 1940s and went on to cultivate the careers of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Led Zeppelin while a partner at Atlantic Records, has died at the age of 91 at his home in Siesta Key, Fla.
Wexler was born on Jan. 10, 1917, into a Jewish family in the Bronx.
After graduating from the school now known as Kansas State University and spending a stint in the Army, he was hired in 1947 at BMI, writing continuity copy for radio stations and plugging the organization's songs.
Later that year a friend recommended him to Billboard, where he was hired with a starting pay of $75 a week.
At Billboard, Wexler invented the term "rhythm & blues" to replace the name "race records," which was then the name of the chart tracking such music.
He stayed at Billboard until 1951, when he went to work for Big Three, the music publishing arm of MGM Records.
The following year, Atlantic Records tried to recruit him, but Wexler said he would only join if he was made a partner, and nothing happened.
A year later, when co-founder Herb Abramson joined the Army, Atlantic came back with another offer and this time agreed to take him in as a partner.
Atlantic had already established itself as an up-and-coming R&B label thanks to hits from artists like Ruth Brown, Joe Turner, Stick McGhee and the Clovers, with the just-signed Ray Charles waiting in the wings.
If Atlantic founders Abramson and Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun led the way into exploring rhythm and blues, it would be Wexler who ultimately led the label deep into Southern soul.

In 1965, he signed a distribution deal for Memphis-based Satellite Records, which was putting out songs by Carla Thomas.
That label would later become known as Stax.
Before long, Stax began a golden era of hits from Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd and William Bell, among others.
Before long, Wexler had begun using FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., as a home base for sessions.
"More than any other locale or individual, Muscle Shoals changed my life -- musically and every which way," Wexler wrote in his 1994 autobiography, "Rhythm & the Blues: A Life in American Music.
"The first artist he brought to Muscle Shoals was Aretha Franklin, whose 1967 debut, "I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You," redefined soul music.
As the '60s wore on, Wexler grew more involved with producing and much less with running Atlantic, although he was still closely involved in signing Led Zeppelin, the J. Geils Band and Donnie Hathaway.
He left Atlantic for good in 1975, but resurfaced two years later returned as VP of A&R for Warner Bros. Records.
In his autobiography, Wexler says that with the help of Karen Berg, they signed the B-52's, Dire Straits and Gang Of Four.
During the latter half of the 1970s, Wexler produced Etta James' "Deep in the Night," Bob Dylan's Christian album, "Slow Train Coming," Kim Carnes "Sailin'" and Dire Straits "Communique," among others.
Later in life, Wexler was involved with "The Wiz" soundtrack, the Dylan album "Saved" and recordings by a young George Michael, Bill Vera, Lou Ann Barton and Kenny Drew Jr.
Funeral details have yet to be announced.
***Eddy W. Hartenstein, a former head of DirecTV, will become publisher of The Los Angeles Times, the newspaper reported.

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