Book Review: Rock & Roll Books
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Dec. 5, 2008
Bumping Into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Businessby Danny Goldberg
Gotham, 320 pp., $26
Bumping Into Geniuses is an especially apt title for Danny Goldberg's stories of his life in the music business. At the beginning, he covers Woodstock because no one else at Billboard had any interest in attending. From there, it's a roller-coaster ride involving an unimaginable array of characters that includes Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith, Bonnie Raitt, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Warren Zevon, and Steve Earle. He was head of Atlantic Records when Hootie & the Blowfish, Stone Temple Pilots, and Jewel sold more than 25 million albums combined and at Mercury when Hanson sold 10 million. Goldberg has a winning way of telling his tale with an obvious love for the music but without an overly inflated ego. His remembrances of working as Nirvana's manager when Nevermind took over the world are especially poignant. Goldberg's awe of the talent of Kurt Cobain is perfectly drawn, and the sense of helplessness after the young musician's suicide is palpable. An extended look at the latter days of Zevon's career offers unusual insight into the nexus of art and commerce. One is left with the sense that with more Danny Goldbergs involved in the music business, it wouldn't have its bad rap.