(Book). John Denver said, "I have a producer who looks like an accountant, and an accountant who looks like a producer." Soberly dressed, unflashy, and a trained classical musician, in the golden age of the music business Milt Okun stood out by not standing out. His legacy does that for him. He discovered and launched John Denver, and mentored him throughout his career. He created arrangements for Peter, Paul and Mary that the trio performed for half a century. He brought Placido Domingo a crossover career that made him an international star beyond the world of opera. He founded Cherry Lane Music, publisher of Dreamworks, Paramount and Marvel, Elvis, Quincy Jones and the Black Eyed Peas.
|Publisher:||Cherry Lane Music Company|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was very disappointed with this book. It was confusing, choppy and sometimes it's better not to know the truth about people you admire.
"Along The Cherry Lane; Tales From The Life Of Music Industry Legend Milton Okun" is an enchanting and amazing memoir. This book reveals the details of Mr. Okun's unique career in the world of music, told in a series of stories and interviews. Milton Okun is a musician, teacher, conductor, music arranger, producer and publisher. He has worked with some of the biggest stars in the world of folk and popular music. A critic once wrote, "Of all producers, Milton Okun's range is the widest, from Placido Domingo to the Muppets." Mr. Okun is a real rock star in the world of professional music...but most of his work was done behind-the-scenes. Milt Okun's career went from school teacher to working with some of the biggest names in music. He transformed three unknown singers who had never worked together into one of the most famous musical acts of their generation; Peter, Paul and Mary. He was a music producer for John Denver, Placido Domingo and dozens of other musicians. He is the founder of Cherry Lane, a music publishing company. Music is his life and this book highlights his many accomplishments. After reading this book, I feel like I have been sitting by the fire chatting with Milt, his family and his associates. The interview format is casual and friendly. Mr. Okun appears to be a very humble man and is generous with praise for his talented family and the musicians that he worked with. I learned a great deal about the work that goes into producing a big hit in the music world. Milt had his share of challenges through-out his long career, but he does not dwell on the negative. This memoir is up-beat, entertaining and informative. Milt does a very good job in sharing a picture of his life. Kudos to Richard Sparks for a job well done! I am now going to my collection of old record albums and dig out some of my John Denver favorites. I will be listening with a new appreciation of all the work that was done behind-the-scenes to make this music so beautiful. Disclosure: I connected with Milt Okun on Twitter and he was kind enough to send me a copy of this book to read and review.
Milt Okun doesn't look like he should be in the music business, he wears suits and he isn't flashy. He has a solid base in classical music. So why did he end up producing many classic songs during the important formative years of rock and roll that is based on folk music? Pure and simple: he has an ear for what sounds right together and the talent to get the best out of performers. And some of these performers needed a lot of help to get that performance on tape. The stories he tells about some of the greatest hits of the era are just so fascinating and illuminating that you will be surprised to find out just what was behind these hits. The Peter, Paul and Mary tales are worth the price of the book. You will just have to break down and buy the book to get the juicy details on how that group worked. To be honest, I had never heard of Milt Okun, which shocked me since I knew most of his work with musicians like John Denver and Placido Domingo. That just shows how behind the scenes he is and not at all out for the fame. The interview format of the book really works for bringing out his stories since I got the feeling that he isn't a boastful person. I am glad for once the nice guy won and it seems a lot of it was accidental. He won over the hearts of many musicians just by his honesty. The music industry isn't exactly known for being forthright and fair, but that is exactly how Okun built his publishing business. This would make a perfect gift for that hard to please guy on your list.
Milton Okun has to be one of those rare birds who qualifies for the term 'Renaissance Man' in music. Though his name may not be immediately recognizable to the masses, certainly in the music industry he approaches the status of Icon. He began his life as a child lover of opera, became a gifted pianist until a two year hiatus of rest as treatment for glomerulonephritis stopped that direction toward becoming a career classical concert pianist, but his life didn't stop there - not even for a respite. Milton Okun's magnetic personality and sense of timing and music taste lead him to become one of the nation's most important music producers, music arrangers, conductors and of course educators. This book is remarkable not only for the life of a very great man but also in the manner in which that life is shared. Written with the commentary and question/answer technique of Richard Sparks (not only an astute writer but a man of many musical talents, himself), this memoir brings in the pages of the book comments from many of the important people whose lives he helped shape. Okun not only became close friends with opera giant Placido Domingo after providing him with the opportunity to record a crossover song with John Denver ('Perhaps Love' - a song that continues to make the rounds of best selling creations) that guided Domingo closer to the people of the world who might otherwise have avoided opera and opera singers, he also joined the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Opera Company and helped guide that company to success. And it doesn't stop there. Okun discovered and mentored John Denver into a world phenomenon, conducted and arranged for Harry Belafonte, founded the Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, was responsible for tuning into the era of folk singing and groomed Peter, Paul and Mary as a singing group (there is a very funny aside when Okun lets us know that Mary had the tendency to sing flat, so when working with the recording tapes, Okun did some judicious tampering that made Mary sound in the middle of the pitch!), published the catalogue of Elvis Presley catalogue of songs for the Presley Estate, became the official publisher form Dreamworks, was responsible for the launching of Laura Nyro's career, and all the while he continued to inspire students both in the classroom by promoting knowledge of classical music while shaking hands with popular music. There is more, so very much more, about Milton Okun to be learned from this highly entertaining book - including messages from admirers and those whose career he boosted. But throughout the book Okun talks about his love of opera, lists his favorite operas, arias, opera singers, classical orchestral music, all in a manner that is warm and sharing, rich in reminiscences about teaching music as well as arranging and conducting music. The result of this repartee between Okun and Sparks and the voices of love that accompany this memoir is a book that documents a remarkable life in such a gentle way that the spirit of the man shines through. Grady Harp