This fascinating look at the underbelly of the music business by a former investigative reporter for the Los Angeles Times will confirm any pessimist's worst suspicion of what lies beneath the glitter and glitz. The complicated story revolves around the ability of organized crime to get a proverbial ``foot in the door'' at one of the world's largest entertainment corporations during the 1980s. Presenting a large array of bad folks (and a few good ones) seemingly right out of Central Casting, plus the industry's usual copious quantities of sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll, this gripping report is fraught with twists and turns. The book combines a detective story, a plausible account of record industry business practices (in the days prior to the compact disc explosion), and vibrant, memorable characters, all of which make it more interesting than anything a talented fiction writer could devise. Highly recommended.-- David M. Tur kalo, Social Law Lib., Boston
Knoedelseder, a "Los Angeles Times" reporter, tells the convoluted but absorbing story of nearly 10 years of deal making, double crosses, and the ins and outs of organized crime and the music business, particularly MCA Records. This is one of those true-crime books in which you can't tell the players without a scorecard; luckily, there is one. Knoedelseder's nominal "heroes" are maverick U.S. attorney Marvin Rudnick, who vigorously pursues alleged ties between the mob and MCA before being squeezed out by politics, and John LaMonte, a shady record dealer who eventually winds up in the government's witness protection program after getting the short end of the stick in a used-record deal with MCA. There are dozens of guys in black hats besides obnoxious MCA Records president Irving Azoff, and you can easily pick out the Mafia "wiseguys" by their nicknames, such as "the Chin" and "Baldy." There are even brief cameos from Gambino family boss John Gotti, former senator Howard Baker, and even Rev. Al Sharpton. Finally, there are the lawyers--tons of them (Rudnick included). If you can wade through the legalese, you'll be rewarded with a story that's frightening, funny, exasperating, vulgar, and violent, and that will often make you want to just throw up your hands and say, "Why can't these guys just get this "solved", for heaven's sake?"