A captivating book by Peter Ames Carlin, veteran rock journalist and author of biographies of Paul Simon and Bruce Springsteen. No one would have said so back in the 1970s, but the second word of the company’s title suggests correctly that more than one bro worked there ... What makes Sonic Boom so appealing is that it is actually three books in one. It’s a book about how music is made, but it’s also a book about how companies are run and then go off track. It’s also a biography of sorts of Mo Ostin, the canny and almost impossibly nice record executive who was chosen by Frank Sinatra to head the singer’s Reprise label.
Music journalist Carlin relays in his characteristic colorful style how music mogul Mo Ostin built Warner Bros. Records into an industry leader ... Those looking for a gossipy tell-all won’t find one here; Ostin stuck with a formula, trusted and invested in his artists, took the music seriously, and honored the intelligence and taste of his customers. This brisk portrait of the man who made Warner Bros. into a powerhouse offers essential reading on the business and history of popular music.
The author of biographies of McCartney, Simon, and Springsteen delivers a fast-paced, overstuffed history of the storied record label ... Ostin and his cowboys rode off into a sunset that grows ever darker as the record business declines, but Carlin captures their glory days without sentimentality or untoward nostalgia. Not as much fun as Almost Famous, but fans of LP–era rock will enjoy Carlin’s knowledgeable deep dive.