By Tom Sinclair
Updated March 17, 2020 at 02:57 AM EDT

Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group

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Long-in-the-tooth music fans may remember those flippantly hilarious print ads Warner Bros. Records and its sister label Reprise used to run in the late ’60s/early ’70s. You could win a dream date with one of the plug-uglies in the Fugs, enter a Pigpen look-alike contest, or score a double-LP sampler for two bucks. Those campaigns were created by Stan Cornyn, a 30-plus-year Warner vet who, with Paul Scanlon, has just written Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group (HarperCollins, $39.95). Beginning with movie mogul Jack Warner’s decision to enter the music biz in 1958, the book presents an insider account of the company’s history. As fly-on-the-wall tomes go, ”Exploding” rates five flies, thanks to its plethora of dish about machers like Frank Sinatra, Ahmet Ertegun, and David Geffen. Cornyn’s prose is laced with his trademark barbed wit, which is so penetrating it pulls you through the dull passages about warehousing and distribution. The music biz may not be what it once was, but thank God Cornyn escaped with his irreverence intact.

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Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group

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