22 October 2002
Stan's the man
My favorite record-label executive, (retired) Warner Bros. VP Stan Cornyn, describing what he left behind:
When it comes to interest in new technology, the record business finishes just ahead of the Amish.
I'm reading Cornyn's book, Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Hype, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group, written with Paul Scanlon, and while I knew quite a bit of the backstory, there are still shockers scattered among the pages.
Actually, it was imperative that I read Exploding: if ever there was anyone's writing style I wanted to absorb and reuse, it was Stan Cornyn's, the inevitable result of reading dozens of Warner Bros. and Reprise LP liner notes over the years. (Besides, he sat still for an email interview when I was putting together my guide to the Warner/Reprise Loss Leaders, which surely required patience worthy of canonization.) An example of Stantalizing prose, from Harpers Bizarre's Anything Goes (Warner Bros. WS 1716):
[T]heir anti-statement: "anything goes." Or, in the inevitable paraphrase of their producer [Lenny Waronker, later president of WBR]: "whatever." This attitude, or this philosophy, or this dilemma, is this album. It takes thoughtful looks at times today and times remembered. It looks as it damn well pleases.
The album goes on, like a brilliant but un-diagrammable sentence, of many parts, all nice words, but making no nice sentence.
I go on like that sometimes, or so I think.