Tuesday 25 October 2016
Wolfgang's Vault

Bumping Into Geniuses: My Life Inside the Rock and Roll Business

Author: Danny Goldberg

Publisher: Gotham

Published: July, 2009

Reviewed: August, 2009


Ahmet Ertegun is quoted as saying that the way to get rich is to keep walking around until you bumped into a genius and when you did, hold on and don’t let go.  When one reads Danny Goldberg’s “Bumping Into Geniuses”, you quickly find that he learned that lesson long before he ever heard the quote.

Never heard of Danny Goldberg?  Seriously?  Well, okay then.  Let’s see if you recognize the names of some of the geniuses who he’s bumped in to and never let go (so to speak).  Let’s see, there’s the lads from Led Zeppelin and KISS.  There’s the enduring Stevie Nicks and Ian Hunter.  Oh!  And there’s Kurt Cobain and the boys of Nirvana.  See what I mean?  And that just names a few of the geniuses that have been, or are, in Goldberg’s orbit.

To read Goldberg’s tome is to read fascinating stories about the artists and talent that he either worked for, managed, or otherwise crossed paths with. The stories are riveting and they show a side that we’ve never seen of the names we grew up listening to and still enjoy.

In sharing his from his incredibly rich treasure chest of memories, Danny Goldberg treats the celebrities, as well as music industry movers and shakers, with reverence and respect without pulling any punches as to any flaws that may have been in the character or decision making.

How did Goldberg bump into these geniuses?  Well, that’s why you need to buy the book and read it but I’ll give you just a little bit of insight as to the answer to that question.  His various and legendary roles included writing for publications such as Billboard, Jazz and Pop, and Rolling Stone magazines. 

His journalism gigs led him to serve in PR roles for Led Zeppelin and KISS.  Ultimately, he rolled into executive management positions with record companies such as Atlantic Records, Mercury Records and Warner Brothers Records.  He also was, and is, a highly respected and successful manager of talent, currently serving as the head of Gold Village Entertainment, an artist management company that serves artists such as Rickie Lee Jones, Steve Earle and Ian Hunter to Old 97’s, Street Sweeper Social Club and Care Bears on Fire, to name just a few.  Check out www.goldve.com to see the impressive roster of talent GVE manages.

Back to the book.

With a multi-faceted career that spans four decades, the reader gets a quality education in the nuances of the rough and tumble world of the music business.  For business geeks like me, I found Goldberg’s insights and explanations of royalties and other artist income streams to be spell-binding (I told you I was a geek). 

As for Mr. Goldberg’s insider stories about the artists, he is always asked about Led Zeppelin.  He’s even asked by other legendary artists about Led Zeppelin.  What does he have to say about the guys?  Sorry.  You’ve got to buy the book to find that out. But that’s not only who you’ll hear about.  You’ll learn about how he helped launch the meteoric solo career of Stevie Nicks.  You’ll get touching glimpses of Warren Zevon’s last days.  You see another side of Kurt Cobain and some of the inner workings of Nirvana as well as a touching view of Cobain’s funeral service. 

Do you get the impression that I loved “Bumping Into Geniuses”?  Well, you’re right, I do!  I so enjoyed the book that I believe that everyone should buy a copy and read it from cover to cover.  And, no, you can’t borrow mine.  You’ll want your own copy.  It’s serve as a great manual in how to bump in to your own gaggle of geniuses.

Featured Photo


Our Featured Photo by Boomerocity friend and famed rock photographer, Rob Shanahan (robshanahan.com), is of the statue of Freddie Mercury in Montreux, Switzerland!