Classics Du Jour



The Way It’s Supposed To Be

“You look like a bunch of stoners!!”  That was Judy’s first take.  Can’t say that wasn’t the case (ha, ha), but the importance of this picture is…we were also key record executives of that period!—circa 1975.

We weren’t that far away from the artists themselves.  We were all kind of cut from the same cloth, from the same generation, from the same counter culture.  We could relate to one another socially, and musically.

And, we were ALL in it for the music.  They were the artists, and we were the rock promotion execs (if you want to use that terminology) in charge of bringing their music to rock radio, securing airplay, and doing big promotions to help bring attention to them and their work.

Sure, everyone wanted to earn some money, but in those days the music came first, without a doubt.  We were all on the same page, all on the same mission–bring great music to the people.

If you look at a picture of record execs today, you will see a few folks that look like they could relate one on one to an artist, but not many.  Mostly now it’s all suits who can only quote the artist their marketing plans and latest sales figures.  In fact, it would be awkward for them to really “hang out” with an artist.  In fact, it wouldn’t be that comfortable for either party.

As the “record” business continues to crumble and turn back more into the “music” business again, I predict we will witness a new form of record exec.  One who is once again, more on the same page with the artist—someone who can really relate.

I met Slash recently.  After we talked for a bit he looked at me like a light bulb just flashed on in his brain and he remarked, “Oh my God, you’re a rock guy! You guys are hard to find these days!”  It made me realize just how broken the business was and how it’s certainly time to help start fixing it.

One more thing about the photo.  It was at this meeting at Caribou Ranch Recording Studios in Colorado that the first Boston album was heard by us who would go on to promote it.

It was played along with a slew of other records that were the “priorities” of the label.  We kept asking the fellow who brought all the tunes to play that “More Than A Feeling” song again, (and again, and again!).  “Why?”  This guy asked.  “Because it’s one of the best things we’ve ever heard in rock!!” we exclaimed.   “And, if you make THAT a priority we’ll sell millions and break the band wide open!”  Not budging on changing the priorities, we told the guy, “no worries, this thing is gonna go no matter what, and we’re gonna promote the f*ck out of it anyway!!!”

And, we did.  And,…the rest is history.

Keep Rockin’!


Paul Rappaport

Paul Rappaport was Senior VP at Columbia Records where he enjoyed a 33 year career in radio promotion and marketing. He is recognized as being instrumental in the careers of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Santana, Journey, Elvis Costello, Judas Priest, Alice in Chains, and many more. He is also noted as the Co-Creator...

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