Anything for a Hit: An A & R Women’s Story of Surviving the Music Industry – Dorothy Carvello – (Chicago Review Press)
What I call the music phase of my radio career came at a time that paralleled the author of Anything for a Hit: An A & R Women’s Story of Surviving the Music Industry, Dorothy Carvello was wending her way through the incestuous world of the record company/music industry.
As I worked my way through the often salacious and at times scandalous, (even by today’s standards) pages of Carvello’s story, I was amazed at the number of folks of common lineage that we both crossed paths with. On the radio side, as an air personality and host of a music magazine format interview program, I often interacted with national promotions reps, A & R types and record company execs trying to break baby bands and established stars alike.
Carvello’s sometimes caustic descriptions of these guys ranged from not far off the mark to direct hits on what often amounted to a group of man/child types. I found myself laughing out loud as she tried to find a kinder, gentler way to call out what I can only describe as self-centered assholes. One of Carvello’s apt targets came from her days with RCA Records and then label president Joe Galante. I remember this half-pint big shot touring around the country with a guy that I can only describe as blonde haired rock God type, Mitch Malloy, promoting his debut RCA album and wondering why the heck this Napoleonic little clown was along for the ride? Carvello perfectly described not only his stature and room sized ‘tude.
Almost as long as there as been a music industry, fans have wondered how even massive stars who have sold tons of records and sold out barn sized arenas could end up in the poor house. Carvello courageously gives us a look under the tent flap and outlines some of the under-handed tactics record labels and executives use(d) to hose artists out of royalties and profits to enrich themselves or add to the bottom line. She claims that only savvy managers and agents who demanded audits that they had to foot the bill for, ever got a truly accurate financial picture.
Anything for a Hit, is an intimate look at the music industry that offers an insider’s view of an industry that has undergone monumental changes in the past couple of decades, not all for the better.