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-Ju t 1994 s u g u A

With nine years under our belt, HITS turned political, tapping Newt Gingrich for our Sam Viviano cover, with the tagline, “He’s Right. We’re Wrong.” Of course, it’s 2011, Gingrich is running for President and we’re still here, too. Back then, we boasted, “Maybe we’re the thieving, illiterate scumbags you loathe the whole year ‘round, but let’s fact it, folks, we’re the same thieving, illiterate scumbags you’ve loathed the whole year ‘round for the past nine years.” Substitute 25 for nine and you get the idea. You can’t get rid of us even when you’ve tried.

Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor wallows in the real mud after their Woodstock performance with a HITS cover as Downward Spiral explodes for TVT/Interscope.

Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss ink a U.S. distribution deal with Geffen for their post-A&M label Almo Sounds. Now one’s a philanthropist, the other a race horse owner. Ain’t life strange? Strauss Zelnick is appointed President/CEO of BMG Entertainment N.A. by Michael Dornemann. The man made a mean barbeque sauce for a media exec. WMG boss Doug Morris prevails in his war with Robert Morgado and names Danny Goldberg Chairman/CEO of Warner Bros. Records. Goldberg was gone by August of the following year, citing his desire to begin work on Harold Stassen’s presidential campaign.

Don Benson is named Corporate VP for Jefferson Pilot Communications, the highest position a former high school geek had attained in radio at that point in the ‘90s… Russ Thyret and David Altschul are named Vice Chairmen for Warner Bros. Records… Polly Anthony is named President of 550 Records and SVP Epic Records

Danny Goldberg names Steven Baker President of WB, Howie Klein head of Reprise, Jeff Gold EVP/GM at the Bunny and Rich Fitzgerald EVP./GM of Reprise. Got that? Good. It would all change before the year was out.

Barry Weiss is upped to President of the Jive label by Zomba Group Chairman/CEO Clive Calder. Somewhere in Orlando, a young Justin Timberlake holds the future for both of them in his Mouse Ears.

Jason Flom launches Lava Records under the Atlantic Group umbrella. Dee Snyder can’t get him to answer a phone call.

100 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Seymour Stein is named President of Elektra Records by Chairman Sylvia Rhone. There hasn’t been that kind of partnership since Sacco and Venzetti… Meanwhile, veteran Bob Krasnow survives the WMG purge by taking his Krasnow Entertainment to MCA.

Legendary artist manager Peter Asher is named SVP Sony Music Entertainment by Tommy Mottola, who immediate tells him how much he loved his records with his partner Jeremy.

Eddie Rosenblatt is named Chairman and CEO for Geffen Records after the departure of David Geffen, who leaves him his Rolodex and Axl Rose’s home number.


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-Ju t 1995 s u g u A

Celebrating a decade of our existence with a massive, 354-page Anniversary Issue that featured Mad magazine icon Alfred E. Neuman himself touting “Ten Years of Giving You the Finger,” with a front-of-the-book dedication to the beloved (at least by us) Morey Amsterdam and a shot of Warner Bros.’ legendary ruler Mo Ostin reading Billboard. Founded in the boom times of the Reagan era, HITS unabashedly offered the credo we still live by: “We suck, you buy ads, we cash your check, we suck some more.” As we noted back then, “Ten times zero is still zero.” Fifteen years later, the equation, if not the song, remains the same.

Jerry Garcia is Dead at the age of 53 from a “worn-out heart” while at a drug rehab facility… Bruce Lundvall is upped to GM East Coast at Capitol Records, while Bruce Kirkland is promoted to EVP… Jack Rovner rolls over at RCA, where he’s named EVP/GM by Bob Jamieson… Joe Riccitelli gets SVP stripes at Island.

Bunny veteran Russ Thyret is named Chairman/CEO at Warner Bros. Records by WMG’s Michael Fuchs, replacing Danny Goldberg in a move hailed by the Burbank troops shaken after the departures of Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker and Doug Morris.

Bruce Resnikoff is upped to EVP/GM Special Markets and Products for MCA Music Entertainment Group. Dude’s still there and we’re still here.

Ahmet Ertegun and Jann Wenner’s dream comes true as the $92 million, I.M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum opens its doors, giving people one good reason to visit Cleveland.

Andre Harrell is named President/CEO of Motown Records, sending him into a heat wave…Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker and Michael Ostin launch DreamWorks Records with David Geffen, tapping George Michael as the first release under the SKG banner.

Sony Music Entertainment and Michael Jackson’s ATV Music Publishing merge in a worldwide venture.

Time Warner fires Michael Fuchs and gives control of the music division to film heads Bob Daly and Terry Semel. Edgar Bronfman Jr. fires Al Teller and names Doug Morris Chairman of the MCA Music Entertainment Group, while Richard Palmese exits as President.

Doug Morris taps Mel Lewinter as Vice Chairman MCA Music Entertainment Group, Zach Horowitz as President Music Entertainment Group and Jay Boberg as President of MCA Records. No word on Sal Pisello

MCA acquires 50% of Interscope for $200 milion, reuniting Doug Morris with Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field.

Daniel Glass is named President of Universal Records… Abbey Konowitch is tapped as EVP for MCA Records.

104 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Val Azzoli is promoted to Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive of The Atlantic Group… Richard Palmese joins The House That Clive Built as Arista Records SVP Promotion… Heavy D is named President of Uptown Records by Doug Morris, replacing Motown head Andre Harrell…

Tom Corson is named SVP Marketing for Columbia Records.


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-Ju t 1995 Augus

Roger Ames is named President of the PolyGram Music Group.

Legendary songstress Ella Fitzgerald passes away at her Beverly Hills home at the age of 78.

Steve Barnett is named SVP International for Epic Records, where he plans to wear his Angus Young knickers to strategic planning meetings… Westinghouse/CBS buys Infinity as radio consolidation follows deregulation. David Massey is named SVP for Epic Records.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “It truly is a self-indulgent record in so many ways.” Alanis Morissette

“They cut off my subscription when I stopped writing for them, so I don’t really know what’s going on there now.” Danny Fields, ex-Far Truths correspondent

“In my widest imagination, I could never have predicted any of the events which have transpired over the past two years. And I don’t think anybody else could have, either.” Mo Ostin, DreamWorks Records

“That’s the problem I have with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It becomes a shrine to your underwear.” Mick Jagger

“I don’t have to say what keeps me here; it’s self-evident. Frankly, the concept of not doing it seems ridiculous right now.” Clive Davis, Arista Records

“The truth of the matter is that I’m still in the record business. Most of those prosecuting me either quit, were fired or sanctioned.” Joe Isgro

“If the milk industry can make their product seem sexy and increase consumer demand, there must be hope for music.” Gary Arnold, Best Buy

106 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

MOST POWERFUL SONG: Alanis Morissette, “You Oughta Know” (Maverick) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill (Maverick)


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-Ju t 1996 s u g u A

For the cover of our gala 11th anniversary issue, our own Van Arno created a cover commemorating the short-lived Heaven’s Gate cult, whose members were more than willing to follow their fearless, hairless leader Marshall Applewhite in chasing the Hale-Bopp comet to oblivion, resulting in a house full of dead people in suburban San Diego. At the same time, the late Billboard editor Timothy White published his official statement listing his reasons for regularly wearing a “strange, four-in-hand freestyle polka-dot bow tie.” Yes, folks, it was that kind of year.

Virgin Records breaks the Spice Girls in the U.S. We mutilate the official Spice Girls action figures and display them in our office

Al Cafaro rises to Chairman of A&M, with John Barbis named President of A&M Associated. Herb Alpert, Jerry Moss and Gil Friesen are now very rich men, thanks to the millions they get from PolyGram for the label.

Walter Yetnikoff launches Velvel, which turns out to be Yiddish for “over,” signing a deal with EMI Canada which included the services of its Royal Mounted Police.

A pair of middle-aged guys named Raphael and Antonio create a band called Los Del Rio, and a dance craze named the Macarena that makes mucho dinero for BMG and makes Strauss Zelnick look like a genius barbeque sauce manufacturer.

C. Delores Tucker sues the Tupac Shakur estate, claiming one of his songs caused her and her husband so much stress they could no longer enjoy sex. Still, that was no excuse for getting into bed with Suge Knight.

Virgin Records celebrates the reign of Ken and Nancy Berry, who threw some of the greatest parties this industry had ever seen at their Beverly Hills manse. At least that’s what we hear since we were never invited to one.

Van Halen loses Sammy Hagar, regains David Lee Roth until Diamond Dave starts popping off backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Warner Bros. movie execs Robert Daly and Terry Semel complete the transition at the music group from Bob Morgado, Doug Morris and Michael Fuchs. And things haven’t been the same since.

Sheep cloning is all the rage at HITS, as we turn the likes of Milton Sincoff, Don Benson, David Adelson and Tim White into Dolly derivatives.

108 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Al Teller’s Red Ant promises to revolutionize the business by hiring the likes of Ruben Rodriguez, Randy Phillips, Randy Miller and Nancy Levin. We’re still trying to figure out what happened.


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-Ju t 1997 s u g u A

With the industry peaking and headed for a fall, we dedicated our 12th anniversary issue to the simple theme, “The Triumph of Mediocrity.” The subsequent editorial trumpeted the importance of such a concept in that year’s issue: “Nothing in it is that great, but much of it isn’t very, very bad, either. And that is what ‘mediocre’ is all about.” And who should know better than us? To celebrate, we ran a picture of Sony Music CEO Thomas D. Mottola and Patty Loveless officially crowning then-VP Al Gore “The King of Mediocre.” As far as we know, the name has stuck.

The year’s big story was Seagram’s May purchase of PolyGram for $10.4 billion, engineered by Edgar Bronfman Jr., who merges it with Universal Music Group to create the world’s largest 7 & 7 cocktail, prompting an endless variety of wine cooler jokes.

Bob Cavallo is named head of the newly formed Buena Vista Music Group, which gives him free head-of-the-line passes to Space Mountain and the rights to release all of Bob Pfeifer’s solo albums. He then makes the fatal mistake of hiring Abbey Konowitch.

Andy Gershon, Mark Williams and Scott Litt form Outpost Records, and are promptly never heard from again.

Mariah Carey’s Crave Recordings hires industry vet Rick Bisceglia, who helps free her from house arrest. Columbia promo domo Charlie Walk poses with a chimp and is still trying to live it down.

Ray Cooper and Ashley Newton are named Co-Presidents of Virgin America, answering to the names Tweedlededee and Tweedlededum. They still don’t get invited to any of Nancy Berry’s fabulous soirees, but they do get to pick up her tab for candles and flowers.

Westwood One Chairman Norm Pattiz bids $20k at a City of Hope auction to be Editor of HITS for a week, only to discover his chief task would be shaving Sr. Editor Roy Trakin’s back.

112 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

8 ly 199

-Ju t 1997 s u g u A

With the industry peaking and headed for a fall, we dedicated our 12th anniversary issue to the simple theme, “The Triumph of Mediocrity.” The subsequent editorial trumpeted the importance of such a concept in that year’s issue: “Nothing in it is that great, but much of it isn’t very, very bad, either. And that is what ‘mediocre’ is all about.” And who should know better than us? To celebrate, we ran a picture of Sony Music CEO Thomas D. Mottola and Patty Loveless officially crowning then-VP Al Gore “The King of Mediocre.” As far as we know, the name has stuck.

The year’s big story was Seagram’s May purchase of PolyGram for $10.4 billion, engineered by Edgar Bronfman Jr., who merges it with Universal Music Group to create the world’s largest 7 & 7 cocktail, prompting an endless variety of wine cooler jokes.

Bob Cavallo is named head of the newly formed Buena Vista Music Group, which gives him free head-of-the-line passes to Space Mountain and the rights to release all of Bob Pfeifer’s solo albums. He then makes the fatal mistake of hiring Abbey Konowitch.

Andy Gershon, Mark Williams and Scott Litt form Outpost Records, and are promptly never heard from again.

Mariah Carey’s Crave Recordings hires industry vet Rick Bisceglia, who helps free her from house arrest. Columbia promo domo Charlie Walk poses with a chimp and is still trying to live it down.

Ray Cooper and Ashley Newton are named Co-Presidents of Virgin America, answering to the names Tweedlededee and Tweedlededum. They still don’t get invited to any of Nancy Berry’s fabulous soirees, but they do get to pick up her tab for candles and flowers.

Westwood One Chairman Norm Pattiz bids $20k at a City of Hope auction to be Editor of HITS for a week, only to discover his chief task would be shaving Sr. Editor Roy Trakin’s back.

112 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-Ju t 1997 Augus

Grammy boss Michael Greene’s famous feud with N.Y.C. Mayor Rudy Giuliani ensures that the Awards show will be in L.A. for many years to come. “If you want to abuse a member of my staff, abuse me and see if you get away with it,” said his Honor.

The HITS Remedial Jug Band and Redneck Jamboree cut a version of “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain,” produced, engineered and mixed by the Dust Brothers, included as a free, attached flexidisc with the anniversary issue.

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times’ Chuck Philips writes a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles investigating Greene’s alleged financial improprieties regarding its charitable foundations.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “It is really down to the managements of the two groups to now figure out what the best consolidation opportunities are and how we can make those labels, as we combine them, the strongest possible organization in the industry.” Edgar Bronfman, Jr., on the merger of PolyGram and Universal Music Group

“I will not dignify personal attacks with a response. It is possible the writers were just duped by individuals with an axe to grind.” Michael Greene, The Recording Academy, responding to a series of critical L.A. Times articles by Chuck Philips and Michael Hiltzik

“If you’re disadvantaged and life is kicking your ass, then I could think of much worse things you could do than smoke a little herb.” Ben Harper

“It doesn’t matter what you say; as soon as you’ve said it, it’s been robbed from you.” Thom Yorke, Radiohead

MOST POWERFUL SONG: Celine Dion, “My Heart Will Go On” (550 Music) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Titanic soundtrack (Sony Music Soundtrax) 114 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-Ju t 1998 s u g u A

The record industry partied like it was 1999, which it was, with the boy (and girl) band phenomenon boosting business to record-shattering heights. HITS celebrated its own lucky 13th anny with cartoonist Sam Viviano’s cover portrait of a braces-clad “gawky welp with bad skin and raging hormones” named Britney Spears, featuring the telling tagline, “One More Time, Baby…” Already, the specter of Napster was looming over the horizon. “Indeed, if the apocalyptic fears of techies and fanatics don’t pan out and Y2K doesn’t bring this whole nutty koo-koo world to a grinding halt, you can rest assured that we’ll still be here, grinding trees into waste in the name of stupidity—and, of course, accepting buttloads of money for glossy, full-color advertisements and assorted ‘services.’ Suckers.”

With boy bands all the rage, The Firm’s Michael Green and Jeff Kwatinetz’s The Firm proceeded to make gazillions with the Backstreet Boys before falling out over executive washroom privileges.

Meanwhile, luxury jet leaser, pizza mogul and young boy lover Lou Pearlman turns NSYNC into big-money swim, culminating in a record-shattering 2.4 million first week for No Strings Attached

A&M boards up the famed lot on La Brea, leaving the strip club Crazy Girls to Henson Studios, as the fabled label becomes an imprint on Interscope. We know because Al Cafaro told the L.A. Times.

Music biz vets Gary Gersh and John Silva form artist management firm G.A.S. (Gersh and Silva, not the motor fuel), only to move on to ill-fated technology start-up D.E.N. and other nefarious pursuits. As we went on to prophetically describe one of the year’s more colorful characters, the company’s well-named Marc Collins-Rector, after a tour of the company’s snappy Santa Monica offices: “Knows a thing or two about digital stimulation.”

Phil Quartararo, the famed Phil Q, joins Warner Bros. as President, and gets his very own parking spot. Trouble is, it’s in Glendale, while the offices are in Burbank.

Garth Brooks emerges as pop-rock alter ego Chris Gaines… and immediately flushes a once-promising music career down the toilet. Gaines grew a beard and later re-emerged as Bon Iver.

HITS inaugurates our own semi-annual pre-Grammy party to compete with Clive’s massive soiree… Boy, we musta been raking it in back then. JAMZ editor Gary Jackson appears in 428 of the 535 pictures taken by Lester Cohen that evening, as he gets high with Oliver Stone in the bathroom. Ahhh, those were the days.

116 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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Michael Robertson’s ingenious mp3.com and Shawn Fanning’s Napster rear their filesharing heads…and life in the record biz is irrevocably changed. Their innovations are still fueling change a decade later in cloud computing and programs like Spotify.

UMG continues to swallow properties like Pac-Man, purchasing the part of Def Jam it didn’t already own, then partnering with BMG on GetMusic, an Internet content and e-commerce site. MCA Music Publishing becomes Universal Music Publishing Group, meaning everyone has to get new business cards.

Joe Riccitelli is named promotion head for Jive Records and begins his second career buying beer for the members of NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. Last we looked, he’s still doing the same thing.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t ”That’s what rock & roll is to me—kids working their asses off and saving their money to be entertained. And we’re all doomed if we don’t understand that.” Andy Gould

“I’m a full-on, hot-blooded, heterosexual male with a lot of testosterone who’s in touch with his inner hard-on.” Henry Rollins

“When you have a teen phenomenon like this, you just hope it can reach the next level, but I’ve never seen anything like this.” Joe Riccitelli, Jive Records, on Britney Spears

“For a guy facing unemployment four months ago, this is unbelievable. We’re very excited to work with Doug Morris.” Lyor Cohen, Island Def Jam Music Group “It was never about a hit song with Limp Bizkit; it was about a band, their vision and allowing kids to discover the group for themselves.” Jordan Schur, Flip Records

“You know, I have the same lawyer as HITS.” Russell Simmons, Def Jam/RAL

118 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

MOST POWERFUL SONG: Britney Spears, “Baby One More Time” (Jive) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Shania Twain, “Come on Over” (Mercury Nashville)


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-Ju t 1999 s u g u A

The turn of the century marked HITS’ 14th issue and a historic launch of our website www.hitsdailydouble.com, mostly as a front for streamed porn videos, with Todd “0’s and 1’s” Hensley and Karen “Digital Diva” Glauber named Presidents of their respective computer terminals. We summed up our improbable continued existence thusly: “Fourteen years ago, a group of people you don’t care about started a publication they didn’t care about in order to provide for their families, which they cared about pretending to care about. During those 14 years, a number of music industry professionals grew to not care about the magazine as much as they didn’t care about the people who started the magazine. In fact, when those industry professionals were listed as ‘HITS readers’ for circulation audits that no one cared about, they didn’t care enough to complain. Not that we’d care if they did.” Al Gore and George W. were the cover subjects for what we termed, optimistically, the (yawn) Apathy Issue.”

Interscope Black Music head Steve Stoute and Sean “Puffy Now P. Diddy” Combs bury the hatchet at the annual Source Hip-Hop Music Awards after the celebrated incident where Puffy beat down Stoute with a champagne bottle in a dispute over a video in which Nas is portrayed on the cross. Too bad we kept fanning the flames for months afterward.

Clive Davis sweeps the Grammys with Carlos Santana just before he’s replaced as head of Arista Records by BMG with Antonio “L.A.” Reid, citing a mandatory retirement age, which has now been raised every year through 2011. Meanwhile, while Clive continues to work, most of the BMG board members who voted on the change have long since been sent to a rest facility in Guterslöh.

Edgar Bronfman Jr. flips Seagram holdings to Vivendi’s Jean-Marie Messier for a cool $34 billion and immediately turns his whiskey into a fine red wine, then back into the dirty water which runs through the elaborate pipe system owned by the French conglom straight to a sewer. C’est la vie.

HITS’ own Lenny Beer takes up golf and disappears from the office every Friday for the next dozen years.

AOL acquires Time Warner in a deal that makes Russ Thyret a beard and Richard Parsons a dunce as the Internet bubble is about to burst for the first, but hardly the last, time.

120 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst is named an Interscope VP and immediately orders all label employees to wear their baseball caps backwards and announces tattoos are now covered by the company health plan.


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-Ju t 1999 s u g u A

The turn of the century marked HITS’ 14th issue and a historic launch of our website www.hitsdailydouble.com, mostly as a front for streamed porn videos, with Todd “0’s and 1’s” Hensley and Karen “Digital Diva” Glauber named Presidents of their respective computer terminals. We summed up our improbable continued existence thusly: “Fourteen years ago, a group of people you don’t care about started a publication they didn’t care about in order to provide for their families, which they cared about pretending to care about. During those 14 years, a number of music industry professionals grew to not care about the magazine as much as they didn’t care about the people who started the magazine. In fact, when those industry professionals were listed as ‘HITS readers’ for circulation audits that no one cared about, they didn’t care enough to complain. Not that we’d care if they did.” Al Gore and George W. were the cover subjects for what we termed, optimistically, the (yawn) Apathy Issue.”

Interscope Black Music head Steve Stoute and Sean “Puffy Now P. Diddy” Combs bury the hatchet at the annual Source Hip-Hop Music Awards after the celebrated incident where Puffy beat down Stoute with a champagne bottle in a dispute over a video in which Nas is portrayed on the cross. Too bad we kept fanning the flames for months afterward.

Clive Davis sweeps the Grammys with Carlos Santana just before he’s replaced as head of Arista Records by BMG with Antonio “L.A.” Reid, citing a mandatory retirement age, which has now been raised every year through 2011. Meanwhile, while Clive continues to work, most of the BMG board members who voted on the change have long since been sent to a rest facility in Guterslöh.

Edgar Bronfman Jr. flips Seagram holdings to Vivendi’s Jean-Marie Messier for a cool $34 billion and immediately turns his whiskey into a fine red wine, then back into the dirty water which runs through the elaborate pipe system owned by the French conglom straight to a sewer. C’est la vie.

HITS’ own Lenny Beer takes up golf and disappears from the office every Friday for the next dozen years.

AOL acquires Time Warner in a deal that makes Russ Thyret a beard and Richard Parsons a dunce as the Internet bubble is about to burst for the first, but hardly the last, time.

120 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst is named an Interscope VP and immediately orders all label employees to wear their baseball caps backwards and announces tattoos are now covered by the company health plan.


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-Ju t 1999 Augus

After replacing the outgoing Bob Daly and Terry Semel, Warner Music Group’s newly installed Roger Ames and EMI’s Ken Berry begin their mating dance for a proposed merger that is still on the back burner 11 years later.

Bertelsmann acquires tech company CDNow, then has no idea what to do with it.

UMG’s Doug Morris and Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine launch Doug and Jimmy’s Farmclub on TV and the Internet, making sheep everywhere very nervous.

Metallica sues Napster for allegedly pilfering their songs, garnering the enmity of their fans and techno geeks everywhere. Lars Ulrich cancels his subscription to Wired magazine.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t

“You ain’t down with the clown, you’re down with the devil.” Violent J, Insane Clown Posse

“The truth is, we don’t necessarily find talent. Talent finds us.” Monte Lipman, Universal Records

“One-on-one marketing ideas are what will drive the Internet side of the industry.” Jim Urie, UMVD

122 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

“Executives who can wear more than one hat are oftentimes the talent that will be recognized and given the chance to run companies.” Antonio “L.A.” Reid, Arista Records

“We think it’s going to be very difficult for the labels to stop pricy and start charging people a lot of money for downloading music.” Dave Goldberg, Launch

MOST POWERFUL SONG: Santana, “Smooth” (Arista) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Santana, Supernatural (Arista)


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Potty mouths Eminem, Fred Durst and Lil’ Kim were slapped with Parental Advisory stickers by then-Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman in Sam Viviano’s latest political cover gracing our 15th anniversary, a milestone for this industry shell game—or millstone as the case may be. “Fifteen. It’s suddenly a cause for introspection…and frankly, re-evaluation,” read our anny intro that year. “How do we handle longtime HITS employees who instinctively grab their ankles when any mid-level label promotion weasel is near?” Don’t answer that. We never have.

Longtime WEA and UMVD distribution head Henry Droz retires, receives his pension fund in mp3.com stock and is immediately forced to declare bankruptcy.

The record labels join together to sue Napster, which turned out to be a pyrrhic victory at best when the courts served an injunction against the company. It’s the end of the world as R.E.M. knows it, and nobody was feeling fine after Bertelsmann Chairman Thomas Middelhoff jumped from the ranks to engineer an alliance with Shawn Fanning’s revolutionary file-sharing app that would cost the Germans a lot of deutsche marks when they are named in the other three labels’ suit.

“It’s clear the RIAA sees Napster as a threat not because it’s going to reduce record sales, but that it will reduce RIAA ‘s control over record sales,” said the file-sharer’s attorney.

“Napster’s smugness reached a peak with that HITS interview with Hank Barry. I’m glad I won’t have to hear it anymore,” says then-RIAA head Hilary Rosen, representing the industry’s disdain for the tech start-up. Said legal eagle Don Passman: “Every time a new technology comes along, it adds another five pages to the deal memo.”

Clive Davis’ comeback sees him having the last laugh on his Bertelsmann overlords after setting up a brand-new label J Records with the bamboozled Germans. “From day one, no one could give me what Bertelsmann offered,” he said about rumors he was headed elsewhere. “At no time were they moving me out—they were going to fund the largest joint venture in history.”

After realizing the European Commission would put a kibosh on it, WMG and EMI call off their planned merger. At the time, Len Blavatnik was just another rich Russian. “We have a compelling strategy and plan for our existing business,” said then-EMI boss Eric Nicoli, who set his sights on BMG after the failed alliance. “We have excellent prospects, with or without a merger.” Apparently Guy Hands thought so, too.

124 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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Warner Bros. chief Phil Quartararo was similarly confident: “Our critics can either watch this company coming up in their rearview mirror, or they can just look at us as we’re crawling up their ass.” Where we can offer them a HITS subscription at half price.

Only a month after being named BMG President/CEO, Rudi Gassner dies on Christmas Eve 2000 of a heart attack, a move which would hasten the Germans’ exit from the record business.

Steely Dan wins Album of the Year at the Grammys in an upset, while Eminem and Elton John join together for a historic performance of “Stan.”

Shortly after the massive success of the Beatles’ 1, Capitol Records Group President/CEO Roy Lott is ousted in favor of producer/manager Andy Slater, who gets a corner office in the Tower.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “I’m not the bad guy I’m made out to be. When you take a stand on life in America, do things your way and own your own, that can be scary for people.” Suge Knight, from Mule Creek State Prison

“I used to say it was all about the music. Now, I say it’s about your team and the music.” Doug Morris, UMG

“It’s like I have this big black woman inside of me.” Denise Rich

“Every time a new technology comes along, it adds another five pages to the deal memo.” Don Passman

“The American public has incredibly varied tastes, and somehow or another, the media has decided to narrowcast and capture pieces of it.” Luke Lewis, Mercury Nashville/Lost Highway MOST POWERFUL SONG: Shaggy, “It Wasn’t Me” (MCA) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: The Beatles, 1 (Apple/Capitol) 126 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-July t 2001 s u g u A

2002

Then-label group rulers Doug Morris, Thomas D. Mottola, Alain Levy, Roger Ames and Rolf Schmidt-Holtz graced the Van Arno-drawn cover of our sweet 16th anniversary blowing out candles in the shape of middle fingers on a giant cake. As we put it on our editorial page, noting the horrible events of 9/11: “Even when things get bad and optimism wanes, you can take comfort in the knowledge that our cold wet noses remain comfortingly close to your butt crack as our lips pucker away with the same zest and zeal they did back when you took Jack Craigo’s phone calls.” Yes, we were still making Jack Craigo jokes in 2002. We named Jeff Kwatinetz our First Annual Irving Azoff Memorial Nice Guy Award winner, mainly for giving work to unemployables like Andy Gould, Jeff Rabhan and Marc Pollack.

Producer/songwriter and sometime Collective Soul keyboardist Matt Serletic is named President of Virgin Records in an experiment to see if musicians can run record companies. With all due respect to Herb Alpert and Jay-Z, the introduction of thalidomide as a sleeping aid for pregnant women in the ‘50s was more successful.

Tom Whalley and his coif take over the Presidency of Warner Bros. Records, adding drum tech duties for Linkin Park to his resume.

The Firm’s Jeff Kwatinetz throws his support behind Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt’s 2004 Presidential run. Like former partner Mike Green, the candidate’s never heard from again. Undaunted, the Kwatman acquires former big shot Mike Ovitz’s Artist Management Group for $5 and change, which puts him in business with the likes of Rick and Julie Yorn, along with Martin Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio. Says an admiring Azoff: “I hope he doesn’t stop until he buys David Geffen’s art collection!”

Andy Gershon is named President of V2, and his dog is crowned Head of Media Relations and Humping, shortly before learning compensation will come in the form of 1,765,487 liters of used oxygen from Richard Branson’s hot-air balloon and two one-way tickets on Virgin Airlines.

Nancy Berry splits the Virgin Music Group Worldwide when hubby Ken Berry is replaced as EMI head by Alain Levy and David Munns. The group cuts their flower and candle budget by 90%. Music business parties will never quite be the same again. Roger Ames on the new team: “I learned a lot from Alain, and drank a lot of beer with David.” Most likely warm. 128 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

-July t 2001 s u g u A

2002

Then-label group rulers Doug Morris, Thomas D. Mottola, Alain Levy, Roger Ames and Rolf Schmidt-Holtz graced the Van Arno-drawn cover of our sweet 16th anniversary blowing out candles in the shape of middle fingers on a giant cake. As we put it on our editorial page, noting the horrible events of 9/11: “Even when things get bad and optimism wanes, you can take comfort in the knowledge that our cold wet noses remain comfortingly close to your butt crack as our lips pucker away with the same zest and zeal they did back when you took Jack Craigo’s phone calls.” Yes, we were still making Jack Craigo jokes in 2002. We named Jeff Kwatinetz our First Annual Irving Azoff Memorial Nice Guy Award winner, mainly for giving work to unemployables like Andy Gould, Jeff Rabhan and Marc Pollack.

Producer/songwriter and sometime Collective Soul keyboardist Matt Serletic is named President of Virgin Records in an experiment to see if musicians can run record companies. With all due respect to Herb Alpert and Jay-Z, the introduction of thalidomide as a sleeping aid for pregnant women in the ‘50s was more successful.

Tom Whalley and his coif take over the Presidency of Warner Bros. Records, adding drum tech duties for Linkin Park to his resume.

The Firm’s Jeff Kwatinetz throws his support behind Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt’s 2004 Presidential run. Like former partner Mike Green, the candidate’s never heard from again. Undaunted, the Kwatman acquires former big shot Mike Ovitz’s Artist Management Group for $5 and change, which puts him in business with the likes of Rick and Julie Yorn, along with Martin Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio. Says an admiring Azoff: “I hope he doesn’t stop until he buys David Geffen’s art collection!”

Andy Gershon is named President of V2, and his dog is crowned Head of Media Relations and Humping, shortly before learning compensation will come in the form of 1,765,487 liters of used oxygen from Richard Branson’s hot-air balloon and two one-way tickets on Virgin Airlines.

Nancy Berry splits the Virgin Music Group Worldwide when hubby Ken Berry is replaced as EMI head by Alain Levy and David Munns. The group cuts their flower and candle budget by 90%. Music business parties will never quite be the same again. Roger Ames on the new team: “I learned a lot from Alain, and drank a lot of beer with David.” Most likely warm. 128 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


A quarter

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LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

-July t 2001 Augus

2002

Afroman shares a bong and some pizza with the HITS staff just a week before 9/11, as “Because I Got High” proceeds to plummet down the charts when everyone prefers just hitting themselves over the head with a ball peen hammer.

In a historic pairing, HITS hooks up with Radio & Records and Premiere Radio to carry the Mediabase charts. Billboard learns they’ll have to renew their subscriptions. Too bad R&R never recovered

Courtney Love tells UMG’s Zach Horowitz, “We really should get to know each other better” at Clive’s preGrammy party. She then borrows $25 to take a cab home.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “I happen to be a very optimistic, positive person— that’s why I’m in promotion.” Richard Palmese

“You’re lucky you don’t get 53-year-old chicks flashing their tits, because they’d be down to their waists.” Sharon Osborne, on Ozzfest fans

“The most obvious result of the new team will be that it will ruin Whalley’s golf game.” Irving Azoff, on new WB executive hierarchy

“If we are successful, EMI has to be the best record company in the world. And by best, I mean a friendly environment for artists and executives.” Alain Levy, EMI

“I’m just a schlepper, OK? We’re trying to sell some records. Nothing complicated here.” David Munns, EMI

“In a short amount of time, we’ve become highly competitive. We are absolutely a label to watch.” L.A. Reid, Arista “Sometimes the record companies are in love with you, and sometimes they’re not.” Tom Calderone, MTV

“I learned a lot from Alain, and drank a lot of beer with Munnsy.” Roger Ames, WMG, on the new team of Alain Levy and David Munns

130 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Eminem, Eminem Show (Aftermath/Interscope)


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Apple’s Steve Jobs introduces the iTunes Music Store, and the Age of Downloads officially begins.

EMI Music Collective launches with Kevin Carroll named promo head. Group includes Bruce Lundvall’s Blue Note and Manhattan along with Astralwerks, helps launch Norah Jones into superstardom with a Grammy sweep.

Hilary Rosen steps down from the RIAA to “spend time with my children” and become a D.C. talking head, then lobbyist, with Mitch Bainwol named her successor.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “I have a very unexcited prostate, if you wanna know. And that’s the way we like it.” Keith Richards

“Downloading music [is] going to be an enormous revenue stream within two or three years, when we finally get traction.” Doug Morris, UMG

“Consumers don’t want to be treated like criminals, and artists don’t want their work stolen.” Steve Jobs, Apple, on the debut of the iTunes store

“If you have a product people want, they will buy it, even if they have already downloaded it.” Joe McFadden, Capitol Records

“I don’t do sniping, I told you that. So you can’t get me to do it.” Mick Jagger

“I am thrilled that I will continue my long-standing relationship with Sony to create a company that I believe will become a blueprint for the music business in the coming years.” Thomas D. Mottola

“She’s not afraid to face the real issues of her life. She radiates the kind of charisma it takes to be a successful recording artist.” Andy Slater, Capitol, on Lisa-Marie Presley

“SACD and DVD are both configurations with a number of benefits, including improved sound quality and enhanced content.” Jim Urie, UMVD

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Norah Jones, Come Away With Me (Blue Note) 134 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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04 uly 20 J 3 0 0 t2 Augus

HITS finally became eligible to vote with its 18th anniversary issue, Van Arno’s cover placing us in a casket marked “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” as a group of politicians, led by George W., Dick Cheney, Al Gore and John Kerry, sought to deep-six us in the midst of the ongoing Iraqi war. Clive Davis and Ahmet Ertegun graced our Front Page, while Lenny and Ivana waxed and waned in the Introduction over the declining state of the record business. “After giving you the best years of my life, I still like this place,” said Ivana almost seven years ago. “Wonder if Trakin can write another year of this crap,” answered Beer. You, dear reader, are now holding the answer in your grubby hands.

Edgar Bronfman Jr. begins setting up operations after his Nov. ’03, $2.6 billion WMG acquisition, financed in part by private equity guru Thomas H. Lee, is complete, with Lyor Cohen as his point guy, while Elektra’s Sylvia Rhone and Atlantic’s Val Azzoli exit the label group. Cohen brings in ex-colleagues Julie Greenwald as Atlantic Records Group President and Kevin Liles as WMG EVP. The fun was just beginning.

MTV gets the year off to a stunning start at the VMAs with a lip lock between Madonna and Christina Aguilera, which pleases our own Lenny Beer’s inner lesbian.

Vivendi Universal takes UMG off the table in its bid to sell its entertainment assets, with General Electric shelling out $3.8 billion in cash for 80% of the new company, of which $3.3 billion went directly to reducing VU’s debt. The new company is dubbed NBC Universal and immediately begins plans for a “My Mother the Car” ride at Universal Studios. Less than a decade later, the company would once more change hands, with Comcast the buyer and GE the seller.

MTV Networks Prez Van Toffler is honored with the 2004 City of Hope “Spirit of Life” award, though it’s not for bringing the Material Girl and Aguilera together, but for keeping Michael Moore away from Bill O’Reilly at the VMA after-party. Yes politics made for some strange bedfellows, but then again, so did the music network.

In an attempt to get their $3 billion worth, BMG North American officially realigns its labels, with the RCA Music Group now including RCA, J and Arista, and the Zomba Label Group encompassing Jive, LaFace, Verity, Volcano, Violator and So So Def. Clive Davis, completing his remarkable comeback from near-retirement after being forced from Arista, and Charles Goldstuck are put in charge of the former, with Barry Weiss named President/CEO of the latter, reporting to both. No word on who gets to housebreak Nipper. “L.A.” Reid resigns as head of Arista and lands at IDJ, thanks to old pal Doug Morris, where he names Steve Bartels Island Prexy and forces him to buy a new wardrobe.

Longtime BMI head Frances Preston announces she will step down from her post…”only after someone pries this gavel from my stiff little fingers.” Del Bryant is named her successor as we never again will have the pleasure of hearing Preston utter the phrase, “Big Pimpin’.” 136 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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MAP founder Buddy Arnold and Carole Fields pass away within months of one another, as The Recording Academy takes over the organization and merges it within the MusiCares program.

Tom Freston is named Viacom Co-President/Co-CEO with Les Moonves, as the former is put in charge of buffing the nails on Sumner Redstone’s left hand and the latter taking the right. Guess who won this face-off? Sony and Bertelsmann announce plans to merge their operations under the leadership of Rolf Lack-Holtz, as wienerschnitzel and sushi are served at the press conference and the term “Axis of Evil” is resurrected for the pairing of the Japanese and Germans. Andrew Lack is named company CEO, with BMG’s Schmidt-Holtz as non-executive Chairman. BMG’s Michael Smellie is COO, while Sony’s Kevin Kelleher is named CFO.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “Viacom is a company that I love and one that I know intimately.” Tom Freston, Viacom “Starting in the late ‘70s, I was really wacked out.” Walter Yetnikoff

“The company will be dedicated to serving the needs of its artists, while at the same time enriching the lives of music lovers around the world.” Andrew Lack, Sony BMG

“This is an amazing opportunity to work with Doug, Zach and Jimmy, who are the absolute best in the business. The Island and Def Jam brands have had such a tremendous impact on popular music culture, and it’s an honor to carry this legacy into the future.” Antonio “L.A.” Reid on being named IDJ Chairman

“Music is more popular than ever—it’s been integrated into every facet of our lives, but with the current economic state of the business, it’s critical that we develop and deliver the best music possible.” Jeff Kwatinetz, The Firm

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Usher, Confessions (LaFace/ZLG)


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

04 uly 20 J 3 0 0 t2 Augus

MAP founder Buddy Arnold and Carole Fields pass away within months of one another, as The Recording Academy takes over the organization and merges it within the MusiCares program.

Tom Freston is named Viacom Co-President/Co-CEO with Les Moonves, as the former is put in charge of buffing the nails on Sumner Redstone’s left hand and the latter taking the right. Guess who won this face-off? Sony and Bertelsmann announce plans to merge their operations under the leadership of Rolf Lack-Holtz, as wienerschnitzel and sushi are served at the press conference and the term “Axis of Evil” is resurrected for the pairing of the Japanese and Germans. Andrew Lack is named company CEO, with BMG’s Schmidt-Holtz as non-executive Chairman. BMG’s Michael Smellie is COO, while Sony’s Kevin Kelleher is named CFO.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “Viacom is a company that I love and one that I know intimately.” Tom Freston, Viacom “Starting in the late ‘70s, I was really wacked out.” Walter Yetnikoff

“The company will be dedicated to serving the needs of its artists, while at the same time enriching the lives of music lovers around the world.” Andrew Lack, Sony BMG

“This is an amazing opportunity to work with Doug, Zach and Jimmy, who are the absolute best in the business. The Island and Def Jam brands have had such a tremendous impact on popular music culture, and it’s an honor to carry this legacy into the future.” Antonio “L.A.” Reid on being named IDJ Chairman

“Music is more popular than ever—it’s been integrated into every facet of our lives, but with the current economic state of the business, it’s critical that we develop and deliver the best music possible.” Jeff Kwatinetz, The Firm

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Usher, Confessions (LaFace/ZLG) 138 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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05 uly 20 J 4 0 0 t2 Augus

HITS paid tribute to the new Jack radio format with the “wild card”-inspired cover to its 19th anniversary issue, featuring the heads of promotion at the various labels in the form of playing cards. OK, so it wasn’t our most inventive, but we were saving ourselves for the following year’s gala 20th, so cut us a break. Our illustrious Editor Emeritus Dave Adelson penned our traditional intro, with the tag-line, “Remember the time when FedEx was king and there was no e-mail trail to follow?” Well, neither did we, while reminiscing, “It isn’t nearly as satisfying as billbacks, as outrageous as radio group toll charges or as beneficial as charging the WORK Group outrageous sums.”

Shawn Carter, aka rap legend Jay-Z, is named President of the Def Jam label, then announces he’s retiring… from attending the weekly marketing meetings.

UMVD’s Jim Urie announces the formation of indie distribbery Fontana. Not to be outdone, WMG’s Lyor Cohen launches The Incubator, an initiative to upstream developing artists.

With Rascal Flatts and Hilary Duff, Disney’s Buena Vista Music Group scores the top two debuts on the album chart for the first time in its history. Robert Iger finally returns Bob Cavallo’s phone calls.

Sylvia Rhone is named President of Motown Records and EVP Universal Records. “Hey, Baby” T-shirts go on sale in the office gift store.

N.Y. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer launches an investigation of independent radio promotion and payola, then announces his candidacy for Governor. Sony BMG agrees to pay a $10 million fine and promises to stop using illegal airplay tactics. Spitzer is sidetracked by a would-be singer who moonlighted as a high-priced hooker by the name of Ashley Dupre.

HITS’ Lenny Beer, UMPG’s Tom Sturges and The Doors manager Jeff Jampol, later to be joined by Rhino’s David Dorn, introduce their UCLA course, “The Music Business Now,” which gives new meaning to the term “teacher’s pet.”

Jermaine Dupri is named President of Virgin Records’ newly launched Urban Music Division, while Mike Davis is tapped as UMVD EVP Sales & Marketing. Neither returns our congratulatory e-mails.

Irving Azoff’s Azoffmusic Management and Howard Kaufman’s H.K. Management reunite to reform Front Line, the management company they ran from 1974-’83, with backing from the ubiquitous Thomas H. Lee.

Sir Howard Stringer is named Chairman/CEO for Sony Corp., the first non-Japanese executive to head the company. He vows to return the Walkman to prominence.

Mariah Carey’s comeback, The Emancipation of Mimi, debuts at #1 and goes on to become the year’s top seller for L.A. Reid’s Island Def Jam.

Clear Channel spins off its concert promotion division under Michael Rapino, eventually renamed Live Nation

Linkin Park demands to be released from its Warner Music Group contract on the eve of the company’s IPO. WMG cuts the price of shares from a hoped-for $22-24 to $17, raising $554 million, $100 million less than planned. EMI offers WMG $20 a share, but are rebuffed. Six years later, Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries would pay $8.25 a share to buy the company. 140 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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Zomba Music Publishing’s Richard Blackstone prepares to succeed Les Bider as head of Warner/Chappell.

Andrew Lack inks Bruce Springsteen to a deal said to be worth as much as $100 million, which doesn’t sit well with top-level execs for Sony or BMG. Now, who’s the boss?

Atlantic Records Co-Chairman/Co-CEO Jason Flom gets his walking papers from Lyor Cohen during a stopover at LAX and is subsequently named President/CEO of Virgin Records, replacing Matt Serletic. Lee Trink is named his GM.

Hurricane Katrina rips through New Orleans, as former MTV exec Joel Gallen helms a one-hour live telethon to raise funds for those affected.

Christina Norman takes over MTV, with Tom Calderone moving over to VH1.

Don Ienner restructures Sony Music, with Steve Barnett becoming Chairman of Columbia and Charlie Walk President of Epic. Michele Anthony is named President/COO and Tom Donnarumma is tapped as GM of Columbia. Of course, all that would change in a matter of months.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “Xzibit took one look at my 1984 Ford Tempo and deemed it ‘unpimpable.’” Van Toffler, MTV

“Steve and Apple’s impact with the iPod and iTunes will be looked back upon as important as any instrument or device ever created for the music industry.” Jimmy Iovine, IGA

“I was screwed up on drugs. I took LSD, marijuana and amphetamines all at once.” Brian Wilson, on the making of SMILE “Online is taking its place alongside radio, video and touring as a venue to break new acts.” Jay Frank, Yahoo! Music

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: 50 Cent, The Massacre (Shady/Aftermath/Iinterscope) 142 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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06 uly 20 J 5 0 0 t2 Augus

HITS’ gala 20th anniversary issue featured a stunning Van Arno limited-edition collectible Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover with the tag line, “Well It Was 20 Years Ago Today.” The issue began with an Azoffmusic Management ad in the form of a letter from Shelli Azoff insisting this would be the last time we could come to them hat in hand. Wonder how that worked out. There was also Dave Adelson on the cross and a “Where Are They Now?” 1991 photo of the MTV gang, including Tom Freston, Judy McGrath, Abbey Konowitch, Doug Herzog and Joel Gallen with the one and only Michael Jackson. Who knew we’d outlast every one of ’em?

Marketing guru Steve Berman and promo goddess Brenda Romano are appointed Co-Presidents of Interscope, although we only read about it three months later in Billboard.

Korn enters a partnership deal with EMI, which puts the music group “in the Korn business,” sharing in all revenue streams in exchange for $25 million up front. Manager Jeff Kwatinetz would end up using most of the proceeds to buy up ABC soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live just five years later.

Steve Jobs unveils the video iPod, and begins selling videos and TV shows at the iTunes Music Store.

Clear Channel fires WWPR N.Y.’s Michael Saunders and KHTZ San Diego’s Diana Laird in a fallout from Eliot Spitzer’s investigation of Sony BMG’s involvement with indie promo.

Don Ienner names Michele Anthony President/COO of the Sony Music Label Group.

Sony BMG’s newly installed Compliance Officer Gil Aronow sets up “the Rat Line,” in which whistle-blowers are encouraged to report any payola wrongdoings.

Cumulus Media acquires Susquehanna’s 23 radio stations for $1.2 billion, making them the #3 broadcasting chain in the country behind Clear Channel and Infinity.

Mariah Carey, Kanye West and protégé John Legend lead the Grammy field with eight nominations apiece.

Sony BMG reveals it has installed “rootkit” spyware, compromising computer security, in numerous copy-protected CDs, resulting in class action suits, a massive CD recall and a software fix, as “Andygate” shifts into overdrive.

MTV’s Amy Doyle is upped to SVP of Music and Talent, in a reorganization that finds Peter Baron expanding his VP Label Relations duties. Speaking of, whatever happened to him?

144 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Rick Sackheim is named SVP Promotion at Island Def Jam, and buys a new pair of expensive loafers.

RMG Promo EVP Richard Palmese is honored by City of Hope, earns his angel wings.

Musicland files for Chapter 11 after closing 61 Media Play stores and another 11 Sam Goody locations.


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Robert Hilburn accepts an L.A. Times buyout to leave as the paper’s regular pop critic.

Herr Rolf Schmidt-Holtz is named Chairman of Sony BMG, with Tim Bowen the new COO, replacing the unfortunately named Michael Smellie and initiating a barrage of dancing Germans in HITS’ Airhead cartoons.

Doug Morris and Mel Lewinter prove downright Solomonic in splitting Universal Records in two, with Monte Lipman heading Universal Republic and Sylvia Rhone Universal Motown

SRC’s Steve Rifkind is given a full-serve label to go along with his existing Universal Motown imprint.

VH1’s Rick Krim rolls out the net’s “You Oughta Know” artist development program, with early success stories like KT Tunstall, James Blunt and The Fray.

Rolf Schmidt-Holtz names Don Ienner Chairman of the Sony Music Label Group U.S., but not for long, as Ienner and Michele Anthony are shown the door, with U.K./Ireland head Rob Stringer, brother of Howard, taking the reins on Sept. 1.

Jordan Schur’s Suretone Records launches with Weezer, The Cure and Rooney, among others. He has a successful debut with blink-182 spin-off Angels & Airwaves debuting in the Top 5.

EMI sweetens its original offer for WMG to $32 a share, bringing the total sale price to $4.75 billion, but the EC pours cold water all over that plan.

Mike Davis splits UMVD to join Bruce Resnikoff’s UMe as EVP/GM and still won’t answer Mark Pearson’s e-mails.

Ian Montone takes down his attorney shingle and launches Monotone Inc., a management company repping White Stripes, the Shins and the Raconteurs.

Michael Jackson agrees to sell half of his 50% stake in Sony/ATV back to the company, as legal eagle John Branca clears a cool $20 million for his 5% in the company.

t BLAME HER, SHE SAID IT t ”I’m in a nice relationship with a nice man, and so I kind of had to look outside of my own personal turmoil for inspiration to write. There’s so much going on, to not be affected by the news is really difficult.” Norah Jones

146 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Mariah Carey, The Emancipation of Mimi (Island/IDJ)


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07 uly 20 J 6 0 0 t2 Augus

HITS turned 21 just as the industry continued to crater, prompting a tabloid-esque anniversary issue cover that boasted “Apple Stock Drops to 6.99,” with Steve Jobs crying like a baby amid rumors the label groups “will no longer license to iTunes, sources deny collusion, insist the joint decision was ‘merely coincidental.’” Other highlights: “Bronfman Trades in WMG for ’57 Chevy: ‘A good deal for shareholders.’” Last, but far from least, “Jimmy and Doug to Relaunch Farmclub” and “Irving Makes History: Lips move…He Tells the Truth!”

Shares of WMG plummet from the previous high of $31 to $23 after the company abandons talks with EMI as Citigroup reiterates its sell rating, downgrading the target price from $25 to $19.

After Billboard acquires R&R, the 1,100-plus Clear Channel stations now report only to CC-owned Mediabase.

A homemade video showing Capitol Records band OK Go’s synchronized dance routine on treadmills enjoys a viral explosion on the burgeoning YouTube, catapulting the band’s album back on the charts.

Bertelsmann accepts UMG’s $2.1 billion offer for BMG Songs, which is merged into Universal Music Publishing under David Renzer.

MTV architect Tom Freston gets his walking papers from Viacom boss Sumner Redstone after only eight months in a losing power struggle with CBS’ Les Moonves. Freston reportedly drew Redstone’s ire when he failed to win a bidding war for MySpace, which went to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. for a reported $580 million.

Marty Bandier announces an early exit from EMI Publishing and ends up as head of a revitalized Sony/ATV as he attempts to smoke a cigar and moondance at the same time.

Gary Marella is named SVP Promo for Universal Motown. Steve Ralbovsky moves from RCA to Columbia as SVP A&R, garnering his own Canvasback imprint, which releases the cult sensation Once soundtrack.

Lee Leipsner returns to Epic as SVP Pop, with Jon Borris named VP Promo Ops and Aimee Vaughan L.A.-based VP Pop. Joel Klaiman gets his SVP Promotion/Artist Development stripes at Universal Republic.

Newly named EMI Music Publishing head Roger Faxon replaces EVP Evan Lamberg with ex-HITS grueler Dan McCarroll. Michael Williams is upped to SVP Rhythm Crossover for RCA Music Group.

EMI Music’s Alain Levy and David Munns are “abruptly terminated,” with Chairman Eric Nicoli taking the reigns, appointing JF Cecillon to head up international and filling the office vending machines with Yorkie Bars. He then announces the merger of Capitol and Virgin, naming Jason Flom Chairman/CEO of the Capitol Music Group and ushering Capitol President Andy Slater out the door.

The legendary record man Ahmet Ertegun passes away after a fall backstage during a Rolling Stones show puts him in a coma.

Ronnie Lippin passes away from a rare form of breast cancer in a year that also saw the deaths of music scribes Paul Nelson and Ellen Willis and A&R legend Karin Berg. 148 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Joe Riccitelli is upped to EVP Pop Promotion at Zomba Label Group and celebrates by cutting off all of Britney Spears’ hair.


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Octone Records moves from RCA to Interscope, with label ruler James Diener installed as President of the new entity after he buys out RMG and cuts a new deal, taking Maroon 5 with him.

The Dixie Chicks sweep the Grammys, winning Record, Song and Album of the year, as Rick Rubin, soon to join Columbia, is named Producer of the Year. Rubin is then annointed “creative czar” at the label, where he is regarded as Co-Chairman with Steve Barnett.

Larry Mestel’s Primary Wave Publishing nabs Julian Lennon’s portion of the Beatles catalog.

Guy Hands’ private equity firm Terra Firma bids $4.7 billion for EMI. The board approves. At the last minute, Citigroup tries to change its financing package.

Bob Morelli is upped to President of RED. David Massey is tapped as President of the revived Mercury Records, where he finds leftover joints in the office shared by Ed Eckstine and Mike Bone.

Adam Granite is upped to Epic Records GM. Longtime Clive Davis protégé Tom Corson is promoted to EVP/GM for RCA Music Group, with Richard Sanders named head of Sony BMG Global Marketing.

Jay Frank goes from Yahoo! to Yee-Haw! as SVP Music Strategy for the Nashvillebased country music video channel CMT under EVP/GM Brian Philips.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t

“I look forward to extending the reach of our roster as we break new artists and take established stars to even greater heights.” (Now, has anyone seen my Xanax?) Joel Klaiman, Universal Republic

“Nothing will change as it pertains to independent labels getting their records on the radio. Spitzer’s crusade sealed our coffin; the FCC will proceed to bury it.” (Always the shy, retiring type) Tony Brummel, Victory Records

“‘How you doing, pal?’...finger pistols in person. I’m pretty sure Dale Connone has ‘Hey Buddy’ trademarked.” Peter Gray, RCA, on whether he’s more of a “Hey, Buddy” or “How you doing, pal?” kind of guy.

“Working with the largest country music network and website in the world is an enormous opportunity to help take country music to new, unforeseen heights.” (And so was the invention of the kazoo) Jay Frank, on joining CMT as SVP Music Strategy

“I am eager to be a part of the talented team of executives dedicated to strengthening and propelling J/Arista into an even stronger force in today’s music industry.” (Think I can get invited to Clive’s pre-Grammy party now?) Geo Bivins, J/Arista Records

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: High School Musical 2 (Walt Disney Records)


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07 uly 20 J 6 0 0 t2 Augus

Octone Records moves from RCA to Interscope, with label ruler James Diener installed as President of the new entity after he buys out RMG and cuts a new deal, taking Maroon 5 with him.

The Dixie Chicks sweep the Grammys, winning Record, Song and Album of the year, as Rick Rubin, soon to join Columbia, is named Producer of the Year. Rubin is then annointed “creative czar” at the label, where he is regarded as Co-Chairman with Steve Barnett.

Larry Mestel’s Primary Wave Publishing nabs Julian Lennon’s portion of the Beatles catalog.

Guy Hands’ private equity firm Terra Firma bids $4.7 billion for EMI. The board approves. At the last minute, Citigroup tries to change its financing package.

Bob Morelli is upped to President of RED. David Massey is tapped as President of the revived Mercury Records, where he finds leftover joints in the office shared by Ed Eckstine and Mike Bone.

Adam Granite is upped to Epic Records GM. Longtime Clive Davis protégé Tom Corson is promoted to EVP/GM for RCA Music Group, with Richard Sanders named head of Sony BMG Global Marketing.

Jay Frank goes from Yahoo! to Yee-Haw! as SVP Music Strategy for the Nashvillebased country music video channel CMT under EVP/GM Brian Philips.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t

“I look forward to extending the reach of our roster as we break new artists and take established stars to even greater heights.” (Now, has anyone seen my Xanax?) Joel Klaiman, Universal Republic

“Nothing will change as it pertains to independent labels getting their records on the radio. Spitzer’s crusade sealed our coffin; the FCC will proceed to bury it.” (Always the shy, retiring type) Tony Brummel, Victory Records

“‘How you doing, pal?’...finger pistols in person. I’m pretty sure Dale Connone has ‘Hey Buddy’ trademarked.” Peter Gray, RCA, on whether he’s more of a “Hey, Buddy” or “How you doing, pal?” kind of guy.

“Working with the largest country music network and website in the world is an enormous opportunity to help take country music to new, unforeseen heights.” (And so was the invention of the kazoo) Jay Frank, on joining CMT as SVP Music Strategy

“I am eager to be a part of the talented team of executives dedicated to strengthening and propelling J/Arista into an even stronger force in today’s music industry.” (Think I can get invited to Clive’s pre-Grammy party now?) Geo Bivins, J/Arista Records

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: High School Musical 2 (Walt Disney Records) 150 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

08 uly 20 J 7 0 0 t2 Augus

Desperate for any sort of angle as industry sales continued to plummet, HITS’ 22nd anniversary issue was re-dubbed our “1,000th issue,” with Alfred E. Neuman as the Captain of the Titanic and the tagline, “What, Us Worry?” Our illustrious Editor-in-Chief Lenny Beer even deigned to write an intro, remembering back when he and partner Dennis Lavinthal were “Two Wild and Savvy Guys.” It was the best of times and the worst of times, and all of them were contained in this nostalgic look back on 22 years of mayhem.

Terra Firma acquires EMI Music for $4.9 billion, and Eric Nicoli is removed from command. Roger Ames is named head of EMI’s N.A. operations, with all label heads reporting to him, though not for long. Guy Hands kicks off the new year by eliminating one-third of the company’s worldwide workforce, up to 2,000 jobs altogether.

Amazon.com opens its own music-download store, dubbed Amazon MP3, taking on iTunes with its $3.99 Daily Deals.

Radiohead leaves EMI, offering downloads of its new album In Rainbows for whatever fans want to pay, causing the entire biz to sit up and take notice. The band agrees to put out the physical CD through Coran Capshaw’s label operation.

Madonna and Live Nation’s Michael Rapino announce a reported $120 million, 10-year deal, marking the artist’s farewell to longtime label Warner Bros., followed by similar pacts with Jay-Z, Shakira and Nickelback. The Eagles’ Walmart exclusive on Long Road Out of Eden bows at #1 with the year’s second-highest first-week total of 707k, which forces Billboard to reverse their policy of not counting albums in their chart that are sold by a single retailer. Amy Winehouse takes home five Grammys, including Record, Song and Best New Artist, to launch her tragic career. Herbie Hancock shocks everyone by winning Album of the Year for The Joni Letters.

Moral crusader and payola foe Eliot Spitzer resigns in disgrace as N.Y. Governor after being nailed in a sex probe.

The WMG board rewards Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Lyor Cohen by renewing their deals, making our own Todd Hensley, the online voice of Lyor, very happy.

Clive Davis is replaced by Zomba’s Barry Weiss as the head of BMG and offered the newly created job of Chief Creative Officer. Davis’ #2 Charles Goldstuck and SBMG COO Tim Bowen are also given their walking papers. Island U.K. chief Nick Gatfield becomes President of A&R Labels for EMI Music N.A. and U.K., while Roger Ames is moved to a consulting gig with parent company Terra Firma. 152 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

08 uly 20 J 7 0 0 t2 Augus

Desperate for any sort of angle as industry sales continued to plummet, HITS’ 22nd anniversary issue was re-dubbed our “1,000th issue,” with Alfred E. Neuman as the Captain of the Titanic and the tagline, “What, Us Worry?” Our illustrious Editor-in-Chief Lenny Beer even deigned to write an intro, remembering back when he and partner Dennis Lavinthal were “Two Wild and Savvy Guys.” It was the best of times and the worst of times, and all of them were contained in this nostalgic look back on 22 years of mayhem.

Terra Firma acquires EMI Music for $4.9 billion, and Eric Nicoli is removed from command. Roger Ames is named head of EMI’s N.A. operations, with all label heads reporting to him, though not for long. Guy Hands kicks off the new year by eliminating one-third of the company’s worldwide workforce, up to 2,000 jobs altogether.

Amazon.com opens its own music-download store, dubbed Amazon MP3, taking on iTunes with its $3.99 Daily Deals.

Radiohead leaves EMI, offering downloads of its new album In Rainbows for whatever fans want to pay, causing the entire biz to sit up and take notice. The band agrees to put out the physical CD through Coran Capshaw’s label operation.

Madonna and Live Nation’s Michael Rapino announce a reported $120 million, 10-year deal, marking the artist’s farewell to longtime label Warner Bros., followed by similar pacts with Jay-Z, Shakira and Nickelback. The Eagles’ Walmart exclusive on Long Road Out of Eden bows at #1 with the year’s second-highest first-week total of 707k, which forces Billboard to reverse their policy of not counting albums in their chart that are sold by a single retailer. Amy Winehouse takes home five Grammys, including Record, Song and Best New Artist, to launch her tragic career. Herbie Hancock shocks everyone by winning Album of the Year for The Joni Letters.

Moral crusader and payola foe Eliot Spitzer resigns in disgrace as N.Y. Governor after being nailed in a sex probe.

The WMG board rewards Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Lyor Cohen by renewing their deals, making our own Todd Hensley, the online voice of Lyor, very happy.

Clive Davis is replaced by Zomba’s Barry Weiss as the head of BMG and offered the newly created job of Chief Creative Officer. Davis’ #2 Charles Goldstuck and SBMG COO Tim Bowen are also given their walking papers. Island U.K. chief Nick Gatfield becomes President of A&R Labels for EMI Music N.A. and U.K., while Roger Ames is moved to a consulting gig with parent company Terra Firma. 152 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

08 uly 20 J 7 0 0 t2 Augus

Cash Money/Universal Motown’s Lil Wayne flirts with a million in first-week sales for Tha Carter III in the biggest bow since 50 Cent’s The Masscare in March, 2005. A week later, EMI saviors Coldplay open with 729k, breaking the iTunes first-week sales record set by Jack Johnson earlier in the year.

A heated disagreement between Live Nation’s Michael Rapino and Michael Cohl over the extent of the company’s financial commitment to the artist business leads to Cohl’s resignation.

John Lenac is upped to Head of Programming and Artist/Label Relations at Yahoo Music. Didn’t someone by that name used to work here?

Bertelsmann announces plans to sell their half of SBMG back to Sony.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “NARM is actually stronger now that the business environment is worse.” (Just like poor people are better off with the Republican-approved budget) JJ Schaidler, Best Buy

“We consider [“You Oughta Know] the pre-eminent franchise in the video music world for breaking new artists.” (Second only to an appearance on The Hills) Rick Krim, VH1

“He speaks to the America I’ve envisioned in my music for the past 35 years.” (Who did you expect me to vote for, John McCain?) Bruce Springsteen on endorsing Barack Obama for President

”He’s more of a household name than people give him credit for.” (Who hasn’t heard of Weezy?) Sylvia Rhone, Universal Motown, on Lil Wayne “I look at EMI as my music business DNA.” (Hey, it beats humping Kevin Rowland’s amp any day) Nick Gatfield, EMI Music ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal Motown) 154 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

09 uly 20 J 8 0 0 t2 Augus

HITS’ 23rd anniversary issue offered yet another opportunity for us to put out our hands, much as the country’s banks and major automobile companies already had, in a blatant plea for money. Yes, “The Bailout Issue!” featured a typically brilliant Sam Viviano caricature of President Barack Obama, and a cardboard box in front of our brand-new North Hollywood digs labeled “Editorial Offices: Now Located on Street Level.” Yes, “23 Years of Taking Your Handouts” haven’t made us too proud to beg. In fact, it’s increased our desperation. An anonymous, typewritten introduction described how well the system worked in the Reagan decade: “I send the merch to my radio guys who give me enough paper adds to buy a Breaker and then expense the merch back to my label at full price.”

Guns N’ Roses, or should we say Axl Rose and whoever’s playing with him at the moment, are now managed by Irving Azoff and Andy Gould, with talk of a Best Buy exclusive for the long-awaited, 13-years-and-counting Chinese Democracy album.

Stephen Ferrara, who helped spearhead the success of reality TV alums Leona Lewis, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood’s RCA Music Group A&R exec, segues to EVP for Island and Mercury. Bertelsmann’s sale of its 50% of SBMG to Sony is complete, with the company renaming itself Sony Music Entertainment Inc., or SMEI for you acronym addicts.

AC/DC announce their first album in eight years, Black Ice, will come out in October, with ex-manager Steve Barnett and Sony’s Rob Stringer working out a Walmart deal for the Columbia release.

MTV’s Video Music Awards soar to an 8.1 p12-34, up 26% from last year and 37% from two years ago, making it the highest-rated telecast on cable year-todate. Van Toffler doesn’t have to kiss anyone, either. Q Prime pushes the official release date of Metallica’s new album, Death Magnetic, to Friday (9/12) as wonderers wonder about manager Cliff Burnstein’s obsession with that day of the week. It couldn’t be Rebecca Black, because she was an unknown then.

Kevin Weatherly is tapped as CBS Radio VP Programming by newly named SVP Market Manager Bob Laughlin, while GM Bob Moore is upped to Station Manager for the company’s SoCal properties.

Doug Morris is honored with the City of Hope’s “Spirit of Life” Award, raising a record $10 million, with .08% of that total going to feed Trakin hors d’oeuvres. Tom Calderone is upped to President of VH1, which is only slightly better than being named the ruler of Enron. His first move is naming ex-Buffalo Bill QB Jim Kelly his assistant PD.

Red-hot newcomer Adele’s incredible performance of “Chasing Pavement” on SNL boosts her to the top of the iTunes chart and pumps up her Grammy campaign.

HITS’ own Ivana B. Adored aka Karen Glauber and significant other Peter Rauh welcome the arrival of young Julian Michael, who came out humming “Mmmm Bop” and asking for a shrink appointment. Ticketmaster acquires Irving Azoff’s Front Line Management and installs him as CEO. Longtime record exec Jheryl Busby, former President of Urban Music at MCA Records, and later head of Motown, passes away at 59.

ATO’s Michael McDonald is the latest to join Irving Azoff’s Front Line, bringing with him a roster that includes John Mayer, Ray LaMontagne and Natalie Merchant.

Lil Wayne tops the Grammy nominations list with eight nods, announced for the first time on a prime-time CBS special in the middle of a gala week in which the Grammy Museum also opens its doors at LA Live.

London-based singer/songwriter Amanda Ghost is named Epic Records head, replacing Charlie Walk, by SME ruler Rob Stringer, forming the core of the company with label execs Adam Granite, Jacqueline Saturn and Lee Stimmel.

156 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

After Live Nation’s 10-year Ticketmaster deal expires, the concert promoter launches its own in-house ticketing division as Azoff and Rapino get set to make their own blockbuster announcement that they’re joining forces. Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy enters the chart at #3, with a disappointing 255k in first-week sales at Best Buy amid gripes about Axl’s refusal to promote the release.


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

09 uly 20 J 8 0 0 t2 Augus

HITS’ 23rd anniversary issue offered yet another opportunity for us to put out our hands, much as the country’s banks and major automobile companies already had, in a blatant plea for money. Yes, “The Bailout Issue!” featured a typically brilliant Sam Viviano caricature of President Barack Obama, and a cardboard box in front of our brand-new North Hollywood digs labeled “Editorial Offices: Now Located on Street Level.” Yes, “23 Years of Taking Your Handouts” haven’t made us too proud to beg. In fact, it’s increased our desperation. An anonymous, typewritten introduction described how well the system worked in the Reagan decade: “I send the merch to my radio guys who give me enough paper adds to buy a Breaker and then expense the merch back to my label at full price.”

Guns N’ Roses, or should we say Axl Rose and whoever’s playing with him at the moment, are now managed by Irving Azoff and Andy Gould, with talk of a Best Buy exclusive for the long-awaited, 13-years-and-counting Chinese Democracy album.

Stephen Ferrara, who helped spearhead the success of reality TV alums Leona Lewis, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood’s RCA Music Group A&R exec, segues to EVP for Island and Mercury. Bertelsmann’s sale of its 50% of SBMG to Sony is complete, with the company renaming itself Sony Music Entertainment Inc., or SMEI for you acronym addicts.

AC/DC announce their first album in eight years, Black Ice, will come out in October, with ex-manager Steve Barnett and Sony’s Rob Stringer working out a Walmart deal for the Columbia release.

MTV’s Video Music Awards soar to an 8.1 p12-34, up 26% from last year and 37% from two years ago, making it the highest-rated telecast on cable year-todate. Van Toffler doesn’t have to kiss anyone, either. Q Prime pushes the official release date of Metallica’s new album, Death Magnetic, to Friday (9/12) as wonderers wonder about manager Cliff Burnstein’s obsession with that day of the week. It couldn’t be Rebecca Black, because she was an unknown then.

Kevin Weatherly is tapped as CBS Radio VP Programming by newly named SVP Market Manager Bob Laughlin, while GM Bob Moore is upped to Station Manager for the company’s SoCal properties.

Doug Morris is honored with the City of Hope’s “Spirit of Life” Award, raising a record $10 million, with .08% of that total going to feed Trakin hors d’oeuvres. Tom Calderone is upped to President of VH1, which is only slightly better than being named the ruler of Enron. His first move is naming ex-Buffalo Bill QB Jim Kelly his assistant PD.

Red-hot newcomer Adele’s incredible performance of “Chasing Pavement” on SNL boosts her to the top of the iTunes chart and pumps up her Grammy campaign.

HITS’ own Ivana B. Adored aka Karen Glauber and significant other Peter Rauh welcome the arrival of young Julian Michael, who came out humming “Mmmm Bop” and asking for a shrink appointment. Ticketmaster acquires Irving Azoff’s Front Line Management and installs him as CEO. Longtime record exec Jheryl Busby, former President of Urban Music at MCA Records, and later head of Motown, passes away at 59.

ATO’s Michael McDonald is the latest to join Irving Azoff’s Front Line, bringing with him a roster that includes John Mayer, Ray LaMontagne and Natalie Merchant.

Lil Wayne tops the Grammy nominations list with eight nods, announced for the first time on a prime-time CBS special in the middle of a gala week in which the Grammy Museum also opens its doors at LA Live.

London-based singer/songwriter Amanda Ghost is named Epic Records head, replacing Charlie Walk, by SME ruler Rob Stringer, forming the core of the company with label execs Adam Granite, Jacqueline Saturn and Lee Stimmel.

156 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

After Live Nation’s 10-year Ticketmaster deal expires, the concert promoter launches its own in-house ticketing division as Azoff and Rapino get set to make their own blockbuster announcement that they’re joining forces. Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy enters the chart at #3, with a disappointing 255k in first-week sales at Best Buy amid gripes about Axl’s refusal to promote the release.


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

09 uly 20 J 8 0 0 t2 Augus

Mark DiDia surfaces at Island Records, where he’s named EVP/GM in charge of filling the Bob Marley memorial bong in the lobby.

EMI’s Guy Hands is reportedly in danger of defaulting on a Citigroup loan of $4 billion, which comes due in March.

Azoff and Rapino meet the heat in DC, undergoing intensive grilling from N.Y. Senator Chuck Schumer about Ticketmaster subsidiary TicketsNow’s role in connection with Springsteen ticket sales in New Jersey.

A&M/Octone’s James Diener continues his surprising run with Hollywood Undead and reggae poet K’Naan.

Guy Hands officially steps away from the day-to-day at EMI as his empire continues to crumble around him. He names noted Italian heartthrob Elio Leoni-Sceti to take over, and promptly sees him lose his phone number.

ILG CEO Todd Moscowitz is named EVP at WB by Edgar and Lyor.

Veteran Peter Gray skies to the post of SVP Promotion for RCA Music Group, while Todd Glassman is named SVP at Universal Motown.

On the eve of his 50-date concert schedule at London’s O2 Arena, Michael Jackson is found dead in his Holmby Hills estate from cardiac arrest, with an unprecedented run on his albums resulting in the top three sellers of the week. John Branca and John McClain are named administrators of the will, while mom Katherine Jackson is named guardian for his three children.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “The success of Hollywood Undead’s new album launch is testament to months of dedicated online, offline and viral artist development.” (Not to mention a substantial amount of payola) James Diener, A&M/Octone

“The independent landscape will increase as more established artists take an ‘I can do it myself’ approach.” (Of course, that will leave the rest of us out of work) Ron Spaulding, Fontana Distribution

“Record Store Day is indeed a one-day event, but we are now working to brand it year-round.” (Hopefully, we’ll have enough vinyl to go around) Mike Kurtz, Music Monitor Network

“The consumer base has splintered, creating a much wider opportunity for customization of packaging and content to super-serve each level of fan from casual to fanatical—all priced appropriately.” (Whaddaya mean, they want everything for free?) Dominic Pandiscia, EMI Label Services/Caroline Distribution

158 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

“I’m happy to continue making coffee for Monte and Avery.” (One lump or two, guys?) Tom Mackay, on being named Universal Republic EVP Promotion

“We know customers are not one-size-fits-all, so we’re responding accordingly.” (That’s like picking out a pair of Spanx for Mark Pearson) Darren Stupak, EMI Music

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Taylor Swift, Fearless (Big Machine)


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

10 uly 20 J 9 0 0 t2 Augus

For HITS’ 24th anniversary cover, we had the great Sam Viviano recreate the Mt. Rushmore of present-day label group heads, which already had Sony Music’s Rolf Schmidt-Holtz being removed with Lucian Grainge lifted to replace Doug Morris at UMG. Little did we know Doug would maintain his place among the elite after taking over for Rolf at Sony. Our intro page paid tribute to some of radio promotion’s most cherished traditions, the “paper add” and, with a nod towards a 1996 Joe Isgro interview in the magazine: “We’re not 24. We’re 23/1 in R&R.” If you have to ask what R&R is, you’re too young to understand.

Following his death, Michael Jackson turns out to be a mighty moneymaker as Sony Music races to fulfill orders for 7 million albums, 3 million in the U.S. John Branca and John McClain are key figures as co-executors of the estate. AEG looks to recoup its $30m investment in the ill-fated “This Is It” concerts by selling rights to a documentary to Sony Pictures after a vigorous bidding war.

As Guy Hands desperately tries to avoid defaulting on his EMI Music loan to Citigroup, rumors begin to fly about a possible acquisition of its recorded music operations by WMG, whose Edgar Bronfman has close ties with the bank’s Richard Parsons from his acquisition of Warner. EA releases its annual Madden NFL 10, making Steve Schnur the most important person in the music business for a week.

Greg Thompson is upped to EVP Marketing and Promotion for EMI, while Angelica Cob-Baehler’s responsibilities are expanded to SVP Media and Creative Services. In its first project outside the major label system, Pearl Jam make a big-box deal with Target for Backspacer, their new studio album, as “The Fixer” hits Top 5 at Alternative and Top 10 at Triple A and Modern Rock.

Live Nation experiences success in its first foray into recorded music with Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 3, which debuted with 465k in first-week sales and a monster hit in “Empire State of Mind,” thanks to a perfect set-up by Atlantic Records and his Roc Nation crew. Bill Burrs and Adrian Moreira are named SVPs of Rock Music Promotion and Adult Music, respectively, for RCA/Jive Label Group and RCA Music Group. Neither has ever heard of Todd Hensley.

Ashley Newton is named Columbia Records President, the role left vacant when Steve Barnett was named Chairman/CEO of the label in 2005.

Longshot Susan Boyle’s magical YouTube-fueled journey from Britain’s Got Talent culminates in first-week sales of 700k for her Syco/Columbia album I Dreamed a Dream, the year’s largest total.

160 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Columbia and Fox announce plans to release Glee: The Music Vol. 1, as the fall’s runaway TV hit spawns 14 songs on Apple’s iTunes chart, including the #1 smash, the cast’s version of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Michael Jackson’s This Is It hits theaters and racks up $34.5 million in the U.S. and $103 million worldwide in its first week. The soundtrack companion on Epic debuts at #1 with 379k in opening week sales.

Big Jon Platt is promoted to President of N.A. Creative at EMI Music Publishing, while Dan McCarroll is tapped for the new post of N.Y.-based EVP N.A. Creative.

Simon Cowell announces this will be his last year as an American Idol judge on the eve of the Fox juggernaut’s season premiere to devote himself to the U.S. debut of The X Factor.

George Clooney and Wyclef Jean stage a Hope for Haiti Now benefit concert directed by Joel Gallen, featuring Jay-Z, Bono, The Edge and Rihanna, as the resulting CD becomes the first all-digital release to debut at #1 on the album chart.

Kanye West is excoriated for interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards to protest Beyoncé not winning the category.

Beyoncé tops the Grammy field with 10 nominations, including Album, Record and Song of the Year, as runner-up Taylor Swift nabs eight. Apple plays hardball with labels attempting to place exclusives on Amazon’s $3.99 Daily Deal by pulling them from the iTunes splash page.

Live Nation/Ticketmaster gets the OK from the Dept. of Justice for their merger, forming Live Nation Entertainment, with Michael Rapino as CEO/President and Irving Azoff as Executive Chairman and CEO of Front Line.


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

10 uly 20 J 9 0 0 t2 Augus

Lady Antebellum explodes on the charts for Capitol Nashville, with a total of more than 480k in first-week sales

NARM will honor Jim Urie with its President’s Award for Sustained Executive Achievement at the org’s May confab in Chicago. He uses the occasion to demand the ISPs take some responsibility for the massive copyright infringement by their customers.

HITS’ own Ivana B. Adored celebrates 23 consecutive SXSW appearances, as cult favorite Alex Chilton’s death casts a pall over the Austin proceedings.

HITS mixshow legend Ricky Leigh Mensh is remembered fondly after passing away on March 11 at the age of 50.

Scott Greer “End” and Greg “Over Easy” Linn are named SVPs at Columbia Records, with Greer on the Blue side and Linn the Red.

Mike Harris is named VP/GM for EMI Label Services and Caroline Distribution, doubling as Slash’s guitar tech.

A&R vet Mark Williams returns to Interscope to helm M.I.A.’s new record, then accepts a post from Ashley Newton at Columbia Records.

LimeWire lawyers are given a week to respond to an RIAA motion to shutter the site immediately, or rename it Kazaa…

The one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death passes, with estimates for what his estate racked up over the past 12 months ranging from $200 million (Wall Street Journal) to $1 billion (Billboard).

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t

“The key here is that I lost my friend. That’s what matters to me. All this other stuff is what it is.” Frank DiLeo on the death of Michael Jackson in an exclusive HITS interview

“Stepping into Doug’s shoes is an honour.” (How did I know those shoes would end up at Sony?) Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group

“Negotiations with one’s bankers when the debt is so large in relation to earnings are always difficult.” (If Citi calls, tell them I’m not here and didn’t leave a forwarding address) Guy Hands, on repaying Citigroup’s 2.6 billion pound loan

“There are tremendous opportunities to explot the growing distribution channel [represented by mobile devices] if we customize the product offerings to suit it.” (Excuse me, can’t you see I’m on my iPhone?) Jim Roppo, Island Def Jam

“Angelica has been extremely effective in helping our artists express their unique personalities, talents and stories and reach new audiences.” (She was the one who introduced Katy Perry to whipped cream) Colin Finkelstein, EMI Music, on promotion of Cob-Baehler to SVP Media and Creative Services

“I’m not cool enough to write with Kings of Leon.” (Can you imagine them covering ‘Tik Tok’?) Dr. Luke

“We need to work together to get an even greater understanding of different types of music consumers and the different ways they want to access, experience and enjoy music.” (Hell if I know how to do that) Darren Stupak, Sony Music

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Eminem, Recovery (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope)


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

10 uly 20 J 9 0 0 t2 Augus

Lady Antebellum explodes on the charts for Capitol Nashville, with a total of more than 480k in first-week sales

NARM will honor Jim Urie with its President’s Award for Sustained Executive Achievement at the org’s May confab in Chicago. He uses the occasion to demand the ISPs take some responsibility for the massive copyright infringement by their customers.

HITS’ own Ivana B. Adored celebrates 23 consecutive SXSW appearances, as cult favorite Alex Chilton’s death casts a pall over the Austin proceedings.

HITS mixshow legend Ricky Leigh Mensh is remembered fondly after passing away on March 11 at the age of 50.

Scott Greer “End” and Greg “Over Easy” Linn are named SVPs at Columbia Records, with Greer on the Blue side and Linn the Red.

Mike Harris is named VP/GM for EMI Label Services and Caroline Distribution, doubling as Slash’s guitar tech.

A&R vet Mark Williams returns to Interscope to helm M.I.A.’s new record, then accepts a post from Ashley Newton at Columbia Records.

LimeWire lawyers are given a week to respond to an RIAA motion to shutter the site immediately, or rename it Kazaa…

The one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death passes, with estimates for what his estate racked up over the past 12 months ranging from $200 million (Wall Street Journal) to $1 billion (Billboard).

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t

“The key here is that I lost my friend. That’s what matters to me. All this other stuff is what it is.” Frank DiLeo on the death of Michael Jackson in an exclusive HITS interview

“Stepping into Doug’s shoes is an honour.” (How did I know those shoes would end up at Sony?) Lucian Grainge, Universal Music Group

“Negotiations with one’s bankers when the debt is so large in relation to earnings are always difficult.” (If Citi calls, tell them I’m not here and didn’t leave a forwarding address) Guy Hands, on repaying Citigroup’s 2.6 billion pound loan

“There are tremendous opportunities to explot the growing distribution channel [represented by mobile devices] if we customize the product offerings to suit it.” (Excuse me, can’t you see I’m on my iPhone?) Jim Roppo, Island Def Jam

“Angelica has been extremely effective in helping our artists express their unique personalities, talents and stories and reach new audiences.” (She was the one who introduced Katy Perry to whipped cream) Colin Finkelstein, EMI Music, on promotion of Cob-Baehler to SVP Media and Creative Services

“I’m not cool enough to write with Kings of Leon.” (Can you imagine them covering ‘Tik Tok’?) Dr. Luke

“We need to work together to get an even greater understanding of different types of music consumers and the different ways they want to access, experience and enjoy music.” (Hell if I know how to do that) Darren Stupak, Sony Music

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Eminem, Recovery (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope) HITS | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | 161


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

8 ly 198

-Ju t 1987 s u g u A

Our second year of existence started out in triumph, with the Lakers’ Magic Johnson gracing the Front Page of our Anniversary Issue, celebrating his own team’s repeat. Back then, like now, we had no idea whether we’d even be around in 12 months, so we had every reason to toot our own horn. The industry began to discover us, and it didn’t make them happy. “So the way we figured it, if you folks could be suckered into two years of this garbage…,” then we can sucker you into 25.

David Berman is named President of Capitol Records, just months after coming over from Warner Bros. Records. Joe Smith is named President/CEO of Capitol Industries/EMI Inc. and fulltime caretaker of his Laker courtsides.

MTV gets more bong for its buck when it taps Tom Freston as President/CEO.

Rich Fitzgerald is named VP/Director of Promotion of a revived Reprise Records. Frank Sinatra rolls over in his grave, and he’s not even dead yet.

Shamrock Holdings’ Roy Disney Jr. bids $113.5 million for Wherehouse Entertainment. Remember when record retail was actually worth something? Neither do we.

Sony buys CBS Records Inc. for $2 billion. Remember when record companies were actually worth something? Neither do we.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces its second slate of inductees, including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys. As always, we’re not invited.

Eddie Rosenblatt re-ups at Geffen. Montecito never looked so good David Leach overcomes his unfortunate moniker to be named SVP Promotion at PolyGram. Neither the company nor the position will exist 25 years later. Jerry Greenberg is named President of Atco Records and Custom Labels. A quarter-century later, he’d be a saloon keeper in Las Vegas. Who knew? Steve Ralbovsky joins A&M as SVP A&R, when there was such a thing. Grammy names Paul Simon’s “Graceland” Record of the Year, while U2 wins Album of the Year for The Joshua Tree. Whatever happened to them?

72 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

HITS debuts its Post Modern section. Ivana B. Adored would soon become synonymous with the coined genre.


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-Ju t 1988 Augus

EMI’s Jim Fifield purchases half of Chris Wright’s Chrysalis, as the indie dominoes begin falling.

Epic names Dave Glew President, while we settle for calling him Elmer. Daniel Glass is named SVP Promotion at SBK His jewfro-perm was named Assistant SVP.

Capitol acquires 50% of Enigma for a whopping $12 million, meaning Bill and Wes Hein never have to work again, which they don’t. Remember when you could get rich in the music business?

Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” goes to #1 on the singles chart, perhaps the most ironic song title of all time.

Koppelman’s SBK releases its first single, Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine,” perhaps the most unironic song title of all time

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “If you publish this without me seeing it, I’ll kill you,” Don Ienner, Columbia Records

“When I first started the label, I thought we’d make records for two or three years and that would be it.” Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records

“I had aspirations to be a singer/songwriter, and I entered the business by trying to get my songs recorded.” Doug Morris, Atlantic Records

78 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

“The easiest way to get laid by a girl or get rid of her is to write a song about her.” David Crosby

“I’m sorry they spent their money to buy this magazine.” Tommy Mottola, CBS Records

SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Paula Abdul, “Straight Up” (Virgin) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (Geffen)


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0 ly 199

-Ju t 1989 s u g u A

HITS’ fourth year of existence had us wondering how we lasted that long. Issue #200 hit on July 23, while that year’s anniversary special, sporting Sam Viviano’s caricature of then-Russian premiere Mikhail Gorbachev ripping up an issue, with our trademark glyph in place of his birthmark, essentially stated our credo: “As long as you clowns are goin’ for this crap, we’ll just keep hocking it up. We’re not proud.” And a tradition continues…

New Kids on the Block dominates the album chart, while B-52s fly high at PoMo.

Al Teller ascends to Chairman of the MCA Music Entertainment Group from President/COO. His hair gets its own office.

Guns N’ Roses’ Izzy Stradlin is reportedly blind-sided with a punch by Motley Crue’s Vince Neil as he left the stage with his manager Alan Niven at the MTV Video Music Awards. And you thought Charlie Sheen played rough.

PolyGram purchases A&M for a reported price tag of $500 million, making Herb and Jerry very rich men, sending them into the philanthropy and horse racing businesses, respectively.

Mike Bone takes the presidency of New York-based Island Records over that of L.A.-based Hollywood Records. Too bad he had already shaved the Hollywood logo into his hair.

MTV names Doug Herzog SVP Programming, Abbey Konowitch VP Programming and Judy McGrath SVP Creative Director. Anyone remember them?

Irving Azoff, whom we referred to as our “not-publisher,” signs an agreement with Warner Bros. “to fully fund a joint venture in recorded music and music publishing” that was soon dubbed Giant. It wasn’t the first, nor would it be the last such deal signed by Irving, who was just getting started.

With the entire industry buzzing about his impending deal with EMI, David Geffen shifts gears by selling all of his record and music operations to MCA. We ask him if he’s interested in investing some of that loot in a slightly used trade magazine.

Barry Weiss is named SVP for Zomba Records Group. Who knew it would be 21 more years almost to the day before he left?

80 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Capitol names Step Johnson SVP/GM Black Music Division. We congratulated his family, Step Father, Step Mother, Step Brother and Step Sister. Yes, we did.


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-Ju t 1989 Augus

A&M restructures in the wake of Gil Friesen’s exit, elevating Al Cafaro to SVP/GM and “reaffirming the role” of SVP Promotion Charlie Minor. In other words, guaranteeing his reserved table at Le Dome. Tom Corson is upped to VP Marketing.

Alain Levy is appointed President/CEO of PolyGram’s worldwide music group as of Jan 1, 1991. We celebrated with our first of many Jerry Lewis jokes.

Richard Griffiths is named President of Epic/Associated labels and Sheriff of Mayberry.

HITS launches JAMS, an R&B section helmed by Graham Armstrong, who would guide us on a memorable tour of Sherman Oaks.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “Show me anybody who is universally liked in this business, and I’ll show you somebody very mediocre.” Irving Azoff

“You can dress me up in a suit and tie and make me play the role of corporate America, but underneath, I’m still a lunatic.” Irving Azoff

“Our producer has the big ego—his name and company are all over the first album. The next time, you can be sure it won’t be.” Rob Pilatus, Milli Vanili

“I’ve been told I had some pretty good times when I was high. Now, I get to remember them.” Nikki Sixx, Motley Crue

SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Janet Jackson, “Escapade” (A&M)

82 |

25TH

ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: New Kids on the Block, Hangin’ Tough (Columbia)


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

0 ly 199

-Ju t 1989 s u g u A

HITS’ fourth year of existence had us wondering how we lasted that long. Issue #200 hit on July 23, while that year’s anniversary special, sporting Sam Viviano’s caricature of then-Russian premiere Mikhail Gorbachev ripping up an issue, with our trademark glyph in place of his birthmark, essentially stated our credo: “As long as you clowns are goin’ for this crap, we’ll just keep hocking it up. We’re not proud.” And a tradition continues…

New Kids on the Block dominates the album chart, while B-52s fly high at PoMo.

Al Teller ascends to Chairman of the MCA Music Entertainment Group from President/COO. His hair gets its own office.

Guns N’ Roses’ Izzy Stradlin is reportedly blind-sided with a punch by Motley Crue’s Vince Neil as he left the stage with his manager Alan Niven at the MTV Video Music Awards. And you thought Charlie Sheen played rough.

PolyGram purchases A&M for a reported price tag of $500 million, making Herb and Jerry very rich men, sending them into the philanthropy and horse racing businesses, respectively.

Mike Bone takes the presidency of New York-based Island Records over that of L.A.-based Hollywood Records. Too bad he had already shaved the Hollywood logo into his hair.

MTV names Doug Herzog SVP Programming, Abbey Konowitch VP Programming and Judy McGrath SVP Creative Director. Anyone remember them?

Irving Azoff, whom we referred to as our “not-publisher,” signs an agreement with Warner Bros. “to fully fund a joint venture in recorded music and music publishing” that was soon dubbed Giant. It wasn’t the first, nor would it be the last such deal signed by Irving, who was just getting started.

With the entire industry buzzing about his impending deal with EMI, David Geffen shifts gears by selling all of his record and music operations to MCA. We ask him if he’s interested in investing some of that loot in a slightly used trade magazine.

Barry Weiss is named SVP for Zomba Records Group. Who knew it would be 21 more years almost to the day before he left?

80 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Capitol names Step Johnson SVP/GM Black Music Division. We congratulated his family, Step Father, Step Mother, Step Brother and Step Sister. Yes, we did.


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

0 ly 199

-Ju t 1989 Augus

A&M restructures in the wake of Gil Friesen’s exit, elevating Al Cafaro to SVP/GM and “reaffirming the role” of SVP Promotion Charlie Minor. In other words, guaranteeing his reserved table at Le Dome. Tom Corson is upped to VP Marketing.

Alain Levy is appointed President/CEO of PolyGram’s worldwide music group as of Jan 1, 1991. We celebrated with our first of many Jerry Lewis jokes.

Richard Griffiths is named President of Epic/Associated labels and Sheriff of Mayberry.

HITS launches JAMS, an R&B section helmed by Graham Armstrong, who would guide us on a memorable tour of Sherman Oaks.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “Show me anybody who is universally liked in this business, and I’ll show you somebody very mediocre.” Irving Azoff

“You can dress me up in a suit and tie and make me play the role of corporate America, but underneath, I’m still a lunatic.” Irving Azoff

“Our producer has the big ego—his name and company are all over the first album. The next time, you can be sure it won’t be.” Rob Pilatus, Milli Vanili

“I’ve been told I had some pretty good times when I was high. Now, I get to remember them.” Nikki Sixx, Motley Crue

SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Janet Jackson, “Escapade” (A&M)

82 |

25TH

ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: New Kids on the Block, Hangin’ Tough (Columbia)


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-Ju t 1990 s u g u A

HITS’ fifth year started off with Vice President Dan Quayle, a kindred spirit if ever there was one, holding up four fingers on our Anniversary Issue, in a joke that only about, oh, three people actually understood. Our editorial stated we decided to publish it “to sucker enough ad revenue out of you to carry us over in the event we get indicted for something.” See, not much has changed in the ensuing 20 years, has it?

Richard Palmese is promoted to the post of President of MCA Records. He thanks God and Sal Pisello, but not in that order.

Joe Galante is named President of RCA Records. We compared the dimple in his chin to that of Kirk Douglas. After announcing his latest return to the biz, we compared their ear lobes.

The industry mourns the loss of guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan and CAA agent Bobby Brooks, who perish in an August 27 helicopter crash with bodyguard Nigel Browne and tour manager Colin Smythe.

In an incredibly embarrassing display of government ineptitude, a federal court judge dismisses with prejudice all charges against independent promoters Joe Isgro, Ray Anderson and Jeffrey Monka after discovering that prosecutors withheld key documents from the defense.

Rick Rubin’s Def American leaves Geffen for a distribution deal with Reprise after the label refuses to put out his Geto Boys album. Now, he won’t take Bushwick Bill’s calls.

Atlantic forms East West America with Sylvia Rhone as President/CEO. Can you believe we’ve lasted as long as Sylvia? Neither can we.

RCA promotes Skip Miller to SVP Black Music and Miller London to VP Black Music Marketing. The moves pave the way for Barack Obama’s presidential run 20 years later

Daniel Glass is appointed EVP/GM at SBK. To celebrate, he ran 26 miles and curled his hair. Doug Morris is appointed Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegun. It marked the start of the DoMo Era at the WEA label which would culminate in the massacre of ’95. Ed Eckstine and Mike Bone are named CoPresidents at Mercury Records by Alain Levy, who stated: “I think I made a very big mistake.” It was the most ill-fated pairing since Charlie Sheen and sanity.

84 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

1 ly 199

-Ju t 1990 s u g u A

HITS’ fifth year started off with Vice President Dan Quayle, a kindred spirit if ever there was one, holding up four fingers on our Anniversary Issue, in a joke that only about, oh, three people actually understood. Our editorial stated we decided to publish it “to sucker enough ad revenue out of you to carry us over in the event we get indicted for something.” See, not much has changed in the ensuing 20 years, has it?

Richard Palmese is promoted to the post of President of MCA Records. He thanks God and Sal Pisello, but not in that order.

Joe Galante is named President of RCA Records. We compared the dimple in his chin to that of Kirk Douglas. After announcing his latest return to the biz, we compared their ear lobes.

The industry mourns the loss of guitar virtuoso Stevie Ray Vaughan and CAA agent Bobby Brooks, who perish in an August 27 helicopter crash with bodyguard Nigel Browne and tour manager Colin Smythe.

In an incredibly embarrassing display of government ineptitude, a federal court judge dismisses with prejudice all charges against independent promoters Joe Isgro, Ray Anderson and Jeffrey Monka after discovering that prosecutors withheld key documents from the defense.

Rick Rubin’s Def American leaves Geffen for a distribution deal with Reprise after the label refuses to put out his Geto Boys album. Now, he won’t take Bushwick Bill’s calls.

Atlantic forms East West America with Sylvia Rhone as President/CEO. Can you believe we’ve lasted as long as Sylvia? Neither can we.

RCA promotes Skip Miller to SVP Black Music and Miller London to VP Black Music Marketing. The moves pave the way for Barack Obama’s presidential run 20 years later

Daniel Glass is appointed EVP/GM at SBK. To celebrate, he ran 26 miles and curled his hair. Doug Morris is appointed Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of Atlantic Records by Ahmet Ertegun. It marked the start of the DoMo Era at the WEA label which would culminate in the massacre of ’95. Ed Eckstine and Mike Bone are named CoPresidents at Mercury Records by Alain Levy, who stated: “I think I made a very big mistake.” It was the most ill-fated pairing since Charlie Sheen and sanity.

84 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-Ju t 1990 Augus

John Barbis is named SVP of the PolyGram Label Group. How he managed to squeeze 20 more years onto his career is anybody’s guess. Last we heard, he was tuning Leon Russell’s piano.

Charles Koppelman and Martin Bandier sell the half of SBK not already owned by EMI to the British conglom for a cool $400 million. Who knew a carpetbagger named Guy Hands would piss it all down the toilet 20 years later?

Greg Thompson is named VP Promotion at SBK. His cheekbones were even cuter then than they are now. RCA ups Butch “Make Love Not” Waugh to SVP Promotion and Randy “If I Were a” Goodman to SVP Marketing. We miss them.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “To insult Ivana would be insulting myself.” Rick Krim, MTV

“My job is an endless smoke machine. When I come home at night, I’m real bruised.” Tom Freston, MTV Chairman/CEO

“I’m not getting me tits out for anyone.” Lisa Stansfield

“I won’t let nobody touch my hair.” Vanilla Ice SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Extreme, “More Than Words” (A&M) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Vanilla Ice, To the Extreme (SBK) 86 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-July t 1991 s u g u A

1992

HITS’ sixth year of existence featured a cover of dueling Presidential candidates George Bush and Bill Clinton from Mad magazine’s legendary Sam Viviano, offering more of the same crap we promulgated a half dozen years before. As we put it in the intro, “The past 52 issues have brought us to the single most crucial insight possible—We’re about two stinkin’ years from getting you to pay us NOT to print.” Almost two decades later, you’re still paying us… Yeah, we can’t believe it either.

Chameleon Entertainment and Elektra enter into a joint venture, with Bob Buziak named President/COO and Bill Berger President. Can anyone remember a band other than Dramarama on the label?

Jack Rovner is appointed SVP of Arista, spurring a decade-plus of “dog” and “roll over” jokes.

Mel Lewinter is named Vice Chairman/CFO of the Atlantic Group. He celebrates with a pastrami sandwich and a seltzer from the Stage Deli.

Nirvana arrives at #1 on the Post Modern chart, then climbs #23-9 on the HITS Top 50 on its way to a long run. Kurt Cobain doesn’t yet know enough to be miserable.

Barry Weiss is appointed SVP/GM of Jive/Silvertone, Val Azzoli SVP/GM at Atlantic and Roy Lott Arista EVP. Not one of them realizes that Rob and Fab didn’t sing a note on the Milli Vanilli album.

Ed Eckstine is anointed President of Mercury Records. He is the son, naturally, of famed crooner Sammy Davis Jr.

Jim Guerinot is named SVP Marketing for A&M. He hasn’t seen a winning Clippers season since, and is now Trent Reznor’s synth tech.

EMI Records, Chrysalis and SBK are consolidated into EMI Records Group N.A., to be helmed by Chairman/CEO Charles Koppelman, who appoints Daniel Glass and Theresa Santisi EVP/GMs, Fred Davis SVP A&R and Ken Baumstein SVP Marketing. Guy Hands has yet to buy his first gas station.

Says Def American’s Rick Rubin: “I never felt I had to make a dime doing anything.” Maybe he should’ve said something to Rob Stringer before taking the Columbia job years later.

88 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-July t 1991 Augus

1992

Warner Bros. appoints Benny Medina SVP/GM of its Black Music Division. Management client J.Lo calls him BeMe.

Columbia President Don Ienner announces the formation of Chaos Records and appoints Jim Cawley “Flower” Label Manager. If they thought it was Chaos back then, what do they think about what’s going on now?

David Bither is named SVP/GM at Elektra by Bob Krasnow after expressing admiration for his taste in art and pharmaceuticals.

Virgin is acquired by EMI, with Jordan Harris and Jeff Ayeroff named Co-Chairmen and Phil Quartararo President of Charisma. Who knew Nancy Berry would one day spend the equivalent of all their salaries on flowers and candles?

MTV ups John Cannelli to SVP Talent Relations and Andy Schuon to SVP Music Programming. Snooki now holds both positions at the network.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t

“Clipper fans are great… Whereas when you go to the Forum to see the Lakers, you might as well be at the bar at Le Dome.” Jim Guerinot

“We never really expected to leave Aberdeen. That was the only goal we ever had.” Kurt Cobain, Nirvana

“In the music business, the black man is trying to snatch it back from the white guys, who have their hands in my pocket!” Chuck D, Public Enemy

“I was a pyro! I lit Neil Young’s hometown on fire!” Sebastian Bach, Skid Row SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Kris Kross, “Jump” (Ruffhouse/Columbia) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Garth Brooks, Ropin’ the Wind (Liberty) 90 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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3 ly 199

-Ju t 1992 s u g u A

HITS was rolling sevens with a brilliant Sam Viviano cover depicting Hilary Clinton putting her hand over President Bubba’s mouth as we flourished with the rest of the economy in the midst of a rare Democratic White House. We stopped laughing long enough to address our loyal readership: “It may suck as bad as the six preceding it, but it’s printed already and we made the advertisers pay up front—so, who cares?” The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

Ice-T’s controversial “Cop Killer” will be dropped from all future pressings of the Warner Bros. Bodycount album. Now, the dude stars as a policeman on TV. We can’t make this stuff up.

Jim Caparro is named President of PolyGram Group Distribution, while Joe McFadden is named CEMA SVP Marketing/Sales back in the era when physical product still existed. The sound you just heard was the canary dying in the coal mine.

Louil Silas is named EVP at the MCA-distribbed Silas Records, as he corrects our spelling of his first name for the 1,874,653th time.

Following the retirement of Al Coury, the Geffen/DGC promotion staffs are combined under the leadership of Bill Bennett, who splits them back in two six months later.

Jerry Greenberg is named President of Michael Jackson’s MJJ label, where he gets to change Bubbles’ diapers.

Jean Riggins is named VP/GM Black Music at Capitol Records. She immediately declares it “Hammer Time.”

Charles Koppelman is named Emperor of EMI Records Group N.A. after the retirement of Joe Smith, who becomes a Laker cheerleader.

Daniel Glass is appointed President/CEO of EMI Records Group by Charles Koppelman. At that point, he was hanging out with Joe Kennedy, not Mumford & Sons. John Sykes is named EVP Talent Acquisition and Marketing for EMI Music Publishing. Guess there wasn’t an MTV job available at the time

Michele Anthony is promoted EVP by Sony Music President Tommy Motolla. She now humps guitar amps for Pearl Jam.

John Barbis is named EVP at PLG by President./CEO Rick Dobbis. At this point, Elton John still had some of his original hair.

92 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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4 ly 199

-Ju t 1993 s u g u A

For our eighth year, HITS got a little edgy, with a controversial Sam Viviano cover depicting Beverly Hills killers Erik and Lyle Menendez and the tag line “Eight Years of Being Just Like Family.” Needless to say, it arrived with a resounding thud, but it still had plenty of room for those neat paid ads. As we put it in our introduction: “So folks, as you venture even further into this era of unchecked, ethically-bankrupt, cannibalistic, hype-driven sensationalism, please take a moment to remember one thing… we were doing it before it was fashionable.” And while the Internet was still just a gleam in Al Gore’s eye.

PolyGram buys Motown for $325 million. Alain Levy says his next signing target is “ze greatest of all, Jerry Lewis.” Karen Glauber aka Ivana B. Adored is promoted to HITS’ Vice President/Post Modern Editor. She had yet to discover Prada.

Val Azzoli and his ‘fro are named to the post of VP/GM at Atlantic Records.

Thomas D. Mottola, as he was then known, is promoted by Sony to President and Chief Operating Officer. Walter Yetnikoff was still removing the knife from his back.

Polly Anthony is named GM at Epic’s new 550 label. We promptly run a picture of Anthony Perkins. Ralph Simon is named EVP at Capitol. At that point, a mobile device for him was a remote control channel-changer.

Harvey Leeds and Barbara Seltzer are named dual heads of the promotion department at Epic. Back when labels had promotion departments.

Danny Goldberg is named President of Atlantic Records. Little did anyone know he was carrying on a hot and heavy affair with a member of Fleetwood Mac, and we don’t mean Mick. The Northridge Earthquake strikes and causes havoc inside and outside the music business, as we miss our first issue after meeting 375 consecutive deadlines in a row

Sony undergoes a major restructuring, naming Don Ienner Chairman of Columbia Records Group; Dave Glew Chairman of Epic Records Group; Mel Ilberman Chairman of Sony Music Intrernational; Michele Anthony EVP of Sony Music Entertainment; Richard Griffiths President of Epic Records and Robert Bowlin President of SMI. None of them had ever heard of Andy Lack. 96 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-Ju t 1993 Augus

David Simone is named President of PolyGram Music Publishing, “which nobody cared about the first time we wrote about it.” From that point on, he was known as “Simple” Simone… Bob Pfeifer is tapped as EVP for Hollywood Records and becomes Michael Eisner’s “music” guy…

Andy Schuon is named SVP Music Programming and Program Planning for MTV and VH1. It wouldn’t be the last time, either.

John Barbis is named head of Island Records. Bob Marley’s toe sits in a jar of formaldehyde on his desk.

Sylvia Rhone gets crowned Chairman of the newly formed Elektra/EastWest label. The phrase “Hey, baby” enters the national vernacular.

Doug Morris gets promoted to President/Chief Operating Officer for Warner Music Group by Bob Morgado. And the fun was just about to begin…. Judy McGrath is named President of MTV Music Television as Tom Freston gets more bong for his buck…

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “Rick Rubin’s the smartest guy I’ve ever worked for.” Mark DiDia, American Recordings

“One young lawyer claimed that he charged $1,000 for the same advice I give away for the price of the book.” Don Passman “The hardest thing to do in this business is start a band nobody’s heard of.” Tom Whalley, Interscope Records

“Never shot a man. Never been in prison.” Johnny Cash

SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Celine Dion, “Power of Love” (550 Music) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Toni Braxton (Arista)


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

4 ly 199

-Ju t 1993 s u g u A

For our eighth year, HITS got a little edgy, with a controversial Sam Viviano cover depicting Beverly Hills killers Erik and Lyle Menendez and the tag line “Eight Years of Being Just Like Family.” Needless to say, it arrived with a resounding thud, but it still had plenty of room for those neat paid ads. As we put it in our introduction: “So folks, as you venture even further into this era of unchecked, ethically-bankrupt, cannibalistic, hype-driven sensationalism, please take a moment to remember one thing… we were doing it before it was fashionable.” And while the Internet was still just a gleam in Al Gore’s eye.

PolyGram buys Motown for $325 million. Alain Levy says his next signing target is “ze greatest of all, Jerry Lewis.” Karen Glauber aka Ivana B. Adored is promoted to HITS’ Vice President/Post Modern Editor. She had yet to discover Prada.

Val Azzoli and his ‘fro are named to the post of VP/GM at Atlantic Records.

Thomas D. Mottola, as he was then known, is promoted by Sony to President and Chief Operating Officer. Walter Yetnikoff was still removing the knife from his back.

Polly Anthony is named GM at Epic’s new 550 label. We promptly run a picture of Anthony Perkins. Ralph Simon is named EVP at Capitol. At that point, a mobile device for him was a remote control channel-changer.

Harvey Leeds and Barbara Seltzer are named dual heads of the promotion department at Epic. Back when labels had promotion departments.

Danny Goldberg is named President of Atlantic Records. Little did anyone know he was carrying on a hot and heavy affair with a member of Fleetwood Mac, and we don’t mean Mick. The Northridge Earthquake strikes and causes havoc inside and outside the music business, as we miss our first issue after meeting 375 consecutive deadlines in a row

Sony undergoes a major restructuring, naming Don Ienner Chairman of Columbia Records Group; Dave Glew Chairman of Epic Records Group; Mel Ilberman Chairman of Sony Music Intrernational; Michele Anthony EVP of Sony Music Entertainment; Richard Griffiths President of Epic Records and Robert Bowlin President of SMI. None of them had ever heard of Andy Lack. 96 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


A quarter

century of hits-tory

LOOKING BACK: THAT WAS THEN...

4 ly 199

-Ju t 1993 Augus

David Simone is named President of PolyGram Music Publishing, “which nobody cared about the first time we wrote about it.” From that point on, he was known as “Simple” Simone… Bob Pfeifer is tapped as EVP for Hollywood Records and becomes Michael Eisner’s “music” guy…

Andy Schuon is named SVP Music Programming and Program Planning for MTV and VH1. It wouldn’t be the last time, either.

John Barbis is named head of Island Records. Bob Marley’s toe sits in a jar of formaldehyde on his desk.

Sylvia Rhone gets crowned Chairman of the newly formed Elektra/EastWest label. The phrase “Hey, baby” enters the national vernacular.

Doug Morris gets promoted to President/Chief Operating Officer for Warner Music Group by Bob Morgado. And the fun was just about to begin…. Judy McGrath is named President of MTV Music Television as Tom Freston gets more bong for his buck…

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “Rick Rubin’s the smartest guy I’ve ever worked for.” Mark DiDia, American Recordings

“One young lawyer claimed that he charged $1,000 for the same advice I give away for the price of the book.” Don Passman “The hardest thing to do in this business is start a band nobody’s heard of.” Tom Whalley, Interscope Records

“Never shot a man. Never been in prison.” Johnny Cash

SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Celine Dion, “Power of Love” (550 Music) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Toni Braxton (Arista) 98 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-Ju t 1995 s u g u A

Celebrating a decade of our existence with a massive, 354-page Anniversary Issue that featured Mad magazine icon Alfred E. Neuman himself touting “Ten Years of Giving You the Finger,” with a front-of-the-book dedication to the beloved (at least by us) Morey Amsterdam and a shot of Warner Bros.’ legendary ruler Mo Ostin reading Billboard. Founded in the boom times of the Reagan era, HITS unabashedly offered the credo we still live by: “We suck, you buy ads, we cash your check, we suck some more.” As we noted back then, “Ten times zero is still zero.” Fifteen years later, the equation, if not the song, remains the same.

Jerry Garcia is Dead at the age of 53 from a “worn-out heart” while at a drug rehab facility… Bruce Lundvall is upped to GM East Coast at Capitol Records, while Bruce Kirkland is promoted to EVP… Jack Rovner rolls over at RCA, where he’s named EVP/GM by Bob Jamieson… Joe Riccitelli gets SVP stripes at Island.

Bunny veteran Russ Thyret is named Chairman/CEO at Warner Bros. Records by WMG’s Michael Fuchs, replacing Danny Goldberg in a move hailed by the Burbank troops shaken after the departures of Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker and Doug Morris.

Bruce Resnikoff is upped to EVP/GM Special Markets and Products for MCA Music Entertainment Group. Dude’s still there and we’re still here.

Ahmet Ertegun and Jann Wenner’s dream comes true as the $92 million, I.M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum opens its doors, giving people one good reason to visit Cleveland.

Andre Harrell is named President/CEO of Motown Records, sending him into a heat wave…Mo Ostin, Lenny Waronker and Michael Ostin launch DreamWorks Records with David Geffen, tapping George Michael as the first release under the SKG banner.

Sony Music Entertainment and Michael Jackson’s ATV Music Publishing merge in a worldwide venture.

Time Warner fires Michael Fuchs and gives control of the music division to film heads Bob Daly and Terry Semel. Edgar Bronfman Jr. fires Al Teller and names Doug Morris Chairman of the MCA Music Entertainment Group, while Richard Palmese exits as President.

Doug Morris taps Mel Lewinter as Vice Chairman MCA Music Entertainment Group, Zach Horowitz as President Music Entertainment Group and Jay Boberg as President of MCA Records. No word on Sal Pisello

MCA acquires 50% of Interscope for $200 milion, reuniting Doug Morris with Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field.

Daniel Glass is named President of Universal Records… Abbey Konowitch is tapped as EVP for MCA Records.

104 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Val Azzoli is promoted to Co-Chairman and Co-Chief Executive of The Atlantic Group… Richard Palmese joins The House That Clive Built as Arista Records SVP Promotion… Heavy D is named President of Uptown Records by Doug Morris, replacing Motown head Andre Harrell…

Tom Corson is named SVP Marketing for Columbia Records.


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-Ju t 1996 s u g u A

For the cover of our gala 11th anniversary issue, our own Van Arno created a cover commemorating the short-lived Heaven’s Gate cult, whose members were more than willing to follow their fearless, hairless leader Marshall Applewhite in chasing the Hale-Bopp comet to oblivion, resulting in a house full of dead people in suburban San Diego. At the same time, the late Billboard editor Timothy White published his official statement listing his reasons for regularly wearing a “strange, four-in-hand freestyle polka-dot bow tie.” Yes, folks, it was that kind of year.

Virgin Records breaks the Spice Girls in the U.S. We mutilate the official Spice Girls action figures and display them in our office

Al Cafaro rises to Chairman of A&M, with John Barbis named President of A&M Associated. Herb Alpert, Jerry Moss and Gil Friesen are now very rich men, thanks to the millions they get from PolyGram for the label.

Walter Yetnikoff launches Velvel, which turns out to be Yiddish for “over,” signing a deal with EMI Canada which included the services of its Royal Mounted Police.

A pair of middle-aged guys named Raphael and Antonio create a band called Los Del Rio, and a dance craze named the Macarena that makes mucho dinero for BMG and makes Strauss Zelnick look like a genius barbeque sauce manufacturer.

C. Delores Tucker sues the Tupac Shakur estate, claiming one of his songs caused her and her husband so much stress they could no longer enjoy sex. Still, that was no excuse for getting into bed with Suge Knight.

Virgin Records celebrates the reign of Ken and Nancy Berry, who threw some of the greatest parties this industry had ever seen at their Beverly Hills manse. At least that’s what we hear since we were never invited to one.

Van Halen loses Sammy Hagar, regains David Lee Roth until Diamond Dave starts popping off backstage at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Warner Bros. movie execs Robert Daly and Terry Semel complete the transition at the music group from Bob Morgado, Doug Morris and Michael Fuchs. And things haven’t been the same since.

Sheep cloning is all the rage at HITS, as we turn the likes of Milton Sincoff, Don Benson, David Adelson and Tim White into Dolly derivatives.

108 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

Al Teller’s Red Ant promises to revolutionize the business by hiring the likes of Ruben Rodriguez, Randy Phillips, Randy Miller and Nancy Levin. We’re still trying to figure out what happened.


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-Ju t 1996 Augus

Sean “Puffy” Combs and Faith Evans announce a special tribute to the late Notorious B.I.G. in New York, before changing their names and heading south of the border.

HITS receives a letter from Showgirls star Gina Gershon’s lawyers demanding a retraction for a fabricated photo caption quote on April 1 (hint, hint) regarding screenwriter Joe Eszterhas and her participation in the film. “See, it’s like Joe told me during casting: it’s really a very pro-female film in the way it depicts women, as lap-dancing, giggling, omni-sexual disposable flesh tarts who gladly sell each other out for rent money… Hey, wait a minute.” Gershon went on to make the lesbian S&M flick, Bound, with the Wachowski brothers.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I’ve done all the big record company stuff and I’m now doing exactly what I want to do with a small group of friends.” Bruce Lundvall, Blue Note

“We feel the package we’ve been putting it in is a little stale. And we kinda wanted to shake it up.” Judy McGrath, MTV Networks

“I don’t live for death. I live to live.” Johnny Cash

“Most A&R people are clueless… I can’t see a lot of them being around 20 years from now.” John David Kalodner, Columbia “I try to chew my life carefully before I swallow it.” Robyn Hitchcock

“My job is not to make end-of-the-year budgets look good. My job is to get as many people into recovery as possible.” Buddy Arnold, MAP

MOST POWERFUL SONG: No Doubt, “Don’t Speak” (Trauma/Interscope) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Celine Dion, Falling Into You (550 Music)

110 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-Ju t 1987 s u g u A

Our second year of existence started out in triumph, with the Lakers’ Magic Johnson gracing the Front Page of our Anniversary Issue, celebrating his own team’s repeat. Back then, like now, we had no idea whether we’d even be around in 12 months, so we had every reason to toot our own horn. The industry began to discover us, and it didn’t make them happy. “So the way we figured it, if you folks could be suckered into two years of this garbage…,” then we can sucker you into 25.

David Berman is named President of Capitol Records, just months after coming over from Warner Bros. Records. Joe Smith is named President/CEO of Capitol Industries/EMI Inc. and fulltime caretaker of his Laker courtsides.

MTV gets more bong for its buck when it taps Tom Freston as President/CEO.

Rich Fitzgerald is named VP/Director of Promotion of a revived Reprise Records. Frank Sinatra rolls over in his grave, and he’s not even dead yet.

Shamrock Holdings’ Roy Disney Jr. bids $113.5 million for Wherehouse Entertainment. Remember when record retail was actually worth something? Neither do we.

Sony buys CBS Records Inc. for $2 billion. Remember when record companies were actually worth something? Neither do we.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announces its second slate of inductees, including The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys. As always, we’re not invited.

Eddie Rosenblatt re-ups at Geffen. Montecito never looked so good David Leach overcomes his unfortunate moniker to be named SVP Promotion at PolyGram. Neither the company nor the position will exist 25 years later. Jerry Greenberg is named President of Atco Records and Custom Labels. A quarter-century later, he’d be a saloon keeper in Las Vegas. Who knew? Steve Ralbovsky joins A&M as SVP A&R, when there was such a thing. Grammy names Paul Simon’s “Graceland” Record of the Year, while U2 wins Album of the Year for The Joshua Tree. Whatever happened to them?

72 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

HITS debuts its Post Modern section. Ivana B. Adored would soon become synonymous with the coined genre.


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-Ju t 1987 Augus

Dave Glew is named SVP/GM of Epic/Portrait/Associated and immediately installs a Nautilus machine in his new office.

Al Teller resigns his post at CBS Records Inc. seven and a half years and one Carvel swirl hairdo later. Tommy Mottola is named CBS Records Division President. Fuhgeddaboutit enters our vernacular.

Atlantic promotes Andrea Ganis and Lou Sicurezza to VPs National Promotion. Anybody hear whatever happened to them?

Phil Q is upped—and we use the expression loosely—to SVP Promotion and Marketing for Virgin Records. Q is short…for Quartararo.

MCA and Boston Ventures acquire Motown Records for $61 million, with Jheryl Busby set to helm the legendary label. The deal would prove to be one of the last bargains in the biz.

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “Hey, this is HITS. You want me to bury myself?” — David Berman, Capitol Records

“In case you were wondering, it’s not comfortable to be in a wedding dress for nine hours. I have a lot more respect for brides now.” — John David Kalodner, John David Kalodner

“Al and Tipper Gore are very charming, very polite and totally out to lunch and fanatical on the subject of rock lyrics.” Danny Goldberg

SINGLE OF THE YEAR: George Michael, “One More Try” (Columbia) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Dirty Dancing (RCA) 74 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-Ju t 1988 s u g u A

Year III of HITS included a prescient warning: “You bozos should have snuffed us out after year one—hey, your mistake, and we thank you for it. We look forward to dealing with you weasels in year four at The Nightmare Continues.” And continue it did, with Issue #100 hitting in July. It seems just like yesterday when…

Jheryl Busby is appointed President/COO of the now MCA/Boston Ventures-owned Motown. He celebrated by hiding Stevie Wonder’s keyboard from him.

Al Teller is named President of MCA and immediately discovers a cache of Sal Pisello’s breakdance mats in his office. It’s the start of the famed Carvel swirl haircut references.

Epic names Polly Anthony VP Promotion. We “photo-shop” her with Crocodile Dundee and make a “shrimp on the barbie” joke. Hey, you had to be there.

CBS unveils its new West Coast label, WTG, to be headed by industry vet Jerry Greenberg, as we quote insiders who reveal the initials actually stand for “Waa Waa, Taa Taa, Goo Goo.”

Richard Palmese is upped to EVP/GM at MCA Records, where he thanks God he doesn’t have to take our phone calls.

Veteran WMMS Cleveland PD Kid Leo heads to Columbia as VP Artist Development, where he first learned the phrase, “fuhggedaboutit.”

Airhead, HITS’ weekly comic strip which eventually turned into an animated online cartoon, is created by the great Van Arno, who ended up giving his kidney to the job.

SBK Publishing, acquired by Charles Koppelman and Martin Bandier for a pittance, is sold to EMI for $300 million. That’s a lotta Cohibas.

Scott Shannon departs Z100 N.Y. to take over Westwood One’s newly acquired L.A. outlet KIQQ, which he would turn into Pirate Radio. Whatever did happen to him?

Luke Lewis is named VP Field Marketing at MCA, where he first discovers Johnny Cash. Back then, Lost Highway was what happened when he missed his exit on the 101. The RIAA announces yearly dollar volume sales figures surpass $6 billion for the first time. Remember when that was good news?

76 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-Ju t 1988 Augus

EMI’s Jim Fifield purchases half of Chris Wright’s Chrysalis, as the indie dominoes begin falling.

Epic names Dave Glew President, while we settle for calling him Elmer. Daniel Glass is named SVP Promotion at SBK His jewfro-perm was named Assistant SVP.

Capitol acquires 50% of Enigma for a whopping $12 million, meaning Bill and Wes Hein never have to work again, which they don’t. Remember when you could get rich in the music business?

Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True” goes to #1 on the singles chart, perhaps the most ironic song title of all time.

Koppelman’s SBK releases its first single, Katrina and the Waves’ “Walking on Sunshine,” perhaps the most unironic song title of all time

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “If you publish this without me seeing it, I’ll kill you,” Don Ienner, Columbia Records

“When I first started the label, I thought we’d make records for two or three years and that would be it.” Ahmet Ertegun, Atlantic Records

“I had aspirations to be a singer/songwriter, and I entered the business by trying to get my songs recorded.” Doug Morris, Atlantic Records

“The easiest way to get laid by a girl or get rid of her is to write a song about her.” David Crosby

“I’m sorry they spent their money to buy this magazine.” Tommy Mottola, CBS Records

SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Paula Abdul, “Straight Up” (Virgin) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (Geffen)


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-Ju t 1992 s u g u A

HITS was rolling sevens with a brilliant Sam Viviano cover depicting Hilary Clinton putting her hand over President Bubba’s mouth as we flourished with the rest of the economy in the midst of a rare Democratic White House. We stopped laughing long enough to address our loyal readership: “It may suck as bad as the six preceding it, but it’s printed already and we made the advertisers pay up front—so, who cares?” The more things change, the more they stay the same, eh?

Ice-T’s controversial “Cop Killer” will be dropped from all future pressings of the Warner Bros. Bodycount album. Now, the dude stars as a policeman on TV. We can’t make this stuff up.

Jim Caparro is named President of PolyGram Group Distribution, while Joe McFadden is named CEMA SVP Marketing/Sales back in the era when physical product still existed. The sound you just heard was the canary dying in the coal mine.

Louil Silas is named EVP at the MCA-distribbed Silas Records, as he corrects our spelling of his first name for the 1,874,653th time.

Following the retirement of Al Coury, the Geffen/DGC promotion staffs are combined under the leadership of Bill Bennett, who splits them back in two six months later.

Jerry Greenberg is named President of Michael Jackson’s MJJ label, where he gets to change Bubbles’ diapers.

Jean Riggins is named VP/GM Black Music at Capitol Records. She immediately declares it “Hammer Time.”

Charles Koppelman is named Emperor of EMI Records Group N.A. after the retirement of Joe Smith, who becomes a Laker cheerleader.

Daniel Glass is appointed President/CEO of EMI Records Group by Charles Koppelman. At that point, he was hanging out with Joe Kennedy, not Mumford & Sons. John Sykes is named EVP Talent Acquisition and Marketing for EMI Music Publishing. Guess there wasn’t an MTV job available at the time

Michele Anthony is promoted EVP by Sony Music President Tommy Motolla. She now humps guitar amps for Pearl Jam.

John Barbis is named EVP at PLG by President./CEO Rick Dobbis. At this point, Elton John still had some of his original hair.

92 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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PLG names Joe Riccitelli and Vicki Leben VPs of Pop Promotion. Anybody know what happened to them?

Ice Cube tells HITS: “Middle-class whites are finding themselves in the same boat as blacks these days.”

Steve Backer is named Head of Marketing for Giant Records by Irving Azoff to sing the falsetto on Air Supply albums. Ed Rosenblatt signs to a new seven-year deal with Geffen Records. He spent most of it on installing a new tennis court in his Montecito mansion. Gary Gersh is named CEO/President of Capitol Records, replacing Hale Milgrim, who retires to run the Jerry Garcia Museum in Santa Barbara. Who knew we’d be referring to that period at the Tower as the “good old days”?

t BLAME THEM, THEY SAID IT t “We still have the ability to offend. People still complain about us. Thank God.” Judy McGrath, MTV

“Well, there are certainly a lot of stories, but client confidentiality obviously prohibits me from telling them to you.” Joel Katz

“To say I thought this would all happen would be unbearably smug.” Paul McGuinness, U2 manager

“I’m one of the most neurotic people I know. I still wake up every morning wondering where the next deal or the next client is coming from.” John Branca

“The only aspect of the record business I miss is sitting in a room for five hours a day with Charles.” Marty Bandier, EMI Music Publishing SINGLE OF THE YEAR: Whitney Houston, “I Will Always Love You” (Arista) ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Bodyguard soundtrack (Arista) 94 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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03 uly 20 J 2 0 0 t2 Augus

Our gala 17th Anniversary Issue boasted a cover that featured two of the potent new forces in the record business: Steve Jobs’ iTunes and Simon Fuller’s American Idol. Nine years later, they’re both going strong, which is more than can be said for the music industry in general. Our editorial page, dubbed “No$talgia,” paid tribute to promo greats Walter Lee and the cattle prod, Dick Asher and “Another Brick in the Wall” and Jack Satter… well, just because. The major photo shows Don Ienner wishing outgoing Epic Records Group Chairman Dave Glew good luck as he exits his post to become a full-time bodybuilder. We, on the other hand, are still going… for now.

J Records and RCA Records join together under the leadership of RMG Chairman Clive Davis, who insists he invented the concept of mergers.

Warner Music Group’s Roger Ames rekindles merger talks with BMG’s Rolf Schmidt-Holtz before EC’s Mario Monti puts a damper on their plans.

Thomas D. Mottola is shown the door at Sony Music in January ’03, replaced by Howard Stringer’s old NBC news pal, the suitably named Andy Lack, who shows a complete, unh, disregard for the music business. Commented Stringer: “We respect his decision to return to his musical roots at such a pivotal time in music history.” Said BMG’s rival Rolf Schmidt-Holtz: “Welcome and congratulations to Lack. Obviously, TV guys are taking over the music world.” Or not.

Mottola would return later that year with the UMG-distribbed resurrection of the late Neil Bogart’s old Casablanca label, and would introduce his newest diva in Lindsay Lohan. Wonder how that worked out.

The so-called indie promo “Tollbooth Scandal” rears its ugly head, as Jeff McClusky and Lenny Lyons try to buy up stations, only to be turned back by Clear Channel cutting back on the practice of paying for early add info.

Zomba Chairman Clive Calder sells the remaining 80% of his company to Bertelsmann for a previously agreedupon $3 billion and has been missing in action ever since. Wonder if he’ll take an ad for the 26th anniversary issue?

MCA President Jay Boberg is ousted, with Craig Lambert named, as it turned out, the very interim head. Priority SVP Promotion Tom Maffei joins as VP Crossover. The so-called Music Cemetery of America is then folded into Interscope Geffen A&M as part of Geffen, retaining the name and a new President in Fred Durst’s wingman Jordan Schur. Meanwhile, Eminem’s newest discovery, 50 Cent, storms the chart. Virgin Records headquarters move to N.Y., while Hilary Shaev joins the label as EVP Promotion, reaffirming her commitment to the Duke Blue Devils by wearing an old-school Grant Hill jersey to the weekly marketing meeting.

Publishing veteran Neil Portnow replaces the embattled Mike Greene as head of The Recording Academy and chief of the Grammy awards after a Pulitzer-winning expose by the L.A. Times’ Chuck Philips and Michael Hiltzik. “If we’re going to have an environment where a creative person can’t make a living, it’s going to be an awfully quiet country,” said Portnow.

132 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS


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-July t 1991 s u g u A

1992

HITS’ sixth year of existence featured a cover of dueling Presidential candidates George Bush and Bill Clinton from Mad magazine’s legendary Sam Viviano, offering more of the same crap we promulgated a half dozen years before. As we put it in the intro, “The past 52 issues have brought us to the single most crucial insight possible—We’re about two stinkin’ years from getting you to pay us NOT to print.” Almost two decades later, you’re still paying us… Yeah, we can’t believe it either.

Chameleon Entertainment and Elektra enter into a joint venture, with Bob Buziak named President/COO and Bill Berger President. Can anyone remember a band other than Dramarama on the label?

Jack Rovner is appointed SVP of Arista, spurring a decade-plus of “dog” and “roll over” jokes.

Mel Lewinter is named Vice Chairman/CFO of the Atlantic Group. He celebrates with a pastrami sandwich and a seltzer from the Stage Deli.

Nirvana arrives at #1 on the Post Modern chart, then climbs #23-9 on the HITS Top 50 on its way to a long run. Kurt Cobain doesn’t yet know enough to be miserable.

Barry Weiss is appointed SVP/GM of Jive/Silvertone, Val Azzoli SVP/GM at Atlantic and Roy Lott Arista EVP. Not one of them realizes that Rob and Fab didn’t sing a note on the Milli Vanilli album.

Ed Eckstine is anointed President of Mercury Records. He is the son, naturally, of famed crooner Sammy Davis Jr.

Jim Guerinot is named SVP Marketing for A&M. He hasn’t seen a winning Clippers season since, and is now Trent Reznor’s synth tech.

EMI Records, Chrysalis and SBK are consolidated into EMI Records Group N.A., to be helmed by Chairman/CEO Charles Koppelman, who appoints Daniel Glass and Theresa Santisi EVP/GMs, Fred Davis SVP A&R and Ken Baumstein SVP Marketing. Guy Hands has yet to buy his first gas station.

Says Def American’s Rick Rubin: “I never felt I had to make a dime doing anything.” Maybe he should’ve said something to Rob Stringer before taking the Columbia job years later.

88 | 25TH ANNIVERSARY ISSUE | HITS

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