The Rhino Records Story
Harold Bronson
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Buy *The Rhino Records Story: The Revenge of the Music Nerds* by Harold Bronsono nline

The Rhino Records Story: The Revenge of the Music Nerds
Harold Bronson
416 pages
October 2013
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Bronson was one of the co-founders along with Richard Foos of Rhino Records. They took an idea--releasing novelty records and then later licensing catalogs from various artists--and built it into a very successful company. Some people will tell, though you won't find that story here,a that Richard Foos was responsible for Rhino's success and Bronson was simply hanging onto coattails. But that's another book. This is the story of that rise and ultimate fall.

Bronson tells us he was a rock journalist and rock singer in a band. He was a far more accomplished writer than an artist but still believed he was Rod Stewart incarnate. The author worked at Rhino Records music store in Westwood, CA. One of the customers was Wild Man Fisher, a local singer who was a bit bizarre but very interesting. Bronson decided to record Fisher on vinyl. This was little more than the Wild Man reciting a spoken-word piece he'd written about the store called "Go to Rhino Records."

Bronson then wrote the lyrics and music to a song called "Rhino, the Place to Go" on which he sang, Foos played bass and Steve Rosen and Mick Rosen respectively played guitar and drums. And this is where the Rhino Records empire started.

It's a fun story, but in Bronson's own self-styled hagiography he either conveniently forgets or misinterprets history. Though Steve Rosen was a musician on that first Rhino release and an early employee of the store, Bronson fired him because he showed up late and didn't open the store on time. This is what Bronson writes. What he doesn't tell you is that Bronson was an overbearing, insulting and haphazard store manager who regularly belittled employees in front of customers and harangued them for offering 25 cents too much on a used trade-in album.

Still, the story of Rhino Records is an interesting one, and this is worth reading. Even if Bronson does come off as the greatest singer who ever lived and the best writer on the planet, he did find huge success with Rhino and nobody can take that away from him.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Charles Stevens, 2014

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