Hitmaker: The Man And His Music; co-written by Cal Fussman
Tommy Mottola has lived a charmed life. Even his setbacks led to bigger and better things. As President of CBS/Sony Records, he played a pivotal roll in the music business. However most of the artist he worked with I have little interest in: Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and the entire ‘Latin Explosion’. I would not have read this book except that Mottola got his start managing Hall & Oates, who I do care about. Mottola comes across as a people person, with a good head for business. He could ‘hear’ hit records, and he could ‘see’ the direction the music business was headed. His biggest flaw was being too driven: it destroyed his first marriage. Personally I would like to have read more about the music business, but that would be another book. I would also prefer to hear about different artists on the Columbia/Song roster, but unfortunately Mottola only talks in detail about those artist listed above. He does a lot of name dropping, but the reader isn’t given any details about the authors relationship with his other artists such as: Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Pearl Jam, Aerosmith, or even Tony Bennett.
Voices, at the end of each chapter there are a series of relevant quotes from friends, family, and the famous. It’s a nice touch.
When we met, both of our hearts had Band-Aids on them.
In my case, it was always kind of difficult. I had been performing for so many years. People who wanted to take me out were seeing me as the character they saw on television, the person that they thought I was. I never knew if they wanted to be with me or just wanted to be in a photograph with me. And there was this whole matter of impressing me. The whole restaurant would be closed with a table just for me. One time , a guy tried to send me a Rolls-Royce with the keys. They weren’t seeing the real me.
And from a distance, a lot of people don’t see the real Tommy. When people meet him they expect to meet this character-like this strong bull or something. But once you meet him, You see that he’s a very friendly guy, very happy, with funny stories. He has very strong points of view, yet he hears what other people have to say. You come to understand: behind that strong persona is a very sensitive person. When he commits to something, to a friendship, to a love, it’s from his core.
So when we met, it was two hurt souls that just needed the authentic in this crazy world of show business. I’d felt rushed my whole life. If it was not to a soap opera, it was to a tour, or a promotion in Barcelona’ and if it was not Barcelona it was Buenos Aires. I was ready to get out of the Ferrari of that crazy, frenetic life and take a bike ride in the country.
That was what it was like when we met. One of the blessings for us was the language barrier. The language barrier made everything slow down for both of us. And then we got to know each other through the telephone.
I think the magic of getting to know one another through the telephone is it’s not how you look or what you’re wearing. It’s not about putting up the best pose or what you’re putting on your rips. It’s just about you. I thank God for that.
We came to find that we had so many similarities. I was born eleven years behind my sisters. Almost the same for Tommy. The neighborhood where I grew up in Mexico city had food stands and markets. In some ways, it was like the Bronx.
Also, Tommy and I met at a great point in our lives. Tommy was already successful. I was already successful. So we came together as equals.
But it’s kind of funny, because as perfect a sour mate as he is, there are always those moments that seem unreal. I remember at the wedding, the moment of the cake, when everybody started singing: “The bride eats the cake, the bride eats the cake…”
And it really hit me: “whoa! I married a gringo?”
-page 336, a ‘Voice‘ by Mottola’s third wife. I thought it was a good summary of Mr. Mottola.