What’s That Sound?
Can you hear it? If you listen very closely, you can hear a bloodcurdling scream emanating from Palm Beach, FL. It’s the sound of Bob Krasnow having a massive stroke. He had just read Sony Music’s press release announcing their new venture with Sylvia Rhone and her Vested in Culture (VIC) label.
So why was Krasnow having a cow? The press release states that Sylvia “served as Chairman/CEO of the Elektra Entertainment Group (EEG), where she was responsible for the breakout success of Missy Elliott, Metallica, Busta Rhymes, Natalie Merchant, En Vogue, Staind, Tracy Chapman, Jason Mraz, Yolanda Adams, Third Eye Blind, Gerald Levert, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Fabolous, among many others.”
It so happens that Krasnow signed AND broke Metallica, Natalie Merchant and Tracy Chapman when HE was Chairman of Elektra. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it. Krasnow did it. In fact, Sylvia wasn’t even working at Elektra Records when Tracy Chapman hit with “Fast Car”— she was still at Atlantic! Nothing like credit glomming to propel your career, at least if you don’t get caught doing it.
What’s better yet is the quote from Sony Music’s septuagenarian CEO Doug Morris. ”Sylvia is one the most talented and gifted creative executives in the industry. She is a proven success who time-and-again has displayed a special understanding of how to inspire great artistry and develop hits. We are excited to be working with her on this new venture, and we are proud to call her a member of the Sony Music family.” If that doesn’t get you in the kishka nothing will. That Doug sure knows his stuff, of course while conveniently forgetting that the last two historic record labels that Rhone headed, Elektra and Motown, were each immediately shuttered upon her exit thanks to her “proven success” and “special understanding”. Doug doesn’t mention their very long, close personal relationship in his statement.
To put an exclamation point on the story, a former Rhone associate told me a little anectdote that sums up her rock music career.
When Sylvia was running Elektra, she had a meeting with the manager of Phish, one of the biggest acts on the label. At the end of the meeting, the manager said “I guess I’ll be seeing you “. Rhone, clueless, asked what he was talking about.
The manager responded that the band was in town to play Madison Square Garden for three nights that week.
Sylvia reportedly said “That’s great. Who are you opening for?”
I rest my case.