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Sire Records founder Seymour Stein is arguably America’s greatest record man. Not only has he signed and nurtured more important artists than anyone alive over the course of his sixty years in the music business, but he’s still the hippest label head, travelling the globe in search of the next big thing.
SIREN SONG: My Life in Music (June 12, St. Martin’s Press, $28.99), is Stein’s story, from growing up in WWII era Brooklyn, rushing home from the synagogue to hear the weekly rundown of the top 25 music chart, through launching the careers of some of the biggest music stars we know today.
Since the late fifties, Stein’s been wherever it’s happening: Billboard, Tin Pan Alley, The British Invasion, CBGB, Studio 54, Danceteria, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the CD crash. Along that winding path, Stein discovered and broke out a skyline full of stars: Madonna, The Ramones, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Madonna, The Smiths, The Cure, Ice-T, Lou Reed, Seal, and many others.
Brimming with hilarious scenes and big personalities, SIREN SONG’s bigger story is about modernity in motion, and the slow acceptance of diversity in America—thanks largely to daring pop music. Including both the high and low points in his life, Stein touches on everything from his discovery of Madonna to his wife Linda’s violent death.
“Sixty-plus years in the music business,” Stein writes, “and I keep hearing the same old groan: that pop music isn’t what it used to be….but the truth is there’s always great stuff happening. You just have to go out and find it.” Stein has proven over and over that he can find it, and it continues to bring him joy. Sung from the heart, SIREN SONG will etch his story in stone.
Seymour Stein is the co-founder and chairman of Sire Records, as well as a Vice President of Warner Bros. Records. Sire Records, which he founded in 1966, was the pioneer of New Wave music. Stein was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 under the lifetime-achievement category. He lives in New York City.