Author:  Roy Kohn
Publisher: Bear Manor Media (February 14, 2011)  
ISBN-10: 1593936222: ISBN-13: 978-1593936228

Click Here To Purchase Songplugger, or How Much Is That Doggie In the Window?
Simply stated, Songplugger is one of the most engaging and informative memoirs devoted to the history of music publishing ever available in print.  It’s not a study based on research by a devoted historian--author Roy Kohn was a “songplugger” when the big money was in sheet music, then when records came out in the 78 and 45 rpm formats; his career spanned from big bands to the rock revolution.    In his own words, a “songplugger” was someone who “took melodies and lyrics on a piece of paper
and put them in front of the public.” He can take credit for much of what we’ve heard.
Roy Kohn was a New Yorker who literally worked his way up from a company stockroom to become a major participant in the development of music libraries, the resources that license, market, and Publish the hits, misses, and stock music used in films and on television. Kohn’s career began after World War II when he helped singers like Vic Damone, Patti Page, and Al Jolson find songs for records and radio broadcasts. He went on road trips to give stations copies of records his company was promoting and met DJs like Bob Crane, later of Hogan’s heroes fame. Then Kohn officed in the legendary Brill building, the epicenter of the music business until the 1960s. Kohn moved from company to company, added talents like Donovan to his list of hitmakers, and remained at the center of music publishing for decades to come. He knew them all, helped many, and contributed much to the sounds of popular records from the studio to the stage.
Kohn shares much of his personality through the anecdotes he weaves into his autobiography, measuring his life by the procession of cars he loved over the years. The interactions between performers, composers, DJs, and songpluggers comes across as an electric family of creative types who shared camaraderie during and after office hours.  Told in a very conversational style, Songplugger was written like a flood of memories Kohn wanted to capture for himself and his audience, and some of the material is perhaps more interesting to insiders than readers. This is most evident in later chapters when Kohn describes his responsibilities for overseeing and acquiring large libraries of stock music. He relates phone call after phone call of producers seeking music and how he found the score they needed.    Of course, sitting behind a corporate desk knowing what files to access isn’t the stuff of dramatic story telling, and these sections inevitably are more informative than entertaining.
 Still, as a whole, Songplugger is a fresh look into the music industry for those interested in how songs are shaped, how classics gained their popularity, how radio was once king, and what are aspects of the music industry largely unknown by most of us.  It’s a good story that recalls the times when the music industry cared about music.
Click Here To Purchase Songplugger, or How Much Is That Doggie In the Window?

Listen to Dr. Wes Britton’s audio interview with author Roy Kohn for the “Dave White Presents” radio program posted HERE