Author, educator, consultant and college educator - It's all for the love of rock and roll.
Mention the name Hank Bordowitz to the readers of music industry books and magazines and you’ll immediately know how important his contributions are to the history of the industry. A musician and former recording artist in his own right, Hank understands the creative drive that impels musicians, writing with the sort of fierce integrity with which the best artists make their music. He also has nearly two decades of teaching college students about music and the music industry under his belt; he served as the Director of the Music Business Program at Western Illinois University, and continues to teach about music, the music business, and writing at colleges on the East Coast and online. This makes him uniquely qualified to bring the art and commerce of making and selling music to life on the printed page.
Hank Bordowitz is the international best-selling author of ten books on music including definitive biographies of rock legends Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bruce Springsteen, and Billy Joel (book reviews follow). His Readers on Bob Marley, U2, and Led Zeppelin continue to garner high praise among readers, fans, and his fellow music writers...Blender bestowed 3 stars on the U2 Reader. Q Magazine gave The Bob Marley Reader 4 Stars, saying: “Was Bob Marley the most influential artist of the 20th Century? (Hank) Bordowitz’s book begins with this highly debatable claim, yet the entertaining collection of essays that follow establish a convincing argument.”
Additionally, his titles include Turning Points of Rock and Roll, Noise of the World: Non-western Artists in Their Own Words, and Dirty Little Secrets of the Record Business: Why So Much Music You Hear Sucks.
Hank Bordowitz’s extensive knowledge of music and the music industry comes from over 30 years of working in many facets of music. He started playing bars and dances in several bands in high school. Just out of college, he got a deal with ZE Records. He did a stint at the legendary and now defunct trade journal Record World, worked in the retail record business, the wholesale record business, in marketing for A&M records, in promotions, publicity and as a studio engineer and producer. His work in radio led him to WEVD in New York as a production engineer, serving as on-air talent for several non-commercial stations, and programming a channel for Music Choice, the digital cable radio system available in millions of homes around the world.
His resume includes:
• Editing dozens of music magazines, including the famous CREEM Special Issues like Heavy Metal Hall of Fame.
• Writing articles, features, commentary and criticism for literally hundreds of periodicals ranging from Playboy to Brutarian, from Jazziz to Metal Mania on topics ranging from legendary Gibson guitars to Ornette Coleman.
• Interviewing artists spanning the spectrum from Wynton Marsalis to Les Paul, from Glenn Danzig to the late, great Jam Master Jay, from Gilson Lavis to Ringo Starr.
Bad Moon Rising: The Unauthorized History of Creedence Clearwater Revival was the first to seriously tackle this great American band’s sad story from inception through the personal difficulties that broke the band up and the legal wrangling that followed.
• USA TODAY said: “If Hank Bordowitz’s Bad Moon Rising isn’t ‘the saddest story in rock ‘n’ roll,’ ... it certain comes within kissing distance.”
• BOOKLIST said: “Bordowitz’s recounting of all the acrimony is well detailed and not too hyperbolic. This is must reading for CCR-philes...”
• PUBLISHERS WEEKLY said: “Bordowitz provides evenhanded treatment of highly charged issues.... persuasively demonstrating that CCR has earned their reputation as one of the most important bands in rock history.”
• LITERARY JOURNAL agreed: “Bordowitz brings CCR’s complex story to life...[he] never takes sides or passes judgment yet brilliantly illuminates the tragedy of CCR’s lost potential.”
Hank’s next book, The U2 Reader: A Quarter Century of Commentary, Criticism and Reviews garnered widespread praise:
• JOHN SHELTON IVANY, in his syndicated column called it “(A) superb 320-page collection of writings…”
• THE CELEBRITY CAFÉ awarded The U2 Reader a rating of 8 out of 10, saying: "U2 fans, along with people interested in the band’s cultural impact, will want to read this book."
The reviews for Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright: The Bob Marley Reader have been nothing short of amazing:
• WWW.BOBMARLEY.COM says: “Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright synthesizes all these aspects into a cohesive reading experience, and deals with [Marley] as a political, spiritual, musical, and above all, human force.”
• THE JAMAICA GLEANER hailed it: “BEFORE THE inevitable ‘not another Bob Marley book!’ leaves their mouths, fans of the reggae king should take a browse through Every Little Thing Gonna Be Alright , a new tome by American writer Hank Bordowitz.”
• RELIX said, “The Reader offers a rich variety of angles on the Marley legend…The book abounds with engaging writing.”
• LIBRARY JOURNAL wrote, “Generally well written and offering many viewpoints, this collection is a great read for casual readers and longtime fans…For all collections where reggae or Bob Marley material is in demand.”
The reviews for Noise Of The World: Non-Western Artists in Their Own Words were equally strong:
• THE ORLANDO WEEKLY’s Jason Ferguson said, “Hank Bordowitz is an excellent writer and a man of exquisitely ephemeral musical tastes. His championing of non-mainstream and non-Western artists has played a large role in bringing much-deserving music to the attention of people who otherwise wouldn't know better…Ernest Ranglin give a beautiful and eloquent reggae history lesson or just knowing that Fela's chest was puffed to its egocentric extremes during his interview give Noise of the World plenty of between-the-lines context and make it a fascinating read.
• BOOKLIST’s Mike Tribby wrote, “Great stuff for what the Rastas might call conscious music collections.”
Billy Joel: The Life And Times of an Angry Young Man was featured on the New York Post’s “Page 6” and received high praise:
• VH1 CLASSIC’s Senior Head Writer Vinny Cecolini wrote, “After Marley, Bono and The Boss, who expected Bordowitz to outdo himself again? But he has, with Billy Joel. After ripping though each page of his latest book, just two questions remain: "Who'll be the subject of Bordowitz's next book?" "And when will it reach my grubby hands?"
• Stan Soocher, Rock History Professor, University of Colorado at Denver, Author, “They Fought the Law: Rock Music Goes to Court”, Editor-in-Chief, Entertainment Law & Finance wrote “Veteran music journalist Hank Bordowitz applies his inexhaustible research energies to this first major biography of Billy Joel. The result: a compelling look at the one of the most private and least understood musical artists of our time.”
• PUBLISHERS WEEKLY called the book “…Surprisingly intimate…”
• CRAVE MAGAZINE proclaimed it “…full of insightful information about a celebrated musician who has written some of the greatest hits of the 20th century.”
The word from both press and the music industry on Dirty Little Secrets of the Record Business: Why So Much Music You Hear Sucks has also been strong:
• “PAGE 6” OF THE NEW YORK POST proclaimed “The dark side of pop music: We’re looking forward to reading Dirty Little Secrets of the Record Business…The book by Hank Bordowitz…will trace the pernicious influence of payola from the time of Gilbert & Sullivan to the uninspired present, a dark age where deejays have no control over playlists and the latest programming idea, Jack – FM, involves no deejay at all…”
• Tony Bongiovi, producer of Talking Heads, Aerosmith, the Ramones and so many others calls the book “An accurate and well-researched exposé of the surreptitious, undisclosed, and covert activities of the music industry. Hank Bordowitz spares no one while exposing every aspect of the business.”
• Recording artist, producer, engineer, and musician Larry “Synergy” Fast says “Through my decades as an artist and producer working with both major and indie labels, I have never read as comprehensive a history of how the recorded music and broadcast worlds arrived at their sorry artistic state. I’ve lived the quicksand economics and conflicting intra-industry motivations that Hank Bordowitz so succinctly explains. If you want to understand how and why we got here, this is the book to read.”
• Platform Group President, songwriter, producer, and manager Jack Ponti called the book “Brilliantly written, insightful, a good history, and a great read.”
• Former Gang of Four drummer Hugo Burnham said “Dirty Little Secrets is the book that any one of us who once did time in the music business for more than fifteen minutes and are now out of the life wish we had written. We who lie awake at nights mentally washing our hands as assiduously, yet with as much success as Lady Macbeth, have a voice in Hank Bordowitz.
“We got in because we loved and because we wanted to share, to create, to inspire, and to enjoy it. And to drink heavily for free, of course. Then, as we learned more, we wanted to grow and change it. Then we kept on going anyway because the money and the perks were too difficult to give up, because we thought we still meant something in the bigger picture or because we might inspire those coming up behind us to effect some change. Fool me once.
“I got out, I got a life…but then they dragged me back in – and so little has changed; the avarice, the truthlessness, the misery and disappointment salved only by being and playing with my (old) best friends. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Because I still love it and because now I have a big book that I can throw at the liars, the cheats and the bastards who have fooled me twice.
• KIRKUS REVIEW said: “…the thumbnail profiles of various musicians, producers and executives—not to mention the user-friendly descriptions of how record labels and radio stations are run—are engaging and enlightening…his research is first-rate, and he is consistently able to support his arguments.”
These are some of the glowing reviews for Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin:
• POPDOSE said: “Reading Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin, I often felt like I was watching a good documentary about the band, one that foregoes talking heads and only uses rare news footage to chronicle the life, death and afterlife of one of rock’s most durable and controversial bands… Bordowitz did his job by making Led Zeppelin on Led Zeppelin a quick, interesting read, and pulling back the veil on one of rock’s most influential acts.”
• CURLLED UP WITH A GOOD BOOK added “…just about everything you'd want to know about the band is here, and what better place to get that information than from the group itself?
• REBEAT MAGAZINE called the book “…interesting and comprehensive, a unique look at Led Zeppelin’s rise to fame and beyond… This is about as unvarnished a glance at the Led Zeppelin phenomenon as there can be — it’s literally Led Zeppelin talking about Led Zeppelin — which makes it fascinating in and of itself…there was a lot to be learned here. Longstanding myths are debunked, legends are brought to earth, and stories set straight.”
• And the definitive fans at ACHILLES LAST STAND said,” …these articles presented also dive deeper into the very core of the four people in Led Zeppelin... This truly is a fascinating and exciting collection presented in this book. It truly allows the reader to experience a more personal insight and, to a certain extent, breaks down a bit of the whole mystique of Led Zeppelin as a whole, without destroying that revered image that so many millions of fans have, allowing them to know Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham as real people.