Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: My Life in the Music Business

Jawbone. Jul. 2021. 320p. ISBN 9781911036777. pap. $22.95. MUSIC
Copeland (b. 1944), an inventive music business entrepreneur, tells his captivating story. After growing up in the Middle East as a son of a CIA operative, he became a concert booker and manager, handling acts such as Wishbone Ash and the Climax Blues Band, until his financially disastrous StarTruckin’ 1975 tour. Copeland details his professional resurrection with punk and new wave and his work booking shows for the Sex Pistols, founding Illegal Records, and eventually managing the platinum-selling band the Police (which included his brother, drummer Stewart Copeland). During the 1980s and ’90s, he continued to be a force in the industry, and his label I.R.S. Records signed cutting-edge bands including the Buzzcocks, R.E.M., and the Go-Go’s. Subsequently, the music mogul turned to more novel projects: holding songwriting seminars in his French castle; creating Ark 21, a label that succeeded I.R.S. and featured international artists; and touring with the Bellydance Superstars.
VERDICT Entertaining, straightforward, and honest, Copeland offers an engaging look at the fascinating acts he worked with and the inner workings of the music business during the past 50 years. Rock fans and general readers alike will be delighted.
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