Along the Cherry Lane
Tales from the life of Music Industry Legend
John Denver said, "I have a producer who looks like an accountant, and an accountant who looks like a producer." Soberly dressed, unflashy, and a trained classical musician, in the golden age of the music business Milt Okun stood out by not standing out. His legacy does that for him. He discovered and launched John Denver, and mentored him throughout his career. He created arrangements for Peter, Paul and Mary that the trio performed for half a century. He brought Placido Domingo a crossover career that made him an international star beyond the world of opera. He founded Cherry Lane Music, publisher of Dreamworks and Paramount and Marvel, Elvis and Quincy Jones and the Black Eyed Peas.
Legendary music producer Milt Okun's memoir Along the Cherry Lane is a non-fiction novel published by Hal Leonard. The book chronicles Okun's career, from school teacher to working with some of the biggest names in music, such as John Denver and Placido Domingo, to launching his music publishing company, Cherry Lane.
Okun is known to be the man who transformed three unknown singers who had never worked together into one of the most successful musical acts of their generation, Peter, Paul and Mary. An upcoming special on PBS profiles Milt Okun, Quincy Jones, and George Martin as three of the most influential music producers in history. From the Weavers to will.i.am and the Black Eyed Peas, Milt Okun has been a central figure in the continuing story of our musical heritage. His career has spanned over 50 years; from the folk revival to the new technological landscapes of the twenty-first century.
Along the Cherry Lane is a portrait of a unique career, told in stories by Milton himself and those who have been a part of his remarkable life in music. The book is rich with music history and anecdotes of run-ins with television network titans and music stars such as Elvis Presley. Milt explains his passion for music education and the intimate details of his production and publishing work with some of music's greatest acts. The story is co-written by Richard Sparks, Milt's son-in-law, an author known for his light-hearted and comedic approach to writing.
My ReviewI had never heard of Milt Okun before agreeing to review Along the Cherry Lane. I had of course, heard of John Denver and Placido Domingo, but had never thought of how they had come to music fame. I enjoyed getting a glimpse into the life of a music producer, and was awed by how he did not come from a background of music, but sort of stumbled into it. Reading the book in interview format was new for me. I found it both entertaining and eye-opening. A great read all in one setting, or in bits a pieces!
*Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in hopes that I would post a review. Read my full Policy & Disclosure.