Author Larry Harris comes across as a dick. Maybe he is. Or, maybe it’s his plethora of insider stories and willingness to dish the dirt that makes it appear to be true. Regardless, Harris’ got one hell of a book on his hands.
Let me take you back to Harris’ humble beginnings. He was lucky enough to be related to one Neil Bogart, a wannabe entertainer and entrepreneur who made a name for himself in A&R at Buddah Records. Bogart broke away from Buddah and recruited cousin Harris and others to form Casablancas Records in the early 1970s. They were essentially industry outsiders and that’s how they ran their business … to the top of the charts, or so they would have liked you to believe.
To hear Harris tell it, he had a talent for finding talent. They went after groups and artists that were on the fringe, the unproven. The ones the majors wouldn’t dare touch due to the risk being too high. Harris brought Kiss to Bogart’s attention. They were Casablanca’s first act and first release. He discovered Donna Summer and the Village People. Essentially, if there was one person to blame for disco … it would be Larry Harris.
“And Party Every Day: The Inside Story of Casablancas Records” is Harris’ story. He goes into great detail about how this small label went from robbing Peter to pay Paul to selling hundreds of millions of dollars a year in record sales at their peak. In between there are sordid stories of manipulating the Billboard charts to showcase Casablanca’s artists, excessive schmoozing of radio execs and rampant drug use by Casablanca’s staff at work. The kicker is it is all presented with a nonchalance indicating that this was how things worked back then.
Due to the amount of details and back story included, it takes a bit to initially get into. Keep with it. You won’t be disappointed.