1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $19.93

Buy for $19.93

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Show biz memoir at its name-dropping, bridge-burning, profane best: The music industry’s most outspoken, outrageous, and phenomenally successful executive delivers a rollicking memoir of pop music’s heyday. 

During the 1970s and '80s, the music business was dominated by a few major labels and artists such as Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Barbra Streisand, and James Taylor. They were all under contract to CBS Records, making it the most successful label of the era. And, as the company's president, Walter Yetnikoff was the ruling monarch. He was also the most flamboyant, volatile, and controversial personality to emerge from an industry and era defined by sex, drugs, and debauchery.  

Having risen from working-class Brooklyn and the legal department of CBS, Yetnikoff, who freely admitted to being tone deaf, was an unlikely label head. But he had an uncanny knack for fostering talent and intimidating rivals with his appalling behavior, usually fueled by an explosive combination of cocaine and alcohol. His tantrums, appetite for mind-altering substances, and sexual exploits were legendary. In Japan to meet the Sony executives who acquired CBS during his tenure, Walter was assigned a minder who confined him to a hotel room. True to form, Walter raided the minibar, got blasted, and seeing no other means of escape, opened a hotel window and vented his rage by literally howling at the moon.

In Howling at the Moon, Yetnikoff traces his journey as he climbed the corporate mountain, danced on its summit, and crashed and burned. We see how Walter became the father-confessor to Michael Jackson as the King of Pop reconstructed his face and agonized over his image while constructing Thriller (and how, after it won seven Grammys, Jackson made the preposterous demand that Walter take producer Quincy Jones’ name off the album); we see Walter, in maniacal pursuit of a contract, chase the Rolling Stones around the world and nearly come to blows with Mick Jagger in the process; we get the tale of how Walter and Marvin Gaye - fresh from the success of “Sexual Healing” - share the same woman, and of how Walter bonds with Bob Dylan because of their mutual Jewishness. At the same time we witness Yetnikoff’s clashes with Barry Diller, David Geffen, Tommy Mottola, Allen Grubman and a host of others. Seemingly, the more Yetnikoff feeds his cravings for power, sex, liquor, and cocaine, the more profitable CBS becomes - from $485 million to well over two billion dollars - until he finally succumbs, ironically, not to substances, but to a corporate coup. Reflecting on the sinister cycle that left his career in tatters and CBS flush with cash, Yetnikoff emerges with a hunger for redemption and a new reverence for his working-class Brooklyn roots. 

Ruthlessly candid, uproariously hilarious and compulsively enjoyable, Howling at the Moon is a blistering You’ll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again of the music industry. 

©2004 Walter Yetnikoff with David Ritz (P)2004 Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This memoir by Yetnikoff, the former president of CBS Records, may lead to hipsters changing the phrase 'partying like a rock star' to 'partying like the president of a record label.'" (Publishers Weekly

What listeners say about Howling at the Moon

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    29
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    6
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Loved the juicy details and voices done by Walter always Ritz brings the real deal.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Decent

Good story, good information, a bit boring at times. Overall, a decent read. I think this story would be more appreciated on the big screen.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Walter is a legend and its a pleasure to hear him

Wow. Love the book, especially Walters reading. I wish it was longer. Walter, don't be too hard on yourself.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Bring back the age of Excess

They say that internet downloads are killing the music industry! i say boring industry exec's are killing the music industry?I'll give you an example? I recently called an A&R person in a major record company , and said are you going to check out blah blah, "oh no i dont go out anymore, I just stay at home and watch a dvd and go to bed" was the answer?this is what the industry is made of today?boring idiots. bring back the YETNIKOFF style exec. A MUST READ FOR ALL THOSE BORING IDIOTS WHO WORK IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY. you might actually learn something and generate a profit for both your company and artists.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wicked story about a Wicked man!

I dont tend to usually go for abridged versions though not sure how much more of this I could take. He has lived this life most people could only dream of. At times seem to dismiss himself as not deserving though he worked tirelessly and it took its toll on marriages, bank accounts and his health. Check it out for sure.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-21-21

Needs a technical fix

As others have stated this is faulty. After the book ends there are 4 more chapters that are random repeat chapters. Aside from the technical issues I enjoyed listening to the inside stories of the music industry in the 80’s and 90’s.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael Kallenbach
  • Michael Kallenbach
  • 01-08-22

First class read

Excellent on all accounts. Only problem was that the chapters were garbled so chapter five was actually the last chapter. When there were still six seven and eight. All very
Confusing and not sure how it happened

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joanne
  • Joanne
  • 04-08-19

Rather a short listen

I read the book years ago and was looking forward to hearing Walter reading it. However my enjoyment was somewhat shortened at the point of chapter 5 of 8 when it turned into a review of the book and at chapter 6 the book started again at the beginning. Feeling a little short changed