In the Studio with Dylan, Jagger, Sinatra and More

By Glenn Berger

In 1974, at the age of seventeen, author Glenn Berger served as “Schlepper” and apprentice to the legendary recording engineer Phil Ramone at New York City’s A&R Studios, and was witness to music history on an almost daily and nightly basis as pop and rock icons such as Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, Bette Midler, and James Brown performed their hit-making magic, honed their sound, strutted their stuff, bared their souls, and threw epic tantrums. In this memoir, full of revelatory and previously unknown anecdotal observations of these musical giants, Glenn recounts how he quickly learned the ropes to move up from schlepperhood to assistant to the tyrannical Ramone, and eventually, to become a recording engineer superstar himself. Not only is Never Say No to A Rock Star a fascinating, hilarious and poignant behind-the-scenes look of this musical Mecca, but Berger, now a prominent psychologist, looking back through the prism of his youthful experience and his years working as a counselor and therapist, provides a telling and honest examination of the nature of fame and success and the corollaries between creativity, madness and self-destruction.


Reviews and Comments


“Glenn takes the reader to the universe of the great A&R studio in New York where some of the most memorable music of the past century was made. Congratulations, Glenn, you tell it the way it was. And I loved reliving it with you.”

JUDY COLLINS, Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and author

“Like few books exploring the innards of the record business in its boom years, Glenn Berger’s “Never Say No to a Rock Star” conveys the excitement of being present at the creation of some of the greatest pop and rock albums of the 1970’s and 80’s. His observations of legends like his boss, the legendary engineer and producer Phil Ramone whom he apprenticed at A&R Studios in New York are sympathetic, perceptive portraits of artists and technicians in the recording studio pressure cooker: at once starry-eyed and hard-headed. You are there when Berger, an ardent, knowledgeable music connoisseur rubbed shoulders with Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Frank Sinatra, Judy Collins, Phoebe Snow, and many more at the moment when the record industry was a magnet for the best, brightest, and most ambitious in much the same way as the tech industry is today. The book is beautifully written in the voice of a young idealist navigating the maelstrom and learning about the life at the center of the action.”

STEPHEN HOLDEN, Music and film critic

“This book is a delicious tonic for children of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and children yet to come.”

KEVIN ODEGARD, Guitar player on Blood on the Tracks; co-author, A Simple Twist of Fate: Bob Dylan and the Making of Blood on the Tracks

“Glenn Berger’s ‘inside’ stories of how some of the most important records of the 20th century were made are titillating, fascinating and essential to understanding the often unpredictable creative psyche that is responsible for great art. In a word, this book is extraordinary!”

CHUCK GRANATA, Author of Sessions with Sinatra: Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording

“A fascinating and meticulously detailed virtual tour of life in the recording studio… also a collection of juicy thumbnail sketches of the show-biz titans…”

DON SHEWEY, Journalist, Author of Sam Shepard (biography)

“What a trip. And we have a front-row seat!”


Winner of the Nicholas Shaffner Award for Music in Literature

Winner of the ARSC Award for Excellence