No, but there's a pretty good record of this type called Golden Throats "A Golden Shower of Hits" which includes some hilarious cuts by William Shatner, Sebastian Cabot, and a few others. I have a couple of incredibly bad records by Jackie Gleason; as maudlin and pathetic as it gets. I love them.
As far as Bing Crosby goes, he had a dark side that was far worse than just murdering "Hey Jude". Apparently, he abused his children; and another delightful aspect of Bing is that he was a Nazi sympathizer. He was referred to as Der Bingle by the Hollywood gentry; his press guys whitewashed that into a rumor that he was beloved by the German troops and that's how he got the nickname. I can't verify this slander, but it seems to be common knowledge in Hollywood. There's something so attractive to me about these guys who have such incredible talent and still manage to be such atrocious fuck-ups (late Elvis, Bing, others that I can't think of right now). It's like an irresistable view of the horrifying and embarrasing possibilities that could befall any human being, given the ability to get away with just about anything.
But more importantly, Bing was the first singer to really get past all that operatic crap that singers used to feel obligated to do, which started as a method to be heard over the orchestra. Bing sang on records like he was singing to you in bed. He was very charismatic in an overtly sexual way, and extremely influential; opened the music business right up by showing how incredibly lucrative it could be. He was the first modern pop singer, mainly because of the financial revelations he provided for the entertainment community, but also because he was willing to use his enormous clout to change a tune so it suited him, and became a reliable singer not limited so much by his material. He was also the first to make the girls faint on camera. Now how ya gonna beat that?
Can be rather incestuous, because each subgroup tends to hang together. People move here every day to try to succeed in music, so there is really a lot of talent here. I would never have found Bruce anywhere but here, for example. By the same token, there are a lot of people who move here who have more interest in the fame and glamour that accompanies success in the music business than music itself or creativity in general. That can be tiresome, but this orientation is certainly not limited to Los Angeles.
Can you easily find talented people to join bands ?
More easily than anywhere else I've ever lived. It's still pretty hard to find the people with whom you will make a contract to become closer than family.
And is *everyone* there just waiting to be "discovered" for movie stardom ?
Yes, the mythos of Hollywood continues intact.
In the US, might be different elsewhere, the publisher copyrights your stuff by sending in two copies of your record to the Library of Congress. You can publish your own stuff by creating a publishing company (you have to make sure to register the name of your company as an official trademark) and sending in the CDs yourself. In Hex, we sold half our publishing rights to Lembo and his Funzalo Music. Publishing can be very rich, and publishing rights are often sold for pretty good money.
There can be some pretty sophisticated finagling here, I would get a lawyer I can trust and ask him to just take good care of me. Musicians are guaranteed to get screwed out of almost everything they make anyhow, so this is all pretty moot. Best bet is to put it out yourself and tour tour tour, hire a good promotion guy who knows what drug/sex appetizer plate which dj likes best and provide it with a smile. Eventually some bright major will pick you up and you'll have enough clout to make them pass up some of the more offensive financial chicken pluckings they would normally be wont to perform. Not all record companies are creepy though, Arista was quite stand-up from everything I saw, but.....
I guess the answer to you question of who is the guy who publishes this stuff? It's the artist, whoever the artist has sold it to, and whoever has bought it from the guy who bought it from the artist.
Sorry you asked?
Most of them are failed musicians, or were too scared to ever even try. There's a lot of loose vengence, and this usually is visited on their more successful acts. The babies like me have to pretend to take these guys artistic vision seriously. Do that and you will get a little work out of them, but they think you're a chump. Don't and you've got a whole lot of nothing happening, but they'll never let you go, just in case they might be wrong.
I'm sure there are some good managers, and it is a very demanding and thankless (except for when you take home all the band's money) job. Steve told me a story about a manager that was so eager to please that he decided to arrange a fuck for the boys in the band. He opened up the yellow pages to "F". Naturally, there was no listing for fuck. But his heart was in the right place. Steve enjoyed impersonating his various managers, and me for that matter. It was quite amusing.
I thought we (as a civilized species) had finished with such tawdriness, but boy am I ever wrong. The music business is rife with payola in the form of prostitution, drugs and cash. I disputed this for years, (probably more to save my own sanity than anything else), but the sad truth. Can you believe it? Humanityís most cherished form of creative expression, you would know this better than any one; music is a medium that can captivate your entire depth of being, change a person forever, save their life, and what the world is going to hear is being manipulated by the attendees at a coke party in the back room of a Tijuana bordello.
Itís not the musicians who are doing this nasty business so much, although musicians will always find some nice mud puddle to play in. Some musicians donít know anything about this stuff, I never did ! Itís the promoters, recording company execs and djs that are doing this. For a fascinating in-depth investigation of the ugly alter-ego of the music business, read "Hit Men" by Fredric Dannen.