As a credible PR, she has worked closely with a number of giant names such as Foo Fighters, REM, Elton John, Prince, Elvis Costello and Mark Ronson.
The name is synonymous with the surreal and dazzling phenomenon that was Madonna’s career in the 80’s and 90’s. She easily managed Rufus Wainwright, counted Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys as a companion, and helped Keith Richards write his memoirs.
So, when it was announced that Barbara Sharon was writing a memoir about her own half-century in rock and roll, salivation began almost immediately.
A few months ago, a British newspaper described the resulting book. Access to all areasAs “tell everything explosive”, they had the biggest name in the business trembling with their boots.
“There’s some panic out there-this book will be full of revelations and will surely get people to talk,” a source reportedly told the newspaper in December. “Imagine that there were so many women who took care of A List Stars and decided to write a book. It would be very interesting.”
Still, Charone’s perfect professionalism as a celebrity PR tells us that the resulting memoirs probably have less smut, juice, and saliva than some quarters expected. increase.
“I’m the only one who really spilled beans,” says Charone on a phone call from her office in St. John’s Wood, London. “I’m only talking about my own drug and drinking habits. Of course, I had to guarantee it to many managers who work with me. [what the papers wrote] I couldn’t get far from the truth. “
That said, Charone offers readers a dazzling ringside seat in a rock’n’roll circus.
Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago as a daughter of a lawyer, she became obsessed with music from an early age, and her plans for a “wise” career were quickly at a loss. After graduating from her Northwestern University, she boarded her first flight to London. The city where she fell from afar.
“from [music] From a point of view, everything is central to London, “says Charone. “If something happens in football, government or music, it immediately makes a national impression, right? I had a romantic vision of England from The Beatles. A tough day night When help, And all other types of British bands. I got here and saw a taxi and a two-story red bus and was absolutely crazy about it. “
First landing work as a correspondent Chicago Sun Times When cream The magazine Charone soon broke into the scene as a music journalist. Her being a genuine and enthusiastic music fan supported her career. At that time, she was one of the few women in a very male-centric world.
“I remember going backstage to meet The Who in Madison Square Garden and telling the guy at the door that I was on the guest list and he was like,” Yeah, sure. ” I had to be really persistent and determined before he could see the list, “Charone says. “The artist is [took me seriously] Because I was a real fan — they appreciated it and it was shining. “
She was in Toronto when Keith Richards was arrested for the purpose of transporting heroin at one accidental moment in 1977. After she came to help him, the two became friends, Charone moved to his house for three years, and she wrote his memoirs with him. Her love and respect for “Kief” runs through her own book, and she still counts him as a good companion.
“We got on because many journalists who covered him at the time were obsessed with the reputation of his bad boy. I was obsessed with music,” says Charone. “As you know, the frontmen of every group are usually people attracted to, and when I first interviewed Keith, he came into the room. It was like rock and roll right after him. It’s like. It really made a big impression on me. “
A few years later, the poacher became a gamekeeper and was offered a job in the public relations department of Warner Music. After getting off to a slightly wrong start, she was initially shy and couldn’t call the newspaper to promote Jeff Dean. A young Detroit woman quickly entered the door and changed everything.
“Her look was eye-catching. Cross earrings, black tops, black skirts, leggings, hair, lipstick, birth marks, bare navel, midriff, entire 9 yards,” Charone wrote in Madonna’s book. increase.
“She was electric and danced as if Bob Fosse himself was pulling the strings.”
Charone says Madonna was ambitious, diligent, and focused. “From the beginning, Madonna understood the value of advertising. Even in her early days, she knew she wouldn’t need to make this promotion much longer. Where is this going? I saw.”
Despite her glittering client roster, Charone’s name is most strongly associated with Madonna and has overseen her career from the beginning, alongside her legendary US PR Liz Rosenberg.
“It’s very exciting when you’re in the middle of a storm, a fulcrum, or something you want to call it,” Charone says of the true power of Madonna’s pop career.
“It’s just amazing that the people we work with become one of the biggest stars in the world. We went after playing. [tiny] The Camden Palace, and the next UK show, was Wembley Stadium. It won’t happen again. She has never played in the middle of them. “
Regarding Madonna, Charone adds: She was smart. I think the best artists really have a good sense of themselves. “
Still, being young, beautiful, ambitious and rigorous was sometimes seen as a problematic combination at the time.
“As long as she has, it’s all irrelevant to anyone who consistently makes great music and consistently plays great live shows,” Charone accused the star of lobbying “Diva.” Say about.
Elsewhere in her book, Charone has a compelling view of the changing record label and media situation, and considers herself a complete “newspaper addict” (“in the UK”). Parents When Sun Delivered to my house every day. “).
She recalls a press conference in Las Vegas with Boris Johnson and his daughter to see Elton John’s show. “I never imagined for a minute that this pretty chambolic journalist would one day become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,” Charone wrote. “In the summer of 2004, he was another funny politician with very floppy hair. GQ.. “
As a diplomat, Charone is not drawn to magnifying this observation. “That’s like floppy hair and mess, I would never bet [him becoming PM]That’s all she says.
Eventually, Access to all areas Is an erupting love letter to rock and roll, and Charone will first tell you that she’s just a music fan who has become very lucky in her life. She still clearly knows that she is rewarded for listening to music and working closely with her beloved artists all day long.
I ask her if she is as much a music fan as she was young after spending half a century in business. “It’s not the same because you’re not the same,” she says. “That said, I love Father John Misty’s new album. It was a great discovery. I just started working with the Foo Fighters a few years ago and now I’ve seen 30 shows. I became a big fan.
“While spending more time at home during the blockade and writing a book, I was once again hooked on my record collection. One day Bob Dylan and the next day Simon & Garfunkel.” She says. “It was great to make it happen.”
Barbara Sharon’s “Access to All Areas: A Behind-the-Scenes Pass of Music and Culture for 50 Years” was published in White Rabbit’s book.