This segment originally aired Oct. 12, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.
From Rihanna to Taylor Swift, a musician’s “brand” has become almost as important as the music itself. But back in the 1970s, branding was still a new concept in the music industry.
Legendary rock and roll manager Shep Gordon pioneered the idea of creating individual brands for musicians. For example: Gordon wrapped Alice Cooper’s 1972 vinyl record “School’s Out” in flammable panties and sent them from Canada, knowing full well they would be stopped at the American border and cause a scene. He made sure a reporter at The Washington Post was there to record the infamous publicity stunt.
Gordon’s new memoir, “They Call Me Supermensch,” explores some of the other crazy PR coups in music history.