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Paul told me, “You’re the ordering manager now. What you’ve got to do is cover your butt, get the feed from all the different rack jobbers in the field, and order sufficient quantities to get stock to the stores. If you don’t have the product in the warehouse, you can’t get it to the stores, and it doesn’t sell.” Paul continued, “Don’t say anything to anybody. Order 50,000 albums. You’re breaking the single, and this album’s going to be big.” I said, “Oh, my God! 50,000 albums, forget it.” Reluctantly, I called Pinkneville, Illinois (the mothership or the main supplier) without telling Tony anything about it, and put the order in. The next day, 25,000 albums showed up on our loading dock. The loading dock manager went to Tony’s office and said, “My God, we got 25,000 in and another 25,000 on back order. I returned from lunch to find chaos. I found an absolutely-crazed, out-of-control manager. He had gone ballistic. I could hear him yelling from the front office to the very back of the shipping room, which was approximately 60 yards long. I asked one of the secretaries who had a stern look on her face, “What’s the problem with Tony? What’s gone wrong now?” She said, “Ah, it looks like your in deep sh_t.” I replied, “Oh, really.” I walked through the swinging doors and saw Tony approaching as if to kill me. He was red in the face and already had a heart condition; I was scared to death he was going to drop dead right then and there. He yelled at me, “Pally, what in hell do you think you are you doing here? We got 25,000 albums sitting on our loading dock, and you’re going to eat every damn one of them.” I said, “Tony, relax. I got this under control. Believe me.” Within just 48 hours, three-quarters of that order were gone. Tony came to my desk and inquired nervously, “Pally, when are the remaining 25,000 coming in? We’ve got a blockbuster on our hands. Good for you, kid.” I was a hero, and Tony looked like a genius to the people in the regional office located in Detroit.

But for every good turn, something else gets ugly. The in-house record promoter, Lenny, who got his job from two exceptionally-powerful independent record promoters, looked stupid. MCA’s own in-house record promoter had mud on his face. He didn’t get the job done that he was being paid for. I, on the other hand, looked brilliant. I was the one responsible for getting the record played and generating astronomical sales figures. I can still see the look on Lenny’s face as he stared me down through the glass window of his office, as if to say, “I’m going to get you. Yes, I’m going to get you.” I could see it. I felt it.

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