…’However, the manager did not get along with Madonna, whom he knew during the frantic early years of her career — up from the clubs, an MTV sensation, and suddenly on the cusp of international fame. “Madonna would do anything to succeed. Anything she had to. It seemed at times she was working on getting meaner.”

Unlike the chapters on Michael Jackson, there’s nothing tragic about Madonna. Ron’s recollections of her are knife-like, but a lot of fun. (Primarily because Madonna, whatever one might think of her, has never self-destructed, never been arrested, never been in rehab, never been involved in scandals outside her “shocking” — now rather boring — professional displays, maybe there is something to be said for being “mean”?)

As much as Weisner disliked her, he writes: “Two hours into our first meeting, I knew Madonna would succeed. H–l, if you spent two minutes around her and you had any sense of pop culture, you knew she’d succeed!” There is a lot of interesting info on how MTV and the music industry was changing at that point and how Madonna — abrasive and eerily confident — fit so neatly, quickly and perfectly into that era.

Other than that, what do we learn? It’s much in the vein of brother Christopher Ciccone’s tell-all. Madonna is tight with a penny, complains a lot and doesn’t appear to ever be grateful. (“That word was not in her vocabulary.”)

Eventually, claims Weisner, Madonna’s little ways became too much, and he “gave” her to Freddy DeMann, who guided the icon through her best years, along with the monumental effort of Warner Bros. press rep Liz Rosenberg. Without Liz R., I firmly believe Madonna, for all her drive and — yes! — talent — would have imploded in some way, years ago.)

“Listen Out Loud” is a quick, hot read, as much for music fans as for those who just want a little — OK a lot — of dish.

But the fragile specter of Michael Jackson hangs over the book. Weisner doesn’t claim Michael wouldn’t have ended up in the same way, even if he’d stayed on the team, but as he notes, it might have helped, a little.

Oh, one must also note, all this is Ron Weisner’s version of life in music’s fast lane. Others might recall things differently. Although, truthfully, Madonna spends little time thinking about the past. That’s why she’s still here.

Taken from article by Liz Smith for Chicago Tribune