Music is medicine. Hospitalized in 1982—the hole in his heart was infected—Stein listened on a Walkman to a Madonna demo from the producer Mark Kamins. “As penicillin dripped into my heart,” he writes, “I’m sure I was going nuts in that little room.” From his bed, he called Kamins, a hairdresser, and a nurse to help him take a shower. That night, at Lenox Hill Hospital, Madonna signed to Sire. “I certainly thought she’d have a long career,” Stein tells me, “and I think she’s still got some mileage to go. I make mistakes all the time in business and in my personal life, but she’s fucking smart.

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