Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Best A&R Person on Any Major Label

Things are so bad it's tempting to think Karin Berg is the only good a&r person left at any major label, but that's not fair. Just say she's the best. After spending most of the '60s working full-time in the antiwar and civil rights movements (she was on the staff of CORE), she did a stint in publishing, then turned to rock journalism (managing editor of Changes) and publicity (CBS, Vanguard, Elektra-Asylum). Instrumental in bringing Orleans to Asylum while still a publicist, she became director of East Coast a&r there six years ago and moved over to Warner Bros. in 1978.

Berg has never had signing power-higher-ups must always approve her deals. She spends most of her life turning acts down. But she's moved with exceptional taste and effectiveness in the corporate corridors, and her little list proves it: the Cars, the Dictators, and Television at Elektra-Asylum, Dire Straits, the B-52's, Tin Huey, the Roches, Wire, Tom Verlaine, Laurie Anderson, and Marshall Crenshaw at Warners. Not only that-she takes care of them once they climb aboard. And believe me, they need it.

Village Voice, Jan. 5, 1982