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June 25, 1943
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
June 25, 1943
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Howard Bloom (born June 25, 1943) is an American author. He was a publicist in the 1970s and 1980s for singers and bands such as Prince, Billy Joel, and Styx. In 1988 he became disabled with chronic fatigue syndrome. Since then he has published three books on human evolution and group behavior, The Genius of the Beast, The Global Brain and The Lucifer Principle.
Bloom was born to a Jewish family in Buffalo, New York. He began his interest in science as early as ten years old, becoming fascinated in cosmology and microbiology, and at the age of twelve won the Westinghouse Science Award for his design with computers. By sixteen, Bloom was working as an assistant researching the immune system, at the world's largest cancer research center, the Roswell Park Memorial Research Cancer Institute. Bloom graduated from New York University and at the age of twenty-five, veered from his scientific studies to work as an editor for a rock magazine. Bloom would go on to found the largest P.R. firm in the music industry.
Howard Bloom in 1974 was made head of public relations of ABC Records. He also was briefly head of Gulf+Western's music publicity department. In 1976, he founded The Howard Bloom Organization and "transformed and launched" in the late 1970s and 1980s many major artists. In 1980 he suggested to Prince and his management that he "aggressively pursue the rock and new wave audience ... Consequently, Prince's management put together a string of dates designed with racially mixed audiences in mind". He tutored the band Styx in how to appeal to "more staid magazines" such as the Wall Street Journal and People and so make them mainstream. He was hired by Columbia Records to make Billy Joel "more media friendly".
He was also the publicist for Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Talking Heads, Lionel Richie, ZZ Top, Bette Midler, AC/DC, Simon & Garfunkel, John Mellencamp, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Kiss. He handled Bob Marley including his Uprising Tour.
Howard Bloom has been described in a biography of Billy Joel as "the public relations spinmeister to have on your payroll in the seventies and eighties if you were a musician and your image needed to be authenticated to the masses. With his company, the Howard Bloom Organization, which he founded in the seventies, he had successfully transformed and launched the careers of many rock stars, including John Mellencamp, Kiss, Hall and Oates, AC/DC, Run DMC". He has also been described as "one of the most successful publicists of his generation, a star maker whose client list was a Who's Who of rock and roll ... [whose] ... interest in rock and roll had more to do with the study of mass psychology in action than furthering the aggrandizement of spoiled rock stars. He approached PR as an applied science".
In 1979, New York Magazine put him in the "Hot 100 plus" as one of its "Big Dealmakers" and observed "His brain is a vinyl storage system: the most thorough and efficient". According to Derek Sutton, manager of the Styx, he was "probably the greatest press agent that rock and roll has ever known." In 1986, the Howard Bloom Organization was reported to be "one of the most successful independent public relations firms in the music business. Last year his acts grossed $333 million."
Howard Bloom has written the three books The Genius of the Beast, Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century, and The Lucifer Principle. His books generalize and extend his ideas about what makes rock and roll artists successful to human nature. According to him: "Everything from the wolf-pack behavior of music business executives to the lemming-like conduct of hypocritical journalist helped shape my insights" and that "[t]he real magic of rock happens at a concert, where if the performers are successful, individuals ... merge in a pulse of common emotion ... This consolidation mirrors the force that create much of both human good and evil". He founded the International Paleopsychology Project, an Internet group "to study the development of the universe from its conception to the present". Individuals crediting him with inspiration include the scientist Peter Corning and science fiction writer Greg Bear. His fourth book, The God Problem: How A Godless Cosmos Creates, was issued August 24, 2012.
Together with Bob Guccione, Jr., Ted Nugent, John Waite and Sheena Easton, Howard Bloom in 1986 formed Music in Action to protest against the censorship against rock music being sought and advocated by religious fundamentalists such as Jimmy Swaggart.
An article by Howard Bloom in Omni magazine, "The importance of hugging", suggested that "Islamic cultures treat their children harshly, they despise open displays of affection ... the result is violent adults", and as a consequence, "An entire people may have turned barbaric for the simple lack of a hug." This claim led the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee to organize a sit-in at Omni's New York head office. His article has been described as "not unlike some forms of religious anti-Semitism", and together with similar comments in his book, The Lucifer Principle, "an example of Orientalist (and racist) literature". Bloom has written that "Arab pressure groups asked ever so politely ... that nothing that I write be published again. They offered to boycott my publisher's products — all of them — worldwide. And they backed their warning with a call for my punishment in seventeen Islamic countries."
Howard Bloom developed chronic fatigue syndrome in 1988, which left him housebound. The 2007 book Chronic Fatigue Syndrome For Dummies includes him as one of the ten most famous people with CFS. In 2001, the New York, City Clerk's Office refused to issue him a marriage license in his own home, though they can be arranged for those unable to attend their office in hospitals, nursing homes and prisons. After publicity, a personal visit was made by the city clerk to his house to issue a marriage license, but The New York Times observed that city's regulations in regard to obtaining them at the city clerk's office were likely to be in breach of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.