Coked-Out Music Industry Legend Neil Bogart Subject of 'Spinning Gold' Biopic

Jeremy Jordan as Neil Bogart at right (image via Hero Partners)

This vanity project directed by Timothy Scott Bogart, Spinning Gold tells the story of his late father, Neil Bogart. A music industry honcho who ran a number of labels - Buddah, Casablanca - in the '70s and '80s, Bogart worked his way up from a humble begninning in Brooklyn to become the coke-snorting executive who signed Kiss and Donna Summer.

Jeremy Jordan plays Bogart with pizazz. He narrates and acts in this whirlwind tale of making and breaking artists when payola was popular and drugs and alcohol lubricated every signing. It's a jukebox musical with highlight renditions of Summer's "Last Dance" by Tayla Parx, Gladys Knight and the Pips' "Midnight Train to Georgia" by Ledisi, the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing" by Doron Bell (Ronald Isley) and Kiss' "Rock and Roll All Night" by Casey Likes (Gene Simmons), Sam Nelson Harris (Paul Stanley) and Alex Gasgarth (Peter Criss)." Wiz Khalifa imitates George Clinton and Pink Sweat$ covers Bill Withers in other musical scenes.

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"One Toke Over the Line," which was a hit for Brewer & Shipley on Buddah in 1971, is featured in an office segment as Buddah's new minority owners question the wisdom of releasing an obvious ode to marijuana. "It says 'Sweet Mary,'" one notes. "What the hell do you think they're singing about?" Dan Fogler (Don Peyote) portrays one of Bogart's team players Buck Reingold in this scene and others.

Bogart's ego is epic in this biopic. He operates his businesses like a Svengali, schmoozes until he gets what he wants and runs afould of Motown when he pinches several of their acts (Knight for one), leading to a beatdown that reminds him of his dad, Al Bogartz (Jason Isaacs), who faced similar problems as a low-level criminal.

The second half of Spinning Gold depicts Bogart's downward spiral that begins with the move of Casablanca to L.A., where he quickly picks up a cocaine habit. Married to Beth (Michelle Monaghan) with a couple of kids, Bogart also has a mistress, Joyce Blawitz (Lyndsy Fonseca), who comes with him to California. The company keeps hemorrhaging money until Summer's hit, "Love to Love You Baby," sparks the disco revolution.

Bogart died from cancer at 39 in 1981, leaving behind a legacy of delivering great soul, disco and rock music to the masses. Guys like him fueled the modern-day music business.

Watch Spinning Gold on Prime Video


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.