David Geffen: How the Brooklyn Kid Became a Billion-Dollar Magnate

It was a hot day in August of 1971, and five young men (in their birthday suits) sat in a sauna in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles. Four of them were musicians. Three were about to meet unimaginable success, and two were out-of-towners who had come to California to find fame, glory, and, obviously, girls. They were slim, good looking, and talented.

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But there was one in the quintet, who owned the sauna. He was a short, skinny kid who moved from New York to L.A. to make it in the industry as an agent. David Geffen, the future billionaire Hollywood mogul, sat there that day, next to Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Jackson Browne and Ned Doheny, telling them about his plans for his own record label. “I want to keep Asylum very small,” he announced. “I’ll never have more artists than I can fit in this sauna.” I’ll call that the understatement of the century. (But, hey, at least he was being modest).