July 14, 1997 12:00 PM

After all, Bowen insisted that Dean Martin record “Everybody Loves Somebody,” handed Frank Sinatra the music to “Strangers in the Night” and urged Reba McEntire to return to her traditional country roots.

Bowen’s ego rivals his knack for choosing a hit, but his story remains a coherent—and deliciously gossipy—musical revue, from the rock-and-roll ’50s to the Nashville ’80s. (Simon and Schuster, $23)

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