TOP RECORD EXEC'S BOOK REVEALS THE BIG BABIES IN THE MUSIC BIZ

Published on: March 24, 2004

Many of the world's biggest music stars are the world's biggest BABIES!

Barbra Streisand was so afraid of flying, she wouldn't get on a plane until the pilot told her what a wonderful singer she is; Michael Jackson once demanded that a record industry exec escort him to the "potty" so he could "tinkle"; and well into his 40s, Bob Dylan's mommy still made the '60s rebel eat his vegetables at dinner!

Those are just some of the bizarre revelations in "Howling at the Moon: The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in an Age of Excess," a new book from former CBS record exec Walter Yetnikoff about the performers he babysat during his 25-year career.

Even today, 14 years after he was fired from CBS for wild partying and his own excesses, Yetnikoff still can't get over how many rock and pop stars exude confidence and charisma onstage, but are whiners and wimps behind the scenes, says a source familiar with the book.

Barbra Streisand is a tough-talking diva, but her bravado vanishes at the airport, according to the source.

"Barbra hates to fly," the source said. "Yetnikoff writes that she was petrified when she was forced to travel from Miami to Los Angeles with him. She finally got on the plane when they appealed to something bigger than her fear -- her EGO!

"It was only after the pilot came out of the cabin and expressed his admiration for her talent that she lightened up and got on board."

Everybody knows that Michael Jackson is obsessed by youth, but Yetnikoff, whom Jacko liked to call "Good Daddy," was surprised at just how infantile he is.

"Yetnikoff writes about a bizarre request that Jackson made at a black-tie party he threw for him at the Museum of Natural History in New York," says the source.

"Just as he was going to introduce Michael to the star-studded crowd, Michael whispered to him, 'I have to tinkle. Can you take me to the potty?'

"He also said Michael complained that his father never hugged him when he was a child, and that he'd had his childhood taken from him."

Yetnikoff doesn't know if Jacko is guilty of the child abuse charges he's facing, but he says his eyebrows were raised on a visit to Japan during Jackson's "Bad" tour, when he noticed a "cute young boy, not older than 13" in Michael's entourage.

"When Yetnikoff asked what he was doing on the tour, the boy said only: 'I'm Michael's friend,' " the source reveals.

If Jackson felt unloved by his father, rock icon Bob Dylan was lovingly smothered by his mother, writes the record mogul.

"Yetnikoff arranged to have dinner with Dylan after a concert at Madison Square Garden, and Dylan arrived at 2 a.m. with some uncles and cousins -- and his mother, Beatrice," said the source.

"She badgered him to eat his food, and then reminded him to thank Yetnikoff afterward for the nice dinner.

"This inspiration for a generation of rebels was in fact a nice mama's boy!"

Mick Jagger is all swagger and snarl onstage, but Yetnikoff says when things turned ugly during a Rolling Stones contract dispute, Mick backed down.

"Just as the contract was to be signed, Mick balked. Keith Richards sided with Mick -- and Yetnikoff told him to 'go get another brain transfusion,' " says the source.

"At that point, Mick called Yetnikoff a 'stupid (bleep) record executive' and Yetnikoff wrapped his hands around Mick's throat.

"After a few tense moments, Jagger was ready to kiss and make up, and the Stones were signed."

If Yetnikoff harbored any dream of returning to CBS Records (now Sony), he may have blown it with this scandalous book, adds the source.

"It's definitely not going to make him any new friends in rock 'n' roll." -- JIM NELSON