Doug Morris grew up in the 1950s on Long Island in a family he describes as “very professional.” His father was a lawyer. His mother taught ballet. His older brother was an aspiring scientist. Doug was the exception. He wanted to be a rock ’n’ roll songwriter. His parents spent a great deal of time fretting about his future. “Their basic question was: ‘Who is going to take care of Doug?’ ” Morris recalls. “ ‘How is he going to make a living?’ ”
Morris, the 74-year-old chief executive officer of Sony Music Entertainment, tells this story with great satisfaction in his expansive office on the 32nd floor of the company’s Manhattan headquarters. He sits on a cream-colored sofa in a finely tailored dark suit with his feet up on the coffee table. He gestures to a picture of him chatting with his friend Bono. “He’s the finest,” Morris says. “He’s really genuine. That’s not bulls---.” Another photograph of Morris captures him at a party with Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, and their mentor, Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight. “I love that picture,” he says. “It’s my favorite.” He fits in perfectly with the three hip-hop kingpins.