The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1 1920-1963

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2016-11-15
  • Publisher: Flatiron Books

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Ed Ward covers the first half of the history of rock & roll in this sweeping and definitive narrative—from the 1920s, when the music of rambling medicine shows mingled with the songs of vaudeville and minstrel acts to create the very early sounds of country and rhythm and blues, to the rise of the first independent record labels post-World War II, and concluding in December 1963, just as an immense change in the airwaves took hold and the Beatles prepared for their first American tour. The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1 shines a light on the far corners of the genre to reveal the stories behind the hugely influential artists who changed the musical landscape forever.

In this first volume of a two-part series, Ward shares his endless depth of knowledge and through engrossing storytelling hops seamlessly from Memphis to Chicago, Detroit, England, New York, and everywhere in between. He covers the trajectories of the big name acts like Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Ray Charles, while also filling in gaps of knowledge and celebrating forgotten heroes such as the Burnette brothers, the “5” Royales, and Marion Keisker, Sam Phillips’s assistant, who played an integral part in launching Elvis’s career.

For all music lovers and rock & roll fans, Ward spins story after story of some of the most unforgettable and groundbreaking moments in rock history, introducing us along the way to the musicians, DJs, record executives, and producers who were at the forefront of the genre and had a hand in creating the music we all know and love today.

Author Biography

ED WARD is the rock and roll historian on NPR’s Fresh Air and one of the founders of SXSW. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and countless other music magazines. He is also the coauthor of Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll. He lives in Austin, TX.

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book
Chapter Zero: In the beginning
Chapter One: The record industry: Race and Country
Chapter Two: Independence
Chapter Three: Blues, Birds, and a Moondog
Chapter Four: Black Voices in the Heartland
Chapter Five: 1953-4: The Stars Align
Chapter Six: 1955: Rock and Roll is Born…Maybe
Chapter Seven: 1956: Into the Big Time
Chapter Eight: Interlude In Another Land
Chapter Nine: 1957: Annus Mirabilis 1
Chapter Ten: 1958: Hoodlum Friends Outside
Chapter Eleven: 1959: Death and Soul
Chapter Twelve: 1960: Oldies, Newies, and Payola
Chapter Thirteen: 1961: Let’s Twist Again
Chapter Fourteen: 1962: Teen Pan Alley
Chapter Fifteen: Second Interlude In Another Land
Chapter Sixteen: Third Interlude: England and Germany
Chapter Seventeen: 1963: The End of the World

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