inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #26 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Mon 16 Jan 17 17:57
    
And <jonl>, all that stuff you talk about is outside the scope of
this book, so I'm not going to respond to your question, mostly
because that's personal history and once I get started I can go on
and on. I was sorry I couldn't use that Shiva's review, though; Liza
Williams, the legendary woman who ran Capitol Records' publicity
department at that time, had me very, very interested in whatever
the hell was happening in Austin. And Liza's yet another story. 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #27 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Mon 16 Jan 17 18:00
    
Oh, and those of you reading along at home can participate, too.
Mark? Tell the nice people who've just tuned in how they can send
their own questions and comments. There's a nice chap. 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #28 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Mon 16 Jan 17 18:12
    
Just a reminder to those of you following along on the WWW:

If you're not a member of the WELL, but you have a comment or
question to offer, send via email to inkwell at well.com.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #29 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Mon 16 Jan 17 18:22
    
:-)

The chapter on 1957 alone (which I just re-read) is worth the price
of admission all by itself.

The advent of American Bandstand, Top 40, the calypso fad (!), a
bazillion classic rockabilly sides every fan knows (nearly all of
which were at best regional hits at the time) and on and on, ending
with the crashing chord of Elvis's draft notice on December 17th.

And finally, I learned the difference between Buddy Holly and Buddy
Holly and the Crickets, although I'd probably have to look it up and
read it again if I wanted to remember the specifics.

I've been a music fan since grade school, so I'm reasonably familiar
with most of artists and songs discussed (although I didn't know
Rosco Gordon had a dancing chicken!) but reading the book has helped
me untangle what was formerly a big blur of "stuff that happened in
the late 1950s."

And I was wondering why you so assiduously avoided the term "doo
wop."
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #30 of 177: Ned Wall (nedwall) Mon 16 Jan 17 18:45
    
(The playlist is at the bottom of this page:
https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/11/ed-ward-the-history-of-rock-rol
l.html .)
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #31 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Tue 17 Jan 17 02:53
    
Mr. Wall is good at finding stuff.  Sometimes it's a bit scary.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #32 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 17 Jan 17 04:21
    
Administrivia:

Please use this link:

http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/496/History-of-Rock-and-Roll-Volum
e-page01.html

to share this conversation with your 'off-the-WELL' friends and
networks. (It was all I could do not to spell it 'WALL')
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #33 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Tue 17 Jan 17 04:45
    
Ah great - for whatever reason I wasn't seen the navigation links on
that page before, but now I am.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #34 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 17 Jan 17 05:06
    
<30> Thanks Ned, great review..

Ed, given the technology these days, why can't the electronic
version of a book like this have built in urls to song snippets as
you mention them during the course of the book??? Copyright issues
aside...seems technically simple. I, for one, would pay extra for
something like that.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #35 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 17 Jan 17 05:09
    
THE PLAYLIST !

https://play.spotify.com/user/122691566/playlist/39ucX8bD05oDDezEyqA4E1?play=t
rue&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #36 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 17 Jan 17 05:12
    
25 hours of music to read by, perfect 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #37 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Tue 17 Jan 17 05:21
    
On a somewhat related note, the chapters on the "explosion years" of
1956-58 mention several quickie exploitation films which contain now
historic performances by early rock & rollers.

Which are a must see?
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #38 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 17 Jan 17 06:56
    
The playlist is simply outstanding!!!

Needs to be released on Alligator Records as an anthology. Hint :)
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #39 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Tue 17 Jan 17 07:11
    
RE: electronic issues. The publishing business is very conservative
and very attentive to IP issues. Like me, they wouldn't do something
like that unless all copyright issues were cleared, and the profit
margin is thin enough on a book that they sure wouldn't want to
spend the time and money clearing those rights. As it is, several
production problems delayed what wsa supposed to be a September
release until mid-November, which really hurts the Christmas sales
and the amount of publicity we can do to stimulate them. 

As far as films, most of the really awful rocksploitation films of
the '50s were only enlivened by a performance or two, and there
YouTube is your friend: use IMDB to find what songs were in what
film and seek out the excerpt there. The two I'd most strongly
recommend are The Girl Can't Help It, which is fast-paced, funny,
and has some great social comment (albeit unwittingly). Jayne
Mansfield does a fine job and the action breaks constantly to afford
a performance. Little Richard is in his glory here, and the scene
where the black maid gets all hot and bothered watching Eddie
Cochran is very telling. On the other end of cinematic art, Rock,
Baby, Rock It! is fascinating because of its no-budget-ness, which
nonetheless manages to include some top Texas rockabilly talent,
performing live. There's a shake dancer, the director's girlfriend,
no doubt, who's supposed to be one of the teenagers, who cuts loose
in dance scenes, rather surrealistically. 

Elvis' films are a separate category, of course, and everyone hated
Love Me Tender because he didn't get to sing much. Kid Creole is
weighted down by mild racism and uneven material, although the New
Orleans location shots are nice, but the only essential Elvis movie,
to me, is Jailhouse Rock, with great songs and great material. The
scene with the title song is a rock video avant la lettre. Oh, and
unlike all of these films except The Girl Can't Help It, it's in
color. 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #40 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Tue 17 Jan 17 08:23
    
I didn't realize that "Col" Tom had alienated Lieber & Stoller.  I
guess that can be added to his long list of crimes.

Quite apart from the possibility that he was on the lam for murder
(my guess: probably was), the Parker/Elvis relationship was sort of
like an abusive marriage.  Parker worked hard to keep Elvis
completely cut off, especially from anyone smart, talented, and
independent enough to wise him up or build up his self confidence.

I do give him points for figuring out that pretending to be a
colorful rascal was an excellent way to disguise the fact that he
was a sociopathic predator.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #41 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Tue 17 Jan 17 08:28
    
On a much lighter note: I laughed when I read about Sam Phillips
deliberately naming his second label "Phillips International" so the
Dutch company would have to buy him out when they inevitably decided
to enter the US market.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #42 of 177: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Tue 17 Jan 17 10:24
    
"Rock and Roll" let's define our terms:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_and_roll

Ed, where do you come down with this Wikipedia article? They don't
seem to see roots before 1940, but I think that's because the term
"Rock and Roll" wasn't in much use before then.

From the article:

"The phrase "rocking and rolling" originally described the movement
of a ship on the ocean,[15] but was used by the early twentieth
century, both to describe the spiritual fervor of black church
rituals[16] and as a sexual analogy. Various gospel, blues and swing
recordings used the phrase before it became used more frequently –
but still intermittently – in the 1940s, on recordings and in
reviews of what became known as "rhythm and blues" music aimed at a
black audience.[16]

In 1934, the song "Rock and Roll" by the Boswell Sisters appeared in
the film Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round. In 1942, Billboard magazine
columnist Maurie Orodenker started to use the term "rock-and-roll"
to describe upbeat recordings such as "Rock Me" by Sister Rosetta
Tharpe.[17] By 1943, the "Rock and Roll Inn" in South Merchantville,
New Jersey, was established as a music venue.[18] In 1951,
Cleveland, Ohio disc jockey Alan Freed began playing this music
style while popularizing the phrase to describe it.[19"
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #43 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Tue 17 Jan 17 10:36
    
Y'know, Ted, I don't really care what Wikipedia says. The term's
been around for a while. Leave it at that. 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #44 of 177: Scott Underwood (esau) Tue 17 Jan 17 10:49
    
I was interested in the various side players -- the hustlers looking
for a buck but also the folks who really seemed to get this new fad.
Managers, agents, producers, impresarios, DJs, label businessmen of all
sorts. There's a sense, especially in the beginning, that no one really
knows what they're doing, and rock 'n' roll isn't any more valid than
calypso, gospel, or blues as a way to make some money. That changed,
later.

Related to that is the sense that some of these people saw the music as
a wild and dangerous thing and immediately took steps to calm it down
by making it, well, whiter and more genteel.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #45 of 177: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Tue 17 Jan 17 11:19
    
I have not yet read the book, but I am looking forward to doing so in the
near future.

I was curious--when you started working on the book, you came to it with a
deep knowledge of the era and the music--what, if anything, were you
surprised to learn as you wrote the book?  Was there any music that you came
across for the first time in working on this book?
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #46 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Tue 17 Jan 17 11:31
    
<esau> makes a good point, and my concentrating on black and
"hillbilly" music as the narrative makes necessary shouldn't obscure
the fact that there were thriving record companies exploiting
Ukranian-, Polish-, Portugese-, Yiddish- and Mexican-American music
alongside of these musics. Ross Bagdasarian, who, as David Seville,
founded the Chipmunks empire, was already rich as the king of
Armenian-American music, centered in Fresno, California. The biggest
winner in making a transition to another ethnic music was Lew Chudd,
whose Imperial Records had been around a while, doing very well in
the LA Mexican market (the Texas Mexican market had a completely
different kind of music), striking paydirt with New Orleans black
music and deciding to explore there. First he found Dave
Bartholemew, and then he found a kid who played piano with him on
occaseion, Antoine Domino. 
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #47 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Tue 17 Jan 17 11:40
    
<pdl>, again, I'd done a lot of this research already for Rock of
Ages a couple of decades ago, so my surprises came from two places.
First, back then, not much research had been done on black music in
LA -- non-jazz black music, I should say -- in the postwar era.
Arnold Shaw's Honkers and Shouters was basically it, and resulted in
my getting an indignant letter -- which I still have, pinned up near
my desk -- from Joe Bihari, informing me that the Biharis were
Hungarian Jews, not Lebanese, as Shaw had said. Now, I had two
excellent bits of research to hand, a boring UCLA book on the
Central Avenue scene, and, much more enjoyably, RJ Smith's The Great
Black Way, which traces everything back to black Texans who built
the railroad and stayed in LA when they got there. It also has the
story of Korla Pandit, who didn't make it into my book. 

The other thing that I learned was at the other end of the story,
where I watched the interaction between Dick Dale, who was not only
a surfer and a guitarist, but a music-store owner who sold
solid-body electric guitars and amplifiers and was sort of a
beta-tester of hardware for Leo Fender, whose operation was nearby.
Once the Ventures had popularized these new guitars, which were
useless for jazz, they became a kind of icon for Southern California
youth music, which would not only bring us surf music, but also made
it easier to transition into imitating the Beatles when they
arrived. 

But new music? Not very much. I had a huge LP collection, and have a
huge CD collection.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #48 of 177: David Wilson (dlwilson) Tue 17 Jan 17 17:39
    
Ed could you talk about the intersection of creative product and
commercial product--specifically the issue of covers.  I never heard
the Five Royales until a few years ago but their leader Lowman
Pauling had an influence on the music and other musicians far beyond
the attention and credit he is given.  Take for example his tune
"Dedicated to the One I Love."  I had no idea that he came out with
it in 1957. All I knew was that the Shirelles had a hit with it in
the early 60's and by the mid 60's the Mamas and Papas recorded
their version.  If you search out the tune you can find a number of
covers contemporaneously with the Five Royales's version that are
either forgettable or unknown. 

The Shirelles had the hit and then the Mamas and Papas had a hit,
but no one but James Brown, Steve Cropper et al in the South knew
about the Five Royales.  

You can have anthologies of tunes such as "Before they were hits"
that gives you the originals that later were covered by others and
became hits. 
<http://www.allmusic.com/album/before-they-were-hits-or-we-did-it-first-mw00009
59819>

Reading your book this happened over and over. It seems that the
record companies were shooting darts and no one knew what would hit.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #49 of 177: Ed Ward (captward) Tue 17 Jan 17 19:07
    
Of course they were. And there were also songs that were waiting to
be covered to become hits: ever heard Big Maybelle's version of
"Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On?" Or the version Jerry Lee had heard
by Roy Hall? I didn't even know Maybelle had recorded it, but I've
heard Hall's version, and no question but Jerry Lee put something
into it. Of course, there was that rather undistinguished Arthur
Crudup tune Elvis covered, "That's All Right (Mama)." Lord knows
what he heard in it, but he heard something and he did it right.
Hell, a friend of mine found a copy of the Jive Bombers' "Bad Boy"
the other day and was amazed to see that it was written by Lil
Hardin Armstrong -- yes, *that* Lil Armstrong! 

But with the exception of a few black A&R men who were supervising
sessions for big indie labels, nobody had any clue what teenagers
wanted, black or white. This changed as more data accumulated, but
for the most part, what did a middle-aged Jewish guy know about
black teenagers? Why was Nashville so profoundly shocked when white
country singers in Memphis started emulating Presley -- and do their
damnedest to keep him out of town, while doing sessions on Buddy
Holly that they rejected because they didn't hear a hit? 

This changed when A&R guys who were almost teenagers themselves --
I'm thinking, in the time period of my book, about Phil Spector and
Snuff Garrett -- started getting jobs and having hits with the stuff
they produced and signed. But not in the '50s.
  
inkwell.vue.496 : History of Rock and Roll - Volume 1
permalink #50 of 177: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Wed 18 Jan 17 04:27
    
Ironically, it does seem that the tremendous creativity of that
period was partly the result of the fact that so many people had no
idea what was going on, or what would work with audiences.

I recently read an amusing memoir by a guy who had been an
all-around "music man" during the big band era.  Writing in the
1990s, he *still* was mad about how the machine which had been
carefully built up since the decades before the advent of recorded
music was suddenly completely disrupted and to a certain extent
destroyed by the advent of rock & roll.
  

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