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The biography of the first rock n roll star, written by his son. The story of a country and western singer who became an overnight success with `Rock Around the Clock', mobbed wherever he went for two years (`Thousands of fans formed a crush at the station to greet the group in a raucous display the press dubbed "the Second Battle of Waterloo."'), accused of inciting riots and then completely eclipsed by a singer called Elvis with sex appeal. Haley's messy private life resulted in distancing himself from his kids before his big 1970s revival. Despite this reversal of his fortunes he had drunk himself to death by 1981.
Re-release of the first book ever published in America about the legendary Motown Record Company, with a new foreword by legendary music journalist Greil Marcus! In January 1959 Berry Gordy borrowed $800 from his family and founded the Detroit-based record company that in less than a decade was to become the largest black-owned business in the United States. It also became one of the most productive and influential producers of popular music anywhere in the world, mainly by combining the best features of black and white American popular music. Even a short list of the recording and performing talent that Gordy recruited, trained and produced for his company is awesome: Diana Ross, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells. The Story of Motown is the story of Berry Gordy's triumph over powerful, established financial interests, entrenched popular taste, bigotry and racism. By inventing a sound that appealed to whites as well as blacks, and that was immediately identifiable to an entire generation of listeners, Gordy demonstrated his genius as a producer; by breaking the exploitive practice of "cover" records, he helped black artists control their own music and share in the proceeds of hits; and by the sheer force of his will, courage, and intelligence, he demonstrated that a black man from the urban ghetto could aspire to and conquer the heights of traditional American business, including the movie business. Unfortunately, while doing all of this, he also found new ways to exploit his talented artists and eventually lost many of them to companies that paid them more. The Story of Motown is the story of the rise and fall of one of the most important cultural touchstones in American history
In the months before she died, Florence Ballard, the spunky teenager who founded the most successful female vocal group in history--the Supremes--told her own side of the story. Recorded on tape, Flo shed light on all areas of her life, including the surprising identity of the man by whom she was raped prior to her entering the music business, the details of her love-hate relationship with Motown Records czar Berry Gordy, her drinking problem and pleas for help, a never-ending desire to be the Supremes' lead singer, and her attempts to get her life back on track after being brutally expelled from the group. This is a tumultuous and heartbreaking story of a world-famous performer whose life ended at the age of 32 as a lonely mother of three who had only recently recovered from years of poverty and despair.
Tim Parks's best seller, "Italian Neighbors," offered a sparkling, witty, and acutely observed account of an expatriate's life in a small village outside of Verona. Now in "An Italian Education," Parks continues his chronicle of adapting to Italian society and culture, while raising his Italian-born children. With the exquisite eye for detail, character, and intrigue that has brought him acclaim as a novelist, Parks creates an enchanting portrait of Italian parenthood and family life at home, in the classroom, and at church. Shifting from hilarity to despair in the time it takes to sing a lullaby, Parks learns that to be a true Italian, one must live by the motto "All days are one."
Complete with never-before-revealed details about the sex, violence, and drugs in her life, this biography reveals the incredibly turbulent life of Motown artist Mary Wells. Based in part on four hours of previously unreleased and unpublicised deathbed interviews with Wells, this account delves deeply into her rapid rise and long fall as a recording artist, her spectacular romantic and family life, the violent incidents in which she was a participant, and her abuse of drugs. From tumultuous affairs, including one with R&B superstar Jackie Wilson, to a courageous battle with throat cancer that climaxed in her gutsiest performance, this history draws upon years of interviews with Wells's friends, lovers, and husband to tell the whole story of a woman whose songs crossed the colour line and whose voice captivated the Beatles.
CRAZY MAN CRAZY: THE BILL HALEY STORY An authorized biography of rock 'n' roll's true pioneer-Bill Haley. Bill Haley-the man who brought rock 'n' roll into the mainstream. His song "Crazy Man, Crazy" was the first rock 'n' roll song to break the Billboard Top 20 in 1953 and was followed by his evergreen "We're Gonna Rock Around the Clock," the first song of its kind to hit #1. His success made him an idol not only in the US but throughout the world, from Canada to the UK, Europe, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and beyond. Yet Haley is often overlooked in the story of rock 'n' roll, overshadowed by others who followed him, from sex symbol Elvis Presley to wild man Jerry Lee Lewis and forever-young Buddy Holly. But Haley's lack of visibility was in part his own doing: he had conflicted feelings about fame, was extremely private, suffered chronic alcoholism, and troubled relationships with multiple wives, which yielded ten children who he struggled to support. Though he managed to carry on a successful touring career, his demons eventually eroded his health, and in 1981, at the age of only 55, he passed away. This book is written by esteemed biographer Peter Benjaminson and Bill Haley Jr., Haley's son, a musician himself, who tours the world paying tribute to his father's music. Culled from interviews with insiders-from ex-wives to the Comets, recorded conversations with Haley Sr., official documents, diaries, and more, this book not only charts the happenings of Haley's career but gives insight into the Haley behind the curtain and some of the other trials he faced, from the dark side of the music business to ties with Mafia. Featuring a collection of rare photographs, this book is a must-have for any serious rock 'n' roll fan.
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