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Peter Guralnick's books include the prizewinning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley. Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love: Sweet Soul Music; Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke; and Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll. He won a Grammy for his liner notes for Sam Cooke Live at vis mere the harlem Square Club, wrote and coproduced the documentary Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll, and wrote the scripts for the Grammy-winning documentary Sam Cooke/Legend and Martin Scorsese's blues documentary Feel Like Going Home. vis mindre


Værker af Peter Guralnick

Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey (2003) — Redaktør — 169 eksemplarer
Nighthawk Blues: A Novel (1980) 34 eksemplarer
The Listener's Guide to the Blues (1982) 18 eksemplarer

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I picked this one up at a Free Little Library because of the author Peter Guralnick. It sat on the shelf for a while due to its length and heft. And I wasn't sure I wanted to get into the life of a man, from television interviews, seemed an insufferable blowhard. I decided to tackle it after hearing a Keith Richards interview with Marc Maron. Although the book didn't change my impression of the man, it made me realize the contribution, over incredible obstacles, to American music.

Thanks Keith.… (mere)
harryo19 | 3 andre anmeldelser | May 16, 2022 |
Peter Guralnick tells an epic tale on an epic scale. One might ask whether the life of a man who owned the studio an eighteen-year-old happened to walk into to record a song for his mother is worth covering in over 700 pages. The answer is an unequivocal yes.
The music Sam Phillips captured is enough reason for this. Phillips is so famous for being the first to record Elvis, followed in quick succession by Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and then, a little later, Jerry Lee Lewis, that one forgets how much great, path-breaking music he had recorded before that. There was “Rocket 88” with Ike Turner’s group, with Jackie Brenston on vocals—often called the first rock & roll record—but also the first sessions with Howlin’ Wolf, B. B. King, and others.
Fortuitously, Phillips was a meticulous sound engineer. Many timeless monuments of early rock and blues were cut in less-than-ideal circumstances, but Phillips captured these seminal tracks in a self-designed state-of-the-art room. Yet Guralnick makes it clear that for Sam, it was always about more than music. From childhood in rural Alabama, close to Muscle Shoals, he heard in the music of those around him, black and white, a shared human spirituality. Racial segregation made no sense to him, and for him, the cross-over appeal of his tracks was a weapon in overcoming it.
For years, he was reticent about articulating his agenda, but both the teens who bought his records and disapproving adults understood. When the pushback came, in the late fifties, the hot-button issues were the payola scandal (the revelation that chronically underpaid disc jockeys raised themselves to a living wage through the largesse of promoters) and the irregular private life of the enormously talented and arrogant Jerry Lee Lewis. The underlying worry, however, was desegregation. Also, the major record companies, slow to catch on (and cash in) on the new trend were jealous of every dollar that went to Sun Records and other independent labels such as Chess and Atlantic rather than to them.
Guralnick tells the tale well, casting it as one of dazzling success and back-breaking setbacks. There is a bit of irony, as well. After Phillips reluctantly sold his contract with Elvis to RCA, knowing that he had no chance to keep him in the long run anyway, he still had a stable full of talent. But Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison all felt neglected because of the attention Sam lavished on the one he felt most talented of all, Jerry Lee Lewis. They deserted him just before Jerry Lee’s personal life became public and his record sales dropped to nothing. It’s not always the prospectors who first find gold who get rich in the ensuing rush.
In a lengthy final chapter, the author details how he came to play Boswell to Sam’s Johnson. It’s an unusual feature, but I felt it worked. There are a few other idiosyncrasies in Guralnick’s style, however, such as the choice of the preposition “on” as in “to cut a record on [Artist’s Name].” Perhaps he picked that up from Phillips himself, but it was new to me. Another quirk is to write a sentence with a qualifier and then in parentheses take back the qualifier. Example: “almost painful (forget almost).” Even in a book of this length, one such sentence would have been enough. He also uses the verb “individuate” more than any other writer I’ve come across.
These are minor quibbles, though. My friends consider me very knowledgeable about this music, but there was much in the book new to me, such as the in-studio argument during the sessions to record “Great Balls of Fire” between Sam and Jerry Lee about whether God would send the singer to hell for blasphemy. Jerry Lee argued the affirmative, which may account for some of the anguished urgency in his vocal.
I give this book the full five stars because I believe it is worth reading not only by those for whom this music matters but for anyone interested in the social upheavals in America in the second half of the 20th century.
… (mere)
HenrySt123 | 3 andre anmeldelser | Jul 19, 2021 |
Wow. Peter Guralnick's biography of Sam Phillips (1923-2003), the visionary and founder of Sun Records, is a long, meticulously researched, rollicking read. One gets a great portrait of the very perfectly imperfect man behind the legendary discoverer of such blues, country and rock icons as Howlin' Wolf (aka Chester Burnett, 1910-76); Johnny Cash (1930-2003); Elvis Presley (1935-77); Carl Perkins; Jerry Lee Lewis and Charlie Pride; a man unstintingly devoted to family and friends but who took no dung from anyone. One of a kind.… (mere)
Jimbookbuff1963 | 3 andre anmeldelser | Jun 5, 2021 |
On sale on Thriftbooks.com site, I bought it because recently I watched a documentary regarding Elvis. He was my first love. As a young child, the local movie was only .25 cents on Saturday, and I think I saw every one of his not so good movies, but it was his dark hair and handsomeness that kept me coming back to watch them.

The is an exhaustive story of the King of Rock and Roll. It is a good book, but the author went way beyond keeping the story on track. Elvis came from a poor family. He was a twin, but his other brother died at birth. His father really had no gumption.

It was his mother that held everything together, including her only child. She was the queen of his heart. Her death co-incited with his military obligation.

A very polite person, he loved his mommy, fast, beautiful cars, and a plethora of young woman.

When he danced and sang, he girated his hips and legs. This led to many scandalous reviews. It also led to quite a large audience of women who screamed and at times, tore off his clothes.
… (mere)
Whisper1 | 10 andre anmeldelser | Feb 26, 2021 |



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