Ed ward the history of rock and roll

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ed ward the history of rock and roll

The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963 by Ed Ward

Ed Ward covers the first half of the social history of rock & roll in this definitive book. Beginning in the 1920s when blues, country, and black popular music played over the air waves and the first independent record labels were born, this first volume of a two-part series finishes in December 1963, just as an immense sea-change begins to take hold and the Beatles prepare for their first American tour. Ward introduces you to the musicians, DJs, record executives, and producers who were at the forefront of the genre. Sharing story after story of some of the most unforgettable and groundbreaking moments in rock history, Ward reveals how different sounds, harmonies, and trends came together to create the music we all know and love today.

Ed Ward has been NPR’s Fresh Air rock & roll historian for the last thirty-five years reaching 14 million listeners. In these pages he shares his endless depth of knowledge and through engrossing storytelling hops seamlessly from Memphis to Chicago, Detroit, England, New York, and everywhere in between covering all the big-name acts everyone is already familiar with, from Elvis and Buddy Holly to Chuck Berry, while filling in gaps of knowledge with the more obscure and forgotten names of music’s past like T-Bone Walker and The Ventures.

For all music lovers and rock & roll fans, this sweeping history will shine a light on the corners of the genre to reveal some of the less well-known yet hugely influential artists who changed the musical landscape forever.
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Published 22.01.2019

The History of Rock 'n' Roll 01 The Rock'n Roll Explods

Thank you! A dean of rock journalism delivers the first volume of a magnum opus on a subject that never ceases to fascinate. Clearly well before Elvis Presley took the stage.
Ed Ward

Ed Ward (writer)

Maybe, some might yet argue, rock 'n' roll belongs to the realm of the aging or well-heeled. Its growth and attendant aging crises have certainly paralleled the lives of its earliest proponents, the baby boom generation, but anyone examining the cultural history of the United States in 20th century must certainly give this cultural force its due. With a genre as fluid as rock 'n' roll, always morphing into new territories, it's hard to declare a definitive narrative. Were it even possible, such could not stand unquestioned for too long. The period covered here is the same as Ward presented 30 years ago in his contribution to Rock of Ages , and the changes in perspective are subtle. One of the limitations of rock 'n' roll history is that it tends to be highly romanticized and formalized, its origin stories well-established and under-questioned. While it's convenient to focus on the early labels for organizational purposes, the emphasis has the effect of treating the businessmen and label owners as visionaries, as if this were the primary story.

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From rock and roll historian Ed Ward comes a comprehensive, authoritative, and enthralling cultural history of one of rock's most exciting eras. It begins with the question on everyone's mind: "Are you going to get a haircut in America? Chronicling the years through the mids, this latest volume covers one of the most exciting eras of rock history, which saw a massive outpouring of popular and cutting-edge music. Ward weaves together an unputdownable narrative told through colorful anecdotes and shares the behind-the-scenes stories of the megastars, the trailblazers, DJs, record executives, concert promoters, and producers who were at the forefront of this incredible period in music history. From Bob Dylan to Bill Graham, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Byrds, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, and more, everyone's favorite musicians of the era make an appearance in this sweeping history that reveals how the different players, sounds, and trends came together to create the music we all know and love today. A spry study that should inspire listening with new, and newly informed, ears to old tunes. Currently he is the cohost of the Let It Roll podcast.

3 thoughts on “The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963 by Ed Ward

  1. These artists may be little-discussed today, but their critical contributions to rock and roll as we know it seem indisputable by the time Ward gets through with them.

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