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

Author(s): Ed Ward

Music History & Biography

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 airwaves 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 sound we all know and love today. Ed Ward has been Fresh Air's rock & roll historian for the last 35 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, while filling in gaps of knowledge with the more obscure and forgotten names of music's past. 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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From Ed Ward, the rock & roll historian for NPR's Fresh Air for the past 35 years, comes a sweeping and definitive cultural history detailing rock's deepest roots from 1920 to 1963.

"A dean of rock journalism delivers the first volume of a magnum opus on a subject that never ceases to fascinate...turning up plenty of surprises and fresh insights.... A spry study that should inspire listening with new, and newly informed, ears to old tunes." -Kirkus Reviews, starred review"An excellent introduction to early rock s cast of characters and the music that rocked the world Ward s delightful book is chock-full of everything there is to know about the history of rock." Publishers Weekly"Expansive, deeply researched without being pedantic, Ed Ward tells the story of rock and roll as it unfolded in all its glory. A book not only for the cognoscenti but the casual devotee who would like a moment-by-moment timeline of how the music evolved, transcended, and became a force unto itself. A definitive text." Lenny Kaye, guitarist, producer of Nuggets, and author of You Call It Madness"Ed Ward tells the complex, unruly history of rock and roll like few other writers can. He deftly separates sacred myths from the often brutal realities while connecting the various styles, races, cities and scenes into a coherent national saga. Mr. Ward writes with rare wisdom, insight and humor but most of all, a passionate love for this still powerful music." Dave Alvin, Grammy award-winning singer and songwriter and cofounder with his brother Phil of the Blasters"

ED WARDis 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."

General Fields

  • : 9781250071163
  • : St Martin's Press
  • : St Martin's Press
  • : December 2016
  • : 236mm X 155mm X 38mm
  • : United States
  • : December 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Ed Ward
  • : Hardback
  • : 1
  • : 781.6609
  • : 416
  • : 18 black and white chapter opening photographs