Well researched, accurate and fun to read, especially if you were in the industry in the Fifties or just grew up listening to the great R & R and R 'n B music of the period. This takes you back to when radio was fun and there were real "personalities" on the air. It's a behind-the-scenes look at radio's golden age and the people who were 'bigger-than life' to many of us!
If you grew up listening to rock n' roll and/or rhythm & blues during the 1950's or 1960's then you had to have [at least] one favorite disc jockey (DJ). This book takes you back and gives you a "behind-the-scenes" look at many of the most well known and outrageous people who sat behind a microphone and transfixed us daily or nightly. If you want to return to those great times when innocent love, great dances and "our own"music was signaling a seismic cultural shift in America- try this book out.
A nicely detailed history of early purveyors of rhythm & blues and rock & roll, chuck full of colorful anecdotes and a dusting of photos that bring memories of that 1950s era radio back to life, this book is a definite must-read for old fans of John R, Gene Nobles, Dick Biondi, Alan Freed, Wolfman Jack and the other great DJs that built the industry.
This book received the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Deems Taylor Award for the best book of the year on pop music. It also was the basis of the documentary, "Rock 'n' Roll Invaders."
I found this book totally by chance and bought it on a whim. I wish I would have read this book when it first came out, as at the time of the writing several of the profiled dj's were still alive. It now reads more like a history book in need of revising. Nonetheless, having been raised in Illinois and now living in middle Tennessee I was immediately drawn in by the radio personalities I remember or have otherwise come to know about. Back in the day, WLS was thee station, and as a Tennessee resident working around the music industry, WLAC is legendary. Of course, you can't have a book about djs and not include Alan Freed and Dick Clark, and there are also other profiles and back stories that are interesting.
As one reviewer has already mentioned there are some passages that seem redundant, repetitious, or inaccurate, but they didn't spoil my experience reading the book.
I am a deejay myself and this book is the best on the subject I've ever found, a real pleasure to read and full of hilarious stories. The sections on the great DJ's at WLAC - Hoss Allen, Gene Nobles & John R - make it a true gem. Some of it is sloppy, true (see the sour schoolmarm review) but let's face it, the subject matter is sloppy, too. This is not a dry, academic treatise, folks - it's about ROCK AND ROLL and the spirit of these guys shines through in these pages like nowhwere else! This is a spirit that has all but been snuffed out by the likes of Clear Channel and Top 40; if you want to see who was integrating the races before the Civil Rights movement you can read all about them in this book. In the 1950's being a Southern White Liberal was a dangerous thing; to promote Rock and Roll was almost suicidal. Although they were all players in payola (which as Alan Freed observed is called lobbying in DC) they were real heroes to a lot of folks, including myself. I love this book.