Steve Propes was born in Berkeley, CA and moved to Long Beach, CA as a teen. While in high school, he began collecting vintage 45 rpm records. At the same time, he attempted to find any published work on record collecting. Finding none, he wrote Those Oldies But Goodies: A Guide to 1950s Record Collecting, recognized as the pioneer work on that subject, in 1973. Two more books in this series were published in the mid-1970s.

Propes self-published Those Old School Records: The First 50 Years in Over 1,000 Selected Records in 2018, edited and reprinted by Genius Book Publishing in October 2022. Propes was also co-author with Jim Dawson of What Was the First Rock and Roll Record for Faber and Faber in 1992, with a second edition updated and released on Genius Book Publishing in October 2022. He wrote 45 RPM: The History, Heroes & Villains of a Pop Music Revolution” for Backbeat in 2003. He also co-wrote L.A. R&B Vocal Groups, 1945-1965 with Galen Gart in 2001 and Merry Christmas, Baby: Holiday Music from Bing To Sting with Dave Marsh in 1993.

In 1981, he became a DJ at KLON-FM88 in Long Beach/Los Angeles, interviewing literally hundreds of musicians like Curtis Mayfield, Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, and Ike Turner; and music insiders and fans like George Carlin. He also had a cable TV show, Steve Propes’ Rock and Roll House Party, in Long Beach and was DJ at WPMD at Cerritos College during the 2000s. He’s also wrote rare record descriptions at Good Rockin’ Tonight in the 1990s and has been a freelance reporter and columnist for the community newspaper the Beachcomber in Long Beach since 2000.

Married in 1965, Steve and Sylvia have two grown daughters and are grandparents of two offspring who live in Denmark.

Print Books

What Was the First Rock N Roll Record?

Jim Dawson and Steve Propes

“The blues had a baby and they called it rock ‘n’ roll,” said the great Muddy Waters.
But what was the firstborn? What was the first rock ‘n’ roll record?