Dive deep into music history.
Genius Music Books
“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?
Using this question as their starting point, writer Jim Dawson and DJ Steve Propes nominate 50 recordings for that honor. Beginning with a 1944 Jazz at the Philharmonic recording, “Blues,” and ending with Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record? Profiles some of the most important and influential recordings in rock’s history.
For each nominee, Dawson and Propes provide chart positions, labels, recording information, and an explanation as to why it might qualify as the first. Lesser known milestones like “Open the Door, Richard” and “Rocket 88” appear here alongside acknowledged classics like “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” and “Rock Around the Clock,” and many forgotten artists are restored to their rightful place in rock’s pantheon. The result is a provocative and entertaining guide to the earliest days of rock ‘n’ roll.
This 30th anniversary updated and revised edition brings to light new and surprising details about the songs, albums, and artists that are vying for the honor of being the first rock ‘n’ roll record.
“I Went Down to St. James Infirmary” is the quintessential jazz-blues song of the early twentieth century.
Many major performing and recording artists have covered it, from Louis Armstrong and Jimmie Rodgers to Van Morrison and the White Stripes.
Infused with ego-driven angst and once considered obscene because of the song's stark depiction of death and the portrayal of a seedy underworld inhabited by gamblers, pimps, loose women, and every sort of rounder, it has been adapted, rewritten, borrowed, stolen, attacked, revered, and cherished. In its heyday of the 1920s and ‘30s, when recordings and sheet music of St. James Infirmary were first packaged and marketed, the public could not get enough of it. Nearly a hundred years later, its allure remains.
Author Robert W. Harwood follows the song as it travels from its folk origins into the recording studios, performance stages, and law courts of America's jazz era. Along the way he picks up a retinue of fascinating characters whose stories are as fascinating as the song itself. Infused with humor and supported by meticulous research, this groundbreaking book explores the turbulent and mysterious history of one of the most important and influential songs of the twentieth century.
Mysteries in the Music: Case Closed examines the secrets, myths, legends, hoaxes, conspiracies, and the wildly inexplicable events that are such an intriguing part of rock and roll history. Jim Berkenstadt, aka The Rock And Roll Detective®, has spent decades researching the players behind these famous soundtracks and the mysteries hidden within the music itself.
Travel back to the 1950s to uncover “Who Really Discovered Elvis Presley?” Revisit a time in the 1960s when a famous folk troubadour tried to form a supergroup with members of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. Learn the origin behind big name artists using pseudonyms to mask their true identities. Go behind the scenes of CIA intrigue in Jamaica 1976 to discover whether the spy agency tried to influence an election and arrange for the assassination of reggae superstar Bob Marley. Discover whether The Beach Boys actually stole a song and the copyright from psychotic cult leader Charles Manson, and kept all of the royalties. Finally, uncover the secrets in the making of Nirvana’s Nevermind album, considered by many to be the most influential rock album of the 1990s.
These mysteries have intrigued rock and roll fans for so long because no one has ever asked eyewitnesses the tough questions or dug through the primary sources and documentary evidence left behind... until now. After many decades, the back stories of pop and rock music lore are finally unearthed—and the truth is revealed in Mysteries in Music: Case Closed.
In the 1960s, Michael Cooper was a successful photographer working in the London music scene. His photographs were the foundation of album covers from the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request. He was a fashion photographer for Vogue London, and collaborated on an early film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange featuring the Rolling Stones. He was as much a part of the culture of 1960s London as he was its chronicler.
Michael photographed many of the icons of the counterculture movement of that unique period. But it was his close friendship with the Rolling Stones that formed the foundation for his extraordinary career.
Brian Jones was the multi-instrumentalist band leader who arranged and designed the Rolling Stones’ musical direction, crafting a music fusion which has defined their sound and attitude ever since. He was the musical genius who created a cultural and musical phenomenon.
Brian Jones: Butterfly in the Park collects over 120 images chronicling Brian Jones’ career, his life, and in many ways his relationship with Michael Cooper, who was ever at Brian’s side with his camera, ready to record Brian’s magical presence.
Adam Cooper and his wife Silvia have opened the Michael Cooper Collection archives to bring us an insider’s view of Brian Jones and the Rolling Stones in the recording studio, live on stage, at play with their friends in Ireland and Morocco, on the cover photo shoot for Their Satanic Majesties Request, and so much more.
With an introduction by Paul Trynka, and new contributions from Donovan, Linda Lawrence Leitch, Andee Nathanson, Prince Stash Klossowski de Rola, Brian’s son Julian, and his grandson Joolz Jones, Brian Jones: Butterfly in the Park offers a unique insight into one of the most enigmatic and influential musical figures of the 1960s, as some of Brian’s friends recount their own personal experiences in nearly 9,000 words.
In that hot summer of ’69 two longhaired music freaks created an underground LP record album of unreleased tracks by one of their music gods and put it out on the streets of Los Angeles. No one had ever been crazy enough to do such an audacious thing before. The god’s official record label was not amused but the music fans were thrilled. Were these guys pirates or heroes? It was so much fun the first time, they soon pressed up even more records of forbidden musical fruit. They were on a roll. The following year, in 1970, one of the culprits put The Pig image in a circular logo with the name “Trade Mark of Quality.” TMQ and Pigman were born!
With a cast of outrageous characters, here is the story of Trade Mark of Quality aka TMQ aka The Pig, the first bootleg record label of its kind, spawning many later imitators. From the end of the '60s to the mid '70s, TMQ and Pigman led the way, trotting down a muddy trail, feeding the habits and needs of music addicts around the world. Who were these fellow travelers? Carl? The Greek? Merlin? Hans? Rob Snout? Casper? Sheldon? The Blue Hasslebeast? Ol’ Fred? (Not to mention, The Brooklyn Boys, The Record Suits and The Feds!) What was the connection between TMQ and the Viet Nam war, revolutionaries, guns, pot and the moon landing? It’s all here!
Included in A Pig’s Tale is not only the Trade Mark of Quality and Pigman saga, but reproductions of all the rubber stamped and illustrated album jackets from every genuine TMQ record release, including the earliest releases from ’69 right up to the last titles in 1976. Everything you ever wanted to know about the real TMQ label is here: A complete discography of artists and track listings, sources of recordings, catalog numbers, master tape and record matrix info, colored vinyl pressings, record labels, graphics, photos, vintage news clippings, articles and more, all collected together, at last, in one volume.
A Pig’s Tale by Ralph Sutherland and Harold Sherrick, with their unique point of view, guides the reader through the never before told history of Trade Mark of Quality. It’s all here for the music lover and fan, the hardcore record collector, and the just plain curious.
Just one year after Woodstock and the Summer of Love, a new kind of music made its way onto the airwaves and into the hearts of millions of fans. The sound was dark, brooding, and overpowering, like the music of industrial machinery, with a banshee in the lead who shrieked out lyrics from the darkest parts of our souls. But the melodies had meaning, and the words pointed their finger at the injustices and corruption of the world, in the finest tradition of the music of the 1960s. This sound, this phenomenon became known as “heavy metal.”
In Black Sabbath: An Oral History, Mike Stark brings us into the world of Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and of course, John “Ozzy” Osbourne, four young men from England who changed the world with their music. Through their own words, Stark presents firsthand accounts of the history of the quintessential British heavy metal band, who influenced later bands as diverse as Metallica, Van Halen, Nine Inch Nails, Alice in Chains, and others, right up to today.
With a supporting cast of characters that includes Ronnie James Dio, Rob Halford, Eric Singer, Tony Martin, Cozy Powell, and Neil Murray, Black Sabbath: An Oral History also provides a detailed timeline of the band from 1970 to 2017, as well as an annotated album discography.
"If you see something about to happen, get it. Put the camera up and click. Two seconds later you won't have the chance again. You have to look for those stolen moments."
Harold Sherrick is a career photographer, capturing musicians and concerts for almost 40 years. He has photographed everyone from Neil Young to Robert Smith, Dave Grohl to Joe Walsh, Tom Petty to Tori Amos. In Stolen Moments, Sherrick has included some of his most iconic photos, including rare images from his extensive body of work.
Every hero has a beginning, and for Ted Prichard, his was on a tiny 10-watt college radio station in Southside, Virginia. Known to his fans as Thrashpie, Thrasher, Rock ‘N’ Roll Ted, Uncle Lee, or the Dream Merchant, Ted’s career led him from overnight weekend air shifts broadcasting to the “night people” of the deep South to standing on stage at the Los Angeles Coliseum in front of 80,000 screaming metalheads as one of the most beloved radio personalities in the 1980s and ‘90s.
Head Bangin’ Radio is an exciting memoir of the era of FM rock radio at Los Angeles’s flagship heavy metal station, KNAC-FM, through the days of Pirate Radio and beyond. For fans of heavy metal, those nostalgic for the great days of rock radio, or anyone who wants a good laugh at the absurdity of show business (and Thrasher himself!), Head Bangin’ Radio delivers. If you ever wondered what it was like to be on the radio, or just what the heck those people were really doing “in there” as you listened, Ted lets it all hang out, blemishes and all, with humor and love for a medium that is all but gone today.
In the early 2000s, Elliott Smith was a rising Indie music star, a multi-instrumentalist with a drug habit and a dark outlook on life. His music conveyed the depths of his pain and the heights of his hope. When he died in 2003 of an apparent suicide, the media and his fans were ready to believe. As the facts came out, however, the events of that day weren’t so clear. His girlfriend publicly claimed she and Elliott had had a heated argument, and while she had locked herself in the bathroom, Elliott had stabbed himself twice in the chest, an apparent suicide. A few hours later, he died in the hospital of his wounds. The Los Angeles County Coroner, upon examining the evidence, wasn’t ready to rule on the cause of death. Eighteen years later, the case remains open.
Alyson Camus is a loyal Elliott Smith fan with a desire to know the truth. A Question Mark details her investigation into the Oscar-nominated singer’s alleged suicide. The truth behind the events of his death may be a bigger question mark than anyone is ready to believe.