From Publishers Weekly
Two years before Alan Freed "discovered" rock 'n' roll, deejay Dewey Phillips was introducing white audiences to largely unfamiliar "race" music by Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and B. B. King and becoming Memphis's most popular white disc jockey as a result. Dewey was also the first major deejay to play Elvis on the air, sparking one of the greatest music careers of the 20th century. Cantor's study of the influential disc jockey begins roughly when Dewey launched his "Red, Hot and Blue" show on WHBQ in 1949, and the book is as much a biography of Memphis as it is of Dewey Phillips. Sam Phillips (no relation), founder of Sun Studio, is a central figure and Beale Street, Memphis, comes to life as a meeting point of black and white communities and the site of Home of the Blues Records. Cantor, who knew Elvis in high school, makes a case for further study of Phillips as a pivotal figure in the dissemination of early rock 'n' roll. Well-researched and meticulously annotated, his volume draws on personal interviews, secondary sources and preserved oral histories to create an authoritative, readable and lively portrait of both the person and the time that launched the sound of rock 'n' roll. 14 pages of b/w photos.
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"I could write a book about this book!. . . .This book is a MUST READ for all fans of blues and Rock-n-Roll history. It's my book of the year, beating out The Dylan Chronicles (a close second). Triple A+."--Holler
"Cantor's biography offers more than the story of an underappreciated disc jockey and his relationship to Elvis. Woven throughout the book is thoughtful, original, and illuminating research on the social history of race and how notions about racial identity and geographical space informed the ways in which the segregated white and black residents of Memphis interacted and were involved in one another's musical cultures and social spheres."--The Journal of Southern History