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Dewey and Elvis: The Life and Times of a Rock 'n' Roll Deejay (Music in American Life) Hardcover – May 16, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Music in American Life
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; First Edition edition (May 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 025202981X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252029813
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,658,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"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


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Dewey And Elvis: The Life And Times Of A Rock 'n' Roll Deejay is a biography drawn from personal interviews, documentary sources, and oral history collections to give a personal, no-holds-barred view of celebrated disc jockey Dewey Phillips. Indiana University professor emeritus of history Louis Cantor suggests that Phillips zeal for and promotion of rhythm and blues music set the stage for a 1950's transformation in rock-'n'-roll, not to mention Elvis' legendary success. A fascinating, smoothly flowing examination of one man's life and contributions to popular music in the mid-twentieth century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Macdonald on July 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to admit that I approached this book with some hesitation. I was not sure I wanted to spend the money and time finding out about a "Rock 'n' Roll Deejay." (The title did not reassure me.) Yet I was curious about Phillips, a much-mentioned but distant figure in the Sun Records and Presley story. Turns out, it is a very good book about both, but even more so about Dewey Phillips himself and the role of DJs in promoting the music. The author shows Phillips as the comic and tragic character that he was, with sympathy but without the uncritical or "gotcha" attitudes that mar much writing about this music. I learned a lot about the origins of R and R and the music industry in the South in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as how the Presley phenom came into being. Phillips' relationship with Elvis both made him and destroyed him. He ended up an alcoholic and drug addict in lonely isolation. Sun Records owner Sam Phillips (no relation) and Presley more or less had to support his estranged family as he descended into his personal hell. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in those subjects. A good and informative read, and a very interesting story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great! Thanks very much!! Great! Thanks very much!! Great! Thanks very much!! Great! Thanks very much!! Great! Thanks very much!! (sorry for the repetition but apparently there's a required word count for these "reviews"...personally, I feel that brevity is the essence of effective communication.)
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By ccrider69 on May 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great, a must read for all Presley fans. A fascinating insight into the mechanics that gave birth to the Elvis legend.
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