There exists a statement from 2009 in Christopher Kennedy's "1950s Radio in Color: The Lost Photographs of Deejay Tommy Edwards"which is made by the subject of one of Edwards 1956 images,obscure cabaret singer Vicki Benet.
Ms. Benet laments the fact that she no longer sings,and states,
"When you give up something that was so close to you,part of you dies".
This same statement could be applied to our culture in general,which has itself become mired in an artificial cult of celebrity where disposable heroes are assembled with cookie cutter regularity ,oblivious to the pioneering efforts of those who came before them.
Thankfully this brilliant work steps forward to cure these 21st century blahs in a big way.
Its subjects were photographed by Cleveland,Ohio disc jockey Tommy Edwards from the period 1955-1960,bearing witness to the rise and fall of the first Rock and Roll era..
They include the not only the Hollywood, Rock and Roll and Pop icons of the day(Elvis, Bill Haley ,Bobby Darin Chuck Berry),many of them on their ascent to stardom,but also those
artists on a fast track to either oblivion or premature doom such as Hawkshaw Hawkins,actor Jeff Chandler, or Ira Louvin.
The beauty of this work is in the discovery of the stories behind the photos,where the unknowns,such as Marlene Cord ,Kathy Linden,and Jackie Jocko enjoy equal billing with the likes of Clark Gable,Doris Day,and Gene Vincent.
In less capable hands, this book would merely be a treasury of timeless images captured at a critical moment in postwar America's cultural revolution.
Fortunately, Christopher Kennedy goes much further than that .He takes us on a journey which cuts through the mists of time to deliver living,breathing personalities to enrich the vitality of our imaginations.
The photos and accompanying narratives are assembled in chronological order, sectioned by the particular year in which they were taken and delivered in an eminently readable fashion.
Written with an abundant amount of creative humor,staggering research and resourcefulness,this book should be required reading for anyone yearning to catch a glimpse into 1950's pop culture.
As such,it is a shimmering journalistic diamond for the ages.