Long before Elvis Presley entered Sam Phillips's Sun Records studio in 1954, rock 'n' roll was being performed and recorded by the likes of Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, the Clovers, the Dominoes, the Midnighters, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Wanda Jackson, and Johnny Ace. More than just a series of shrewd and evocative portraits of these and sixteen other performers, this book is also a paean to a forsaken time of relentless excess, sudden ruin, and fierce music. For this edition, the author has contributed a new listing of recent CD reissues. From 1945 to 1955, from Chinese hillbillies to Elvis's long-lost twin brother, here are the Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n' Roll.
Nick Tosches was born (1949) in Newark, New Jersey, and raised by wolves from the other side. Through nepotism he became a barroom porter at the age of fourteen. Casting this career to the wind in his quest for creative fulfillment, he became a paste-up artist for the Lovable Underwear Company in New York City. On January 12, 1972, he went to lunch and never came back, drifting south to Florida, where, among other things, he worked as a snake-hunter for the Miami Serpentarium. After being bit on the shin one morning, he decided to forsake all further employment, and thus became a writer of poetry and prose.
Critical Acclaim for Nick Tosches:
"...'In the Hand of Dante can be classified as a work of mystery or crime, but the paths to and from its core mystery are far from predictable...'..." - Ian Penman, Guardian Unlimited
"...[Tosches] combines the starkness of Jim Thompson and the grittiness of Charles Bukowski with a highly literate sensibility...Mr. Tosches's powerful writing is often beautiful...." - Wall Street Journal
"...Few writers would even think of this kind of book, much less attempt to write it. And somehow, the sheer audaciousness of Tosches' writing not only blasts through our resistance to suspend disbelief but it also makes most other fiction seem phony by comparison...Tosches is ready to take his place at the front of the class in contemporary American literature...an inspired piece of fiction...." - San Francisco Chronicle
"...A splendid, passionate mess, with a moral fervor far exceeding most novels of better grooming...." - Will Blythe, New York Times