I’ve done hundreds of editions of ‘Vintage Favourites’ over the past 14 years – in fact, this is show #741 – but I’ve never done a show based entirely on a book – until now. I’ve also read thousands of articles and magazines – and more than a few books – about popular music and the evolution of rock’n’roll; it’s one of my favourite subjects. And I’ll gladly admit, I’ve never read – in such amazing detail, and with such clarity and insight – the particular story of how rock’n’roll came to Canada, until now.
This purely American music – with its well-documented roots in country and western, and rhythm and blues, blending hillbilly and honky-tonk, with boogie-woogie – the white and the black – came across the border in many ways, thanks to many people; some famous, and many now forgotten. Award-winning author Greig Stewart’s new book: ‘Hawkins, Hound Dog, Elvis and Red: How Rock’n’Roll Invaded Canada‘ is a ‘must-read’ for music fans. It focuses on the formative years between 1951 and 1963. Those dozen years take us from the pioneering radio personality Alan Freed, coining the phrase ‘rock’n’roll’, through the ‘Elvis Phenomenon’, and into the early 1960s, just before everything changed again.
Stewart’s book puts those years through a Canadian perspective with special focus on what happened in Toronto and southern Ontario, as well as our west-coast cousins around Vancouver – the original hot-spots of Canadian-styled rock’n’roll. As with films, a book will always have much more detail than a movie, and more than any radio show could offer. But what I’m excited about is playing the music – some well-known classics, and the less-known – and some now ‘lost’ recordings – that add the ‘sound’ no book can provide.
I’ll take you through the highlights of the book, including several direct quotes, and I’ll play over 15 songs that’ll bring back memories of that unique era. Our 90 minute ‘rocket ride’ starts at 3pm. And in our first-hour segment ‘This Week in Zoomer Music‘ I’ll remember the Beatles’ greatest album released this week in 1967, the day John and Yoko recorded ‘Give Peace a Chance‘ in a Montreal hotel room, David Bowie’s first release – when he was just ‘Davie Jones‘ – plus: the one word Ray Davies had to fly 6000 miles in order to re-record, and a tip of the drum-stick to the Stones’ Charlie Watts, turning 80 !
That’s all this Sunday from 2:00 to 4:30, on ‘Vintage Favourites’. Cheers.