cover of book

Dewey and Elvis: The Life and Times of a Rock 'n' Roll Deejay
by Louis Cantor
University of Illinois Press, 2010
Cloth: 978-0-252-02981-3 | eISBN: 978-0-252-09073-8 | Paper: 978-0-252-07732-6
Library of Congress Classification ML429.P52C36 2005
Dewey Decimal Classification 782.42166092

Beginning in 1949, while Elvis Presley and Sun Records were still virtually unknown--and two full years before Alan Freed famously "discovered" rock 'n' roll--Dewey Phillips brought the budding new music to the Memphis airwaves by playing Howlin' Wolf, B. B. King, and Muddy Waters on his nightly radio show Red, Hot and Blue. The mid-South's most popular white deejay, "Daddy-O-Dewey" soon became part of rock 'n' roll history for being the first major disc jockey to play Elvis Presley and, subsequently, to conduct the first live, on-air interview with the singer.

Louis Cantor illuminates Phillips's role in turning a huge white audience on to previously forbidden race music. Phillips's zeal for rhythm and blues legitimized the sound and set the stage for both Elvis's subsequent success and the rock 'n' roll revolution of the 1950s. Using personal interviews, documentary sources, and oral history collections, Cantor presents a personal view of the disc jockey while restoring Phillips's place as an essential figure in rock 'n' roll history.

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