January 9, 2012 It's hard to believe today, but in the mid-1950s, Los Angeles didn't mean much in terms of popular music. But the coming of rock 'n' roll meant an infusion of tiny record labels — and one was Doré, run by a happy-go-lucky guy named Lew Bedell. Ed Ward tells its short, crazy story here.
December 20, 2011 Before the Civil Rights movement, segregated American cities helped give birth to the Chitlin' Circuit, a touring revue that provided employment for hundreds of black musicians. Rock historian Ed Ward profiles two recent books which illuminate the conditions these musicians endured.
November 15, 2011 Boogie-woogie was a piano style that began sometime in the early 20th century — and, by the 1930s, became a huge pop-music fad. Rock historian Ed Ward explains how the genre re-emerged in country music after WWII, when it was an important precursor to rock 'n' roll.
November 1, 2011 SMiLE may be the most famous unreleased album of all time, but it's not really unreleased: Bits and pieces of it wound up on other Beach Boys albums. Now that EMI has assembled a definitive collection of the session tracks, Ed Ward has listened to them — and wonders what the shouting was about.
August 18, 2011 Stone is known to millions from the records he made with Sly and the Family Stone. But his early days, and the recordings he produced for his own Stone Flower label, add another dimension to the career of this enigmatic character, rock historian Ed Ward said.
April 29, 2011 Although Roy Orbison started out as a rockabilly performer on Sun Records, he didn't really find his identity until he signed with a small Nashville label, Monument, in 1959. Rock historian Ed Ward looks at the 17 singles that put him, and the Monument label, on the map.
April 19, 2011 In 1927 and '28, Ralph Peer, a talent scout for the Victor Talking Machine Company, set up recording sessions in a town straddling the Tennessee-Virginia border. The resulting sessions, rock critic Ed Ward says, laid the framework for all of country music.
March 21, 2011 It's hard to believe that Nick Lowe's second album, Labour of Lust, was out of of print for over 20 years. But a new reissue by Yep Roc has remedied that situation. Rock historian Ed Ward says that it's good to have the album — featuring the tracks "Without Love" and "Cruel to Be Kind" — back on shelves.
February 21, 2011 In 1942, the founders of Capitol Records were in urgent need of a hit. It came from a most unlikely place: a young woman named Ella Mae Morse, whose place in pop-music history has never really been given its due. Rock historian Ed Ward shares her story.