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Acclaimed rock music author to speak at U of O April 7

March 7, 2016
By cnp
Posted in Community Events

Author Peter Guralnick, who specializes in the early history of rock and roll and who has written prominent books on Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke and Sam Phillips, will speak at University of the Ozarks on Thursday, April 7.

Guralnick’s visit, which is part of the university’s 2015-16 Walton Arts & Ideas Series, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Walton Fine Arts Center. There is no cost for admission and the public is invited.

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Author Peter Gurlanick, whose 2015 book, "Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll," was a New York Times Bestseller, will speak at Ozarks on Thursday, April 7.

Guralnick has been called "a national resource" by critic Nat Hentoff for work that has argued passionately and persuasively for the vitality of this country’s intertwined black and white musical traditions. His books include the prize-winning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, "Last Train to Memphis" and "Careless Love."

His latest book, "Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll," chronicles the life of Sam Phillips, the visionary genius who singlehandedly steered the revolutionary path of Sun Records. The music that Phillips shaped in his tiny Memphis studio with artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Ike Turner, Howlin’ Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, introduced a sound that had never been heard before.  

The Sam Phillips book was a New York Times Bestseller and was named one of The Washington Post’s Notable Nonfiction Books of 2015.

Rolling Stone called the book on Phillips, "Rigorously researched…. Definitive." USA Today called it, "Superb…. No one could tell Sam’s story -- a complex mixture of music business reportage and personal narrative -- with the level of detail and affection that Guralnick brings to these 700-plus pages. Sam Phillips may well be the capstone to Guralnick’s career…. This book gives Phillips and his judgments their due. Bridging American music’s racial divide and transforming its pop, he was as much an original as the artists he nurtured,"

After graduating from Boston University in 1971 with a master’s degree in creative writing, Guralnick went on to write extensively about American music and musicians.  His two-volume biography of Elvis Presley placed the story of Presley’s career into a rise and fall arc. Of the first book, Bob Dylan wrote, "Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others."

His books include an acclaimed trilogy on American roots music, "Sweet Soul Music," "Lost Highway," and "Feel Like Going Home;" the biographical inquiry "Searching for Robert Johnson;" the novel "Nighthawk Blues;" and "Dream Boogie," a biography of Sam Cooke.

For more information on Guralnick’s visit to U of O, please contact the Office of Public Relations at 479-979-1433.