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Pete Grendysa

Pete Grendysa

One of the leading American scholars and historians of R&B and rock’n’roll, Grendysa’s archives provides a bedrock of deep content for ROCK’S BACKPAGES. He has written countless sleevenotes and contributed to such publications as Goldmine.

List of articles in the library by artist

Faye Adams

Retrospective by Pete Grendysa, Goldmine, October 1987

SHE HAS A TRANSLUCENT, flawless complexion, and her facial features are doll-like, suffused with an inner glow. Barely over five-feet tall, she holds herself oddly ...

Hank Ballard and the Midnighters: Hank Ballard & The Royals

Retrospective by Pete Grendysa, Goldmine, August 1988

THE ROYALS HAD a brief but important part to play in the development of rock 'n' roll. They were door-openers much like the Chords and ...

Brook Benton

Retrospective by Pete Grendysa, DISCoveries, October 1998

A MUSICAL SAGE once quipped, "If you write music, you're a composer. If you write words, you're a lyricist. If you do both, you're Cole ...

Big Maybelle

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Sony Legacy, 1994

THERE'S A picture of her taken at the Fox Theater in Detroit in 1956. She's at the microphone in a sleeveless satin gown, head down, ...

Ruth Brown

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Rhino album, 1996

GRANDEUR IS A term rarely used to describe a singer of popular music, but no other word can describe the physical presence and magical personal ...

The Cadillacs

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family, 1995

IN JANUARY, 1956, a skinny and bespectacled 16-year old laid down his dollar and got 11 cents change and a shiny new 45rpm record (resplendent ...

Ray Charles: 40 Years of Genius: Ray Charles

Retrospective by Pete Grendysa, Record Collectors' Monthly, November 1988

YOU CAN RUN to the mountains and you can hide out in a dingy jazz club in SoHo, but you can't escape Ray Charles. Not ...

The Clovers

Retrospective by Pete Grendysa, Goldmine, February 1991

"WE PAID OUR dues, singing on corners, at parties, driving all over the country, sleeping in cubbyholes where we had to take turns. ...

The Danleers

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family, 1991

THE AMERICAN RHYTHM & blues vocal group was a development of the Pop groups that enjoyed heavy popularity from the 1910's into the 1950's. When ...

The Del Vikings

Retrospective by Pete Grendysa, Goldmine, February 1992

THE GOLDEN DREAM of rock 'n' roll goes like this: a few guys or girls get together, work out some songs, are discovered and recorded, ...

Clyde McPhatter, The Drifters: Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Atlantic Records, 1988

FROM THE MOMENT the lights were dimmed in the old St. Nicholas Arena for Alan Freed's first New York Rock And Roll Show in January, ...

Tommy Edwards: It's All In The Record Game: Tommy Edwards

Retrospective by Pete Grendysa, DISCoveries, August 1997

HERE'S AN UNLIKELY recipe for a hit record: take one melody written in 1912 by the Vice President of the United States, add some 1951 ...

The Fiestas

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Collectables, 2000

DURING THE HEIGHT of the vocal group era, groups could be found singing on every streetcorner, hoping to be discovered and make that one big ...

The Flamingos

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, MCA Records, 1997

THEY DIDN'T ROCK; they didn't roll. Their singing had nothing of the street corner or local school yard about it. With roots in a little-known ...

The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli: Frankie Valli and the Four Lovers

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family Records, 1989

IF ‘CHICAGO AIN'T Nothin' But A Blues Band’, then Newark ain't nothin' but an Italian quartet. It's a safe bet that the northern New Jersey ...

Big John Greer

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family, 1992

JOHN GREER, one of the forgotten men of rhythm & blues, had all the talent necessary to succeed, and a few extra advantages besides. ...

Etta James

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, MCA Records, 1997

ETTA JAMES WAS just 21 years old when she came to Chess Records in 1960, but she was a seasoned show business veteran with six ...

Little Willie John

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Rhino, 1993

HE LOOKED LIKE he just stepped off the top of a wedding cake – a dapper, smooth-faced little man in a tailored suit topped off ...

Buddy Johnson

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family, 1992

A LINE OF golden saxophones held carefully aslant over the showy blue and white "BJ" bandstands catches the eye first. Arrayed behind are trombones flanked ...

Louis Jordan

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family, 1993

FOR TEN of the most crucial years in the history of American black music, Louis Jordan was the main man, the solid sender, the hep-est ...

King Curtis: Blow Man, Blow! (Bear BCD 15670)

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family, 1992

"BLOW MAN, BLOW!" The big man with the glittering horn sent showers of squeals and shrieks out over the heads of his ecstatic shouting audience, ...

The Platters: Four Platters and One Lovely Dish

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family, March 1994

GOING FROM complete unknowns to classics of American pop music took the Platters only two short years. ...

Johnnie Ray: The Johnnie Ray Story

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family box set, 1990

THE LONG WHITE limousine is rocking like a rowboat, engulfed by a stormy sea of screaming bobby-soxers. Waves of petticoated and sweatered girls break against ...

Shep & The Limelites

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Collectables, 1999

ON A COLD JANUARY NIGHT in 1970, a journey of thousands of miles finally came to an end. It was just another crime statistic in ...

The Sherrys

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family, 1996

NEW ORLEANS SINGER Chris Kenner looked around at the music scene one day in 1963 and wrote a song called 'The Land Of 1,000 Dances'. ...

Jesse Stone

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Bear Family, 1996

THEY'VE GOT A Hall of Fame for rock 'n' roll now and a lot of the residents in that hallowed hall are craggy-faced and grayhaired, ...

Big Joe Turner

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Rhino Records, 1994

SHOW BUSINESS is full of Kings, Queens, Counts, Dukes, and even a Boss, but high above all the royalty shines the real Boss Of The ...

Chuck Willis: The Great Chuck Willis

Sleevenotes by Pete Grendysa, Official Records, 1988, 1988

OF ALL THE artists brought into prominence by Atlantic Records in the mid-1950's, Chuck Willis had perhaps the most potential to become a great Soul ...

List of genre pieces

The Making Of Rhythm & Blues

Overview by Pete Grendysa, Collecting Magazine, 1985

IT WOULD BE HARD to imagine a stranger combination of factors than those that brought about the formation of rhythm & blues. Crucial to the ...

Manhattan Rides The Range – Atlantic's Rarest Country Records

Discography by Pete Grendysa, DISCoveries, September 1998

NOW CELEBRATING 50 years in business, the Atlantic Record Company is submerged in the corporate swamp of an entertainment megalith. It didn't start out that ...

Modern-ists: The Bihari Brothers

Retrospective by Pete Grendysa, Goldmine, May 1979

TWO FACTORS combined to make the years of the Second World War uniquely fertile for Rhythm and Blues. One, strangely enough, was the shortage of ...

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