Facts and Figures

My rock & roll novel Sidereal Days carries the subtitle The History of Rock and Roll. This slightly exaggerates the “history” content of the book but the text is alert to real rock and roll characters, issues, places and background.  For example, the birth of the vinyl 45 record as detailed in the book by the record producer Joe Brodie is factually true.  Shellac records were made from the excretions of the lac insect.  When the Japanese conquered the sea lanes and islands of the South Pacific in WW2, the supply of shellac was cut off.  The military used records to send general information to its various commands and a crash program was instituted to find a substitute for shellac.  Vinyl plastic was the result.  It was slightly more expensive than shellac but it was much lighter, much sturdier and provided higher fidelity.  The fortuitous happy result for rock and roll was the 45 single.  As detailed in the book, kids could carry their indestructible 45 to a party, play their favorite song to all their friends, all their friends could hear the song, like it, buy it, and play it for THEIR friends.  The making of many a hit.  And it transformed the music business because that niche market could create a hit and a performer could appeal to that one segment of the population.  And that particular “population” wanted to hear rock and roll music.  Voila!

Also, anytime a specific number is mentioned, a license number, a room number etc. it relates to some specific r&r episode. For example, a hotel room might in fact be the same room that Jerry Lee Lewis stayed in when it was discovered that his wife was a 13 year old relative, or the license number of a vehicle might be the license number of the van the Beatles first travelled toHamburgin. The chauffeur who drives the Sparrows around NYC was in fact the man who drove the Beatles around in February 1964.  The names given to the production staff of the Ed Sullivan Show are, in fact, the same people who produced the Beatles epic first live appearance on American television.

There are lots more. All in good time.

Jerry Lee

We sent out postcards announcing the e-publication and availability of our first title, Sidereal Days, The History of Rock & Roll, A Romance. The postcard hoped to pique recipient’s interest by posing a few esoteric/obscure r&r trivia questions. The answers to all questions are of course embedded into the novel itself.

In the mean time here are some answers…..

Jerry Lee Lewis heard Elvis’s first recordings and saw the Sun Records label and determined to travel to Memphis and showcase his song to producer Sam Phillips at Sun. Jerry Lee was apparently completely broke at the time but he was a man in a hurry. So he hustled around, managed to sell 13 dozen eggs, pocketed the money and made his way to Memphis. Phillips, luckily for the future of r&r, was an accomodating and accessible guy and invited Jerry Lee to pull up a piano and show what he had. Ten seconds of Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On was enough to convince Sam Phillips that it would be a hit. Right again.