FIRST: Here's a blurb I found on line about the new book:
My story follows.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Billboard Books will publish Tales
From the Rock and Roll Highway by acclaimed biographer Marley Brant in May 2004. Tales
From the Rock and Roll Highway takes readers backstage, behind the scenes, into the
studio, on the road, into the minds, and out on the street with anecdotes revealing what
really goes on in living the rock and roll life. Tales told by popular musicians from the
Fifties to the present, their roadies, music journalists, tour managers, and fans offer
fascinating accounts of attempts at overcoming the tedium and loneliness of the rock and
roll life. In their own words, artists tell their stories about their daily lives, the
drawbacks to touring, the opportunities they are afforded, how it all shakes out and what
it means to them. Divided into chapters, with sections introduced by the authors
experienced narrative, the book includes stories about macabre behavior, surprising
encounters, groupies, concert promoters, drug and alcohol excesses, performances, fan
encounters, once-in-a-lifetime shows, bus tales and off-hand evaluations of other rockers.
Over fifty artists have contributed their stories including members of Bachman Turner
Overdrive, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Meat Puppets, The Tubes, The Motels,
Steppenwolf, Insane Clown Posse, The cautions, The Firm, Chumbawamba, Sha Na Na,
Hermans Hermits, Country Joe and the Fish, Golden Earring, Wishbone Ash, Lynyrd
Skynyrd, MC5, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Blake Babies, Big Head Todd, Marshall Tucker Band,
Iron Butterfly, America, Street Survivor as well as solo artists such as Dick Dale, Al
Kooper, Graham Parker, Martha Reeves, Gloria Gaynor, Nigel Olsson, Rory Block, Janis Ian,
Neal Casal, Mel Carter, Gary Wright, Lee Underwood, Bobby Berge, Robin Brock and many,
many others. The book features over 30 photographs from the artists private
collections and is 256 pages. Marley Brant is the author of six books and has been in the
entertainment industry over 26 years as a writer, producer and artist development
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
© Copyright 2004 by Terry Nell Morris
It was an almost "sweater only" temperature tolerant Spring day in New York City just after the paralyzing snow blizzard of 1978. I worked in a school apprenticeship program as a "Juvenile Books Editor" for Bobbs-Merrill Publishing Company (best known for publishing The Joy of Cooking and Raggedy Ann and Andy books). At night, I attended Art Classes at Parson's School of Design. This noon day found me stepping out of our office building in mid-town Manhattan with a whole hour for lunch. Plenty of time to experience some more of the "Big Apple", which was the reason I had ventured away from my Great Smoky Mountains home in Tennessee. Southern people really should take an extended visit to the North at least once in a life time.
[This first paragraph was omitted from the final version of the published book.]
As I was deciding if I wanted to choose a "Nathan's Famous Hot Dog" or a slice of "New York Pizza", I was standing at the crosswalk on the corner of 5th Avenue and West 57th Street and was watching for the street lights to change colors. They did. Typically, there would be what seemed like a zillion people dashing in front of me at a street crossing like this, but today as I looked up to get ready to step into the cross walk, I noticed that there were only a few people moving. I was shocked to realize and recognize, along with the other stalled pedestrians, that the two people directly approaching me were John Lennon and Yoko Ono. They were crossing the street right at me !!! As you can imagine, I was stunned. Everyone was. We couldn't budge. Frozen in place, we all stared as they walked towards us.
Yoko Ono was decked out in a full length mink fur coat and was dripping in jewelry as if on her way to receive a prestigious award, while John Lennon had on faded jeans and a fabric worn, almost shredded in places, green army jacket and was looking at the ground and his feet as if he was lost in thought or perhaps humming a tune. She strided along with purpose while he sluffed and shuffled next to and slightly behind her. Personally, I always thought they looked odd together. I thought this even more so now that I was viewing them in person. She looked very "New York" and he looked surprisingly down-to-earth and "normal". I probably could have said "hello" to him as he passed by me, but I didn't want to mess up his silent tune humming. He might have been creating an important new piece of music. You just never know what exactly a genius might be thinking. Yoko stopped for a minute to let John catch up with her.
This happened at a particularly interesting intersection in New York City. I had the oddest feeling as if everything around me was famous, except me. On one side of me was the Plaza Hotel. I could see Tiffany's. The other side of the street hosted Bergdorf Goodman's and across on the other corner was FAO Schwarz Toy Store. If I looked past the Plaza to my left, I could see a row of black tuxedo dressed carriage drivers with their horse and buggies lined up along the edge of Central Park and further across 5th Avenue standing majestically against the rest of the city view was the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
[This paragraph was also omitted from the final version of the published book.]
I watched in awe as John Lennon and Yoko Ono walked right by me. And right by everyone else that was standing there with their mouths gaped open to the sidewalk. If I had put my hand out, I could have touched them as they glided by me. But, out of respect, I didn't attempt such an invasion of privacy. I think I held my breath for a minute. No one said a word. No one moved. We just watched them walk by as if time was standing completely still.
There are a few times in your life when something will happen and right after, you say to yourself, "I'm never going to forget that." Unfortunately, we also will always remember what happened a year later on December 8, 1980. For those of us who were on that corner in New York City that day, frozen in the moment, we seemed to feel that it was necessary to stand quietly and observe. It was important in our minds that we record every single detail of this one fleeting moment to tell about later to anyone who would listen.
I slso submitted the story below, but it was not included in the book
I'd be happy to submit this story to another source.
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans
© Copyright 2005 by Terry Nell Morris
While attending the "American Book Sellers Association" convention in Atlanta, Georgia in 1979, I stood in a long line, like everyone else, to get a "double" autographed copy of Roy Rogers' and Dale Evans' "Happy Trails" 45 RPM record. It was this grown-up cowgirl's dream-come-true to enjoy meeting them at the premier promotion of their autobiography, Happy Trails.
You must know that I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to see them "up close". The "King of the Cowboys" and the "Queen of the West" made an extremely vivacious couple who were obviously as happy and sweet as you always believed them to be. I was near the front of the line, so I don't know how long they were able to keep up that amount of enthusiastic energy, but I was lucky enough to be able to absorb the essence of Roy and Dale for a few fleeting moments in time. I will never forget them smiling at me with that much intense sincerity of pure joy !!!
But, in spite of the awe of the moment, the most intriguing thing to see up close was Dale's "big hair" !!! I don't know what happened to it after they retired from making movies, but I noticed that it had grown to enormous dimensions !!! In contrast to the fact that they were physically a lot smaller in stature than I had ever imagined, they both seemed "bigger than life" on television. But, not nearly as big as her hair. Her coiffure had become so HUGE, that you would almost swear that it was actually growing bigger right in front of your very eyes !!!!!! I would venture to wager that "chia pets" don't grow as fast. There is no way that she could have stuffed that much hair under her cowgirl hat at this new proportion. At least, not without looking like "Mr. Potato Head" does with his cowboy hat perched on the tippy top of his head. I'm sure that she gave it a little extra "teasing" that day, too, because promoting their autobiography was without question a very special occasion to them ! They both seemed to be deliriously happy and oozed so much warmth and sincerity that you actually felt a tingle of electricity in their presence. Amazingly, it seems that their endearing charisma is just exactly how they honestly were in "real life".
And yet, enthralling as the meeting was, I couldn't take my eyes off of her "big" hair. She had it so shellac-hair-sprayed that it had almost become one solid entity, much like a fragile version of a helmet that seemed more like a hat instead of separate strands of hair. I was concerned that if Roy had accidentally touched her hairdo with the brim of his cowboy hat, it most certainly would have accidentally cracked off a corner of her side flippy-doo hair-style thingie !!!
All silliness aside, I was more than thrilled to get to meet them in person. They were my heroes and always close to my heart. After all, I ate lunch with them every day for most of my childhood !!! (Yes, I had a Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Lunchbox with matching thermos ... didn't you ?) I jumped out of bed on Saturday mornings for my weekly visit to the Old West with Roy and Dale. I remember pouring a bowl of "Cheerios" and lying on the floor next to my little brother as we watched them "save the West" on our old black and white television set. The old kind of TV that used "rabbit ears" for reception. The type that would "hop" out and poke you in the eye if you didn't watch how close you were passing by the TV. Somehow the shows were so vivid in my mind that I would certainly raise my right hand, cross my heart and swear on Trigger that everything I viewed was in "living color" and not merely Black-and-White.
At five years old, I wasn't sure exactly where "The West" was. I believed it must be a long way past arm waving distance of "over-there-somewhere", past the sand box and swing set, past the part of the yard that we were forbidden to venture beyond, and past the store, several streets and turns from our house, where we shopped for our groceries. After all, I didn't remember passing anything remotely like "The West" on the way to the store. So, I deducted that it had to be a lot further than any place I had been and very well could be past my grandmother's house. All I knew was that it was a terribly rough place with all kinds of riff-raff and if Roy and Dale didn't watch it closely for us, the "bad guys with black hats" would surely end up in our community and I might be needed to "back them up" !!!
I wore my cowgirl outfit constantly, even to sleep. I would have worn it in the bathtub, but my mother wouldn't let me, explaining that if my guns got wet, they wouldn't shoot any more. In spite of her warning, I kept them handy by the edge of the tub. Mean outlaw bandits, clad in black attire, can climb through small bathroom windows, you know. Naked and wet or not, I would need to be prepared to defend myself.
To me, Roy and Dale were nearly as perfect as angels in heaven, especially when they sang together with such ethereal vocal harmonies. I am positive that only angels can sing as sweetly. I yearned to be just like Roy and Dale. With their musical repertoire of songs as my inspiration, I would sit on the front steps and sing "Sons of the Pioneers" cowboy songs at the top of my lungs while strumming and plucking a musical accompaniment of head-tilting, eyebrow-raising, Japanese sounding chords on my plastic toy guitar. I was delighted to discover that if I would yodel like Roy loudly enough, somewhere in the Ethel Merman range of "No Business Like Show Business" volume, you actually no longer noticed the oriental chord structure coming from my guitar. However, a few of the neighborhood dogs did notice that some of my yodel-notes were evidently closely related to that high dog-whistle pitch that only they could hear. I surmised this because they usually joined in my songs at that point. We did not harmonize as beautifully as Roy and Dale.
From my front steps "stage", while in full throttled yodel, I would simultaneously twirl and jiggle so that I could "wiggle" the sparkling rick-rack trim, fringe and little yarn pom-pom dingle-balls that adorned the edges of my cowgirl skirt and vest that my Mother had made for me. If I wiggled them real fast, I could almost make them look blurry. Or maybe I was just getting dizzy ? Somehow the fuzzy, kinetic yarn balls seemed to be seductively alluring for a never-been-kissed cowgirl in 1959. None of the neighbor boys even paid attention to my entertaining tributes to the "King of the Cowboys" and the "Queen of the West". Had they never encountered a "Princess of the Prairie" before now ? Evidently not, and before I was able to use the flashy outfit to lure a "real" cowboy into my corral for a decent branding, most of my yarn-balls had fallen off. This turned out to be an omen for my future love life, but I digress.
It was a well known fact that Roy never kissed Dale. When we played "Roy and Dale", with me being "Dale", of course, mostly because I was the only girl and I had the outfit. The neighbor boys would take turns being either "Roy", who everyone knew never, ever kissed a girl, or "Bad Guys", who would capture "Dale" and bind my mouth with dish-towels so that I couldn't sing any of the songs, and also helped to prevent me from snagging a kiss during the capture. As a torture technique, they would "pretend" to pull off some of my yarn-balls, one by one. I would scream, which tickled their mischievous delight. Sometimes "Roy" would be able to "save" me before my Mother called us for lunch. But, much to my disappointment, when it came to "kissing", they all could run faster than I did. Even if I had caught one of the "cowboys" and kissed him, I'm sure he would have "wiped it off". So, I finally succumbed to the fact that, if I were to accurately emulate my non-kissing heroes, I would probably have to forgo all kissing activities as well.
So, I turned my attention and talents to other cowgirl stunts and practiced lasso techniques on my Dad's favorite chair's ottoman. Out of several hundred attempts, I actually caught it once !!! To my parents' vexation, I begged for a horse daily, sometimes hourly, sometimes between every commercial. They eventually presented me with a plastic statue of Trigger. And even though the removable saddle was pretty cool, somehow this token just wasn't enough to fulfill my riding-into-the-sunset singing "Happy Trails" fantasy.
I tried to keep my "bad guy" little brother in line by shooting him with barrages of bullets from my plastic looks-just-like leather sheathed holster that I wore at the appropriate gun-slung pistol-packing-mama six-shooter quick-draw hip level. He refused to fall down every time I shot him, and eventually I was forced to learn how to reason and talk it out with him just as Roy taught and exemplified in his successful negotiations. Oh, how I treasure my wonderful memories of life as a cowgirl.
I was invincible. Because of Roy and Dale's positive influence on me, I learned to always proudly lead my life looking forward, into the glorious Western sunsets and awaken to dawnings of bright new days in the East. I had been instilled with their enthusiasm for life, love of doing what is "right", and belief that, no matter what, things would always work out and have a happy ending. What a wonderful attitude they bestowed upon me.
So now, upon seeing my precious Roy and Dale live and in person, I felt as if I knew them like family and they talked right to me as if they also knew me personally. When it was my turn in line to meet them, I'm sure that I did not need to blurt out how much they had meant to me. They could tell. It was obvious that they knew how I felt, because after my blurting, Roy winked at me. It was truly mesmerizing to see that famous twinkle in Roy's endearing smile-crinkled eyes focusing directly at me from such a close distance. I'd drop my guns for him any day !!! No wonder Dale loved him. We all did.
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