Cover image for Roadkill on the three-chord highway : art and trash in American popular music
Roadkill on the three-chord highway : art and trash in American popular music
Escott, Colin.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2002]

Physical Description:
ix, 229 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Roy Orbison -- Perry Como -- Patti Page -- Jim Reeves -- Mitch Torok -- Ned Miller -- Skeets McDonald -- Wynn Stewart -- Wanda Jackson -- The Collins Kids -- Sonny Burgess -- Ed Bruce -- Onie Wheeler -- Vernon Oxford.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML400 .E63 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



It's the real stories, not the publicists' confections, that concern Colin Escott. We hear Perry Como's story in his own words: it wasn't all smooth. We learn about the astonishing twists and turns in Roy Orbison's life, and the stories behind the songs we know so well. And we go down with Vernon Oxford, the last great honky tonk singer, who came to Nashville just a little too late. These are stories for anyone who loves what Escott calls "little songs from great sorrows." They will fascinate even the most casual fan of popular music, and they're told here in sympathetic, engaging, and illuminating prose.

Author Notes

Colin Escott lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee. He is the author of Tattooed on Their Tongues: Journeys through the Backrooms of American Music and Hank Williams: The Biography, and coauthor of Hank Williams: Snapshots from the Lost Highway and Good Rockin' Tonight: The Sun Records Story. He has annotated more than five hundred recordings and has won numerous awards for his writing, including a Grammy for historic documentation and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the ARSC (Association for Recorded Sound Collections)

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Rockabilly expert Escott (e.g., Hank Williams: The Biography) here promises to look at the "forgotten ones" of early rock'n'roll. He is most effective when chronicling the modest successes and crushing tribulations of rockabilly journeymen such as Sonny Burgess, Wanda Jackson, the Collins Kids, and Onie Wheeler and such country singers as Wynn Stewart and Vernon Oxford. But while the 14 profiles are uniformly well written and informative, a few of them seem forced and out of place in a book about early hit makers who quickly faded from public view. Fifties crooner and television personality Perry Como, pop singer Patti Page, rock icon Roy Orbison, and country legend Jim Reeves hardly seem to qualify as "roadkill on the three-chord highway" of rock'n'roll dreams. Despite his lack of focus, the author provides some interesting glimpses into the lives of musicians who helped form country music and rock'n'roll nearly 50 years ago. Recommended for music fans who want to expand their knowledge of rockabilly and country. Dave Szatmary, Univ. of Washington Lib., Seattle (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. vii
Part I The Smoother Side of Jownp. 1
1. Roy Orbison: Starlight Lit My Lonesomenessp. 3
2. Perry Como: R.I.P.p. 41
3. Patti Page: Oklahoma Bluesp. 57
Part II Faborp. 71
4. Jim Reeves: Say "Yes" to Rugsp. 75
5. Mitchell Torok: When Mexican Joe Gave Up the Rhumbap. 95
6. Ned Miller: From a Jack to a Kingp. 103
Part III Jown Hall Partyp. 107
7. Skeets McDonald: You Oughta See Grandma Rockp. 109
8. Wynn Stewart: Not Such a Pretty Worldp. 125
9. Wanda Jackson: Did She or Didn't She?p. 145
10. The Collins Kids: Brokenhearted Rickyp. 163
Part IV Memphis Sun Records, June 1957p. 171
11. Sonny Burgess: The Wild Man at Seventyp. 175
12. Ed Bruce: Mammas, Don't Let Your Rock Boppin' Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboysp. 185
13. Onie Wheeler: No, I Don't Believe I Willp. 191
Part V Postscriptp. 201
14. Vernon Oxford: Too Country for Countryp. 203
Indexp. 219