EVENT FULL: Peter Guralnick, author of The Birth of Rock n' Roll, in conversation with Michael Gray

Parnassus Books is pleased to welcome Peter Guralnick, author of The Birth of Rock n' Roll: The Illustrated Story of Sun Records and the 70 Recordings That Changed the World, in conversation with Michael Gray.

This is a free event which will take place IN STORE on Wednesday, November 30th at 6:30pm Central Time. Please note: This event is full and registration has closed. To be placed on a wait list, please fill out the form below. You will be notified if a space becomes available.​​​​ (Note: If for any reason you need to cancel your registration, please call the store at 615-953-2243 at least 24 hours before the event so your space can be provided to another guest.) 

Masks are required for all attendees during this event.

About the Book

A fascinating look at the history of Sun Records, the label that started Rock n’ Roll, told through 70 of its iconic recordings.

In Memphis, Tennessee, in the 1950s, there was hard-edged blues playing on Beale Street, and hillbilly boogie on the outskirts of town. But at Sam Phillips’ Sun Records studio on Union Avenue, there was something different going on – a whole lotta shakin’, rockin’, and rollin’.

This is where rock ’n’ roll was born.

Sun Records: the company that launched Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, and Carl Perkins. The label that brought the world, “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Breathless,” “I Walk the Line,” “Mystery Train,” “Good Rockin’ Tonight.”

The Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll: 70 Years of Sun Records is the official history of this legendary label, and looks at its story in a unique way: through the lens of 70 of its most iconic recordings. From the early days with primal blues artists like Howlin’ Wolf and B.B. King to long nights in the studio with Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, you will see how the label was shaped and how it redefined American music. Accompanying the recordings is the label’s origin story and a look at the mission of the label today, as well as “Sun Spot” sidebars—a fascinating dive into subjects such as how the iconic logo was created, the legendary Million Dollar Quartet sessions, and how the song “Harper Valley, PTA” funded the purchase of the label.

Written by two of the most acclaimed music writers of our time, Peter Guralnick and Colin Escott, and featuring hundreds of rare images from the Sun archives as well as a foreword by music legend Jerry Lee Lewis, this is a one-of-a-kind book for anyone who wants to know where it all started.

About the Author

Peter 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 a prize-winning two-volume biography of Elvis Presley, Last Train to Memphis and Careless Love. Of the first, Bob Dylan wrote, “Elvis steps from the pages. You can feel him breathe. This book cancels out all others.” Ta-Nehisi Coates named Guralnick’s Sweet Soul Music as “one of the ten books he couldn’t live without.” Of his latest book, Looking to Get Lost, Michael Eric Dyson has written, “Peter Guralnick is one of the three or four greatest writers in the country today. His searching intelligence, his unquenchable curiosity, and his stunning scope of knowledge are all on display in this breathtaking volume.” Rosanne Cash meanwhile described Looking to Get Lost as the work of “a dedicated explorer, a writer of great sensitivity and intuition, who lyrically untangles the network that exists between artist and art and, crucially and seamlessly, his own relationship to everyone and everything he contemplates."

About Michael Gray

Michael Gray is Executive Senior Director of Editorial and Interpretation at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. During the past 20 years at the museum, he has co-curated many high profile exhibitions, including Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945-1970I Can’t Stop Loving You: Ray Charles and Country Music; and Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City. Gray collaborated with guest curator Peter Guralnick to create Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll: The Cosmic Genius of Sam Phillips. Gray won a Grammy award for co-producing a compilation album that accompanied Night Train to Nashville. He moderates the Hall of Fame’s long-running series Poets and Prophets: Salute to Legendary Songwriters

Event date: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2022 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
Parnassus Books
3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14
Nashville, TN 37215
The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll: The Illustrated Story of Sun Records and the 70 Recordings That Changed the World By Peter Guralnick, Colin Escott, Jerry Lee Lewis (Foreword by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781681888965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Weldon Owen - November 22nd, 2022