William Palmer

Before Elvis

And They All Sang: The Great Musicians of the 20th Century Talk about Their Music


Granta Books 301pp £15.99 order from our bookshop

Among the many things that John Lennon said, one of the more stupid was that ‘there was nothing before Elvis’. Well, Studs Terkel’s new book is made up of interviews with singers and musicians, mostly from the first half of the last century, who worked in this antediluvian world, striving to fill the gap before the coming of the Memphis One.

It’s rather a shame that the musicians are placed together in categories; opera and lieder singers together, folk, jazz, and blues artists all in their separate compartments. It would perhaps have been better to present the subjects in chronological

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