Skip to main content


Filter by

Select Air Date


Select Segment Types

Segment Types

18 Segments




Jerry Lee Lewis: Live, Singing As If Life Depended On It.

In 1958, Lewis suffered a precipitous decline in popularity when people learned that his new wife was not only 13, but also his cousin. Nobody would touch his records. Then, in 1963, he signed a deal with Smash and it looked like things were getting better.


Roy Orbison: A 'Monument' To A Pop Legend.

Roy Orbison didn't really find his identity until he signed with a small Nashville label, Monument, in 1959. Ed Ward looks at the 17 singles that put him, and the Monument label, on the map.


Classic Rock Songs Shake to the 'Bones'

Rock historian Ed Ward reviews the new classic rock box set Rockin' Bones: 1950s Punk and Rockabilly. Hits from Elvis, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee light up this 101-track, four-disc collection produced by Rhino Records


Big Blast from the Past: Rock and Roll Trio

Music historian Ed Ward remembers the Rock and Roll Trio, from the early 1950s made up of brothers Johnny and Dorsey Burnette and electric guitarist Paul Burlison. Their recordings have been collected on the Hip-O Select label.


Remembering Guitarist Paul Burlison

He died of cancer Saturday, Sept. 27. He was best known for his groundbreaking 1950s work in the Rock 'n' Roll Trio and recorded many rockabilly classics including: Tear It Up, Honey Hush, Lonesome Train (On a Lonesome Track) and The Train Kept A-Rollin'.


Hillbilly Revivalist Big Sandy.

Big Sandy is the lead singer of the Fly Rite Boys a band that combines rockabilly, western swing, and hillbilly boogie sounds. They are currently on tour and have a new album “Night Tide” (High Tone Records). With it, they’ve taken a darker more personal bent. Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys have been making music together since 1988 and have recorded seven albums all told, including BIG Sandy's solo do-wop tribute, “Dedicated to You.”


Remembering Carl Perkins.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist Carl Perkins died yesterday at the age of 65. He died of complications from a series of strokes. Perkins is the pioneer of a style of music called Rockabilly, which is described as "a country man's song with a black man's rhythm." He's the man who wrote "Blue Suede Shoes," the hit song sung by Elvis Presley which became the first Sun label record to sell over a million copies.


Rock and Roll Songwriter Carl Perkins

He's the man who wrote "Blue Suede Shoes," the hit song sung by Elvis Presley which became the first Sun label record to sell over a million copies. Carl Perkins has also written the songs, "Matchbox," "Honey Don't," and "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby" which have been recorded by the Beatles. Born in Tennessee, he's a pioneer of rockabilly music. His new memoir and CD are both called "Go Cat Go!"


The Burnette Brothers' Brushes with Stardom

The band, comprising brothers Dorsey and Johnny, as well as guitarist Paul Burlison, were contemporaries of Elvis, and released several memorable records. But their music was constantly overshadowed by other artists. Rock historian Ed Ward has this profile.


Reevaluating Roy Orbison's "Sun Years."

Rock historian Ed Ward looks back on Roy Orbison's early career at Sun Records. Ed says that early work shows that Orbison was a more versatile performer that his big hits would indicate.


The Legacy of Sam Phillips and Sun Records

The record producer is best known for propelling Elvis Presley to stardom; but Phillips founded his label in part to give African American musicians in the South a place to record their songs. Rock historian Ed Ward tells his story.


Why Wasn't There a Female Elvis?

Rock historian Ed Ward says there were actually several women who could fit the bill, all of whom recorded and performed at the same time a Presley. These artists included Wanda Jackson, Janis Martin, and Lonnie Mack -- none of whom endured, according to Ward, because of restrictive expectations of women's roles.


Turning Rockabilly Red

Sonny Burgess was known as much for his monochromatic look as he was his wild music. Ed Ward says the word to describe him is "weird" -- Burgess favored unconventional instrumentation and bizarre lyrics.


Secret Harmonies: Soul, Rock, and Rockabilly.

On this edition of Secret Harmonies, Ken Tucker looks at "City Slicker" by soul musician J. Blackfoot, "Doppelganger" by rock group Kid Creole and the Coconuts, fronted by August Darnell, and "Forget About the Danger Think of the Fun" by rockabilly group The Leroi Brothers. (PARTIAL REVIEW)


Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?


There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.
Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue