Music Mentor Books
THE BIG BEAT SCENE
AN OUTSPOKEN EXPOSÉ OF
THE TEENAGE WORLD OF ROCK'N'ROLL
Paperback, 184 pages, 40 illustrations, 2010
Fifty years ago, at the dawn of the Swinging Sixties, Royston Ellis was a spokesman for Britain's teenage generation. Aged 16, he hung around coffee bars and jazz clubs in Soho, chronicling in poetry the life he saw around him. Gradually, he also became closely associated with the emerging music scene. In 1959, he teamed up with Cliff Richard's group, the Drifters, and appeared with them on television and stage shows performing his unique brand of 'rocketry' (rock'n'roll poetry). In 1960, he was backed by the Beetles (as they then were) in Liverpool, and by Jimmy Page at London’s Mermaid Theatre.
Before leaving the UK in 1961 to explore the world, Ellis penned the first-ever books on Cliff (Driftin’ with Cliff Richard) and the Shadows (The Shadows by Themselves), as well as The Big Beat Scene, the first contemporary account of the teenage music scene in Britain. Written before the emergence of the Beatles and without the benefit of hindsight, this fascinating document provides a unique, first-hand insight into the popularity and relevance of jazz, skiffle and rock'n'roll at a time when Cliff Richard & The Shadows were at the cutting edge of pop, and the social attitudes prevailing at the time.
Out of print for almost half a century, this forgotten classic of rock literature is now available once again, with additional explanatory notes and a new Foreword and Afterword by the author.
"An enlightening and humorous insight with plenty of names and behind-the-scenes glimpses... never a word is wasted. The book is written as if the reader is joining in a conversation about, and with, the artists." The Beat (July 2010)
"By 1961 it was easy to read about rock'n'roll and popular music...biographical information and critical opinons were around, but no one had written about the music until THE BIG BEAT SCENE by Royston Ellis in 1961. The 124-page book was only a cheap, slim paperback, but it told the story of rock'n'roll - and British rock'n'roll at that. I like the fact that the book contains more about Terry Dene than it does Gene Vincent... The new edition looks much better and much fuller than the original, having both a Foreword and Afterword from the author... It's great to have it around again." Now Dig This (August 2010)
"The author clearly had a healthy mistrust of the information spread around by publicists and is not afraid to print his own character assessment of the artists he encountered. This is one of the most absorbing aspects of the book... There aren't many books covering this era, and this one is unique." Pipeline (Autumn 2010)
"A charming and warm book full of the youthful days of promise." euVue (September 2010)
"Fascinating reading on several levels, not least of which was the cultural side of the times." New Gandy Dancer (November 2010)
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