Bad Boy of Gospel Music: The Calvin Newton Story

Bad Boy of Gospel Music: The Calvin Newton Story

by Russ Cheatham
     
 

ISBN-10: 1578065526

ISBN-13: 9781578065523

Pub. Date: 07/11/2003

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

"I messed up," Calvin Newton lamented, after wasting thirty years and doing time in both state and federal prisons for theft, counterfeiting, and drug violations. "These were years of my life that I could have been singing gospel music."

During his prime, he was super-handsome, athletic, and charged with sexual charisma that attracted women to him like flies to

Overview

"I messed up," Calvin Newton lamented, after wasting thirty years and doing time in both state and federal prisons for theft, counterfeiting, and drug violations. "These were years of my life that I could have been singing gospel music."

During his prime, he was super-handsome, athletic, and charged with sexual charisma that attracted women to him like flies to honey. Atop this abundance was his astounding voice, "the voice of an angel."

This book is his prodigal-son story. Audacious, Newton never turned down a dare, even if it meant climbing on the roof of a speeding car or wading into a freezing ocean. As a boy boxer, he was a Kentucky Golden Gloves champ who k.o.'ed his opponent in twenty-three seconds.

By his late teens he had been recruited by the Blackwood Brothers, the number-one gospel quartet in the world. In his mid-twenties while he was singing Christian songs with the Oak Ridge Quartet, Newton's mighty talent and movie-star looks took him deep into hedonism--reckless driving, heavy romancing, and addictive pill popping.

As 1950s rock 'n' roll began its invasion of gospel, he and two partners formed the Sons of Song, the first all-male gospel trio. Long before the pop sound claimed contemporary Christian music, the Sons of Song turned gospel upside down with histrionic harmony, high-styled tuxedos, and Hollywood verve. Their signature song, "Wasted Years," foreshadowed Newton's punishing fall.

This biography looks back at the destructive lifestyle that wrecked a sparkling career. When well into his sixties, Newton turned his life around and was able to confront his demons and discuss his prodigal days. He talked extensively with Russ Cheatham about his self- destruction and the great personal expense of his own bad-boy choices and late redemption.

In this candid biography, one of gospel's all-stars discloses a messed-up life that vacillated between achievement and failure, fame and infamy, happiness and grief.

Russ Cheatham is an associate professor and coordinator of the criminal justice program at Cumberland University. His work has been published in Bluegrass Unlimited and Music Row Magazine.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781578065523
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
07/11/2003
Series:
American Made Music Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsvii
Prologuexi
1.Ancestors3
2.Big Boy9
3.Bible Training School19
4.Headed Straight to the Top29
5.Singing like an Angel, Fighting like a Demon43
6.Advice from Two Sources53
7.In the Army59
8.Wild and Crazy63
9.The Battle of the Bands73
10.Touring and Recording79
11.The Slide87
12.A New Era95
13.A Matter of Style103
14.The Magic of Their Singing115
15.Ralph Carmichael--A Contract with God123
16.The Fat Lady Sings131
17."We Sang at Every ... Pig Trail in the State"139
18.Gentlemen Songsters off on a Spree149
19.Picking up the Pieces161
20.From Rock 'n' Roll to Rock Bottom173
21.Searching185
22.Wonder Woman197
23.Wedding Bells and Prison Cells201
24.If I Had Wings211
25.Musical Chairs223
26.Gospel Fried Chicken235
27.Still Magic after All These Years239
28.Making Money243
29.Awakening251
30.Colson and Parole263
31.Out of the Depths273
32.The Holy Accident287
33.Redemption297
34.Wasted Years ... Why?305
35.Sunset313
Discography/Videography319
Sources327
Index331

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