Greenback Dollar: The Incredible Rise of The Kingston Trio

Greenback Dollar: The Incredible Rise of The Kingston Trio

by William J. Bush


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How big an act was the Kingston Trio? Big enough that the their first 19 albums not only reached Billboard's Top 100, but 14 of them entered the top 10, with five albums alone hitting the no. 1 spot! At the height of their popularity, the Kingston Trio was arguably the most popular vocal group in the world, having single-handedly ushered in the folk music boom of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. Their meteoric rise quite literally paved the way for Bob Dylan; Joan Baez; Peter, Paul & Mary; and the many acts that followed in their wake. With the release of their version of “Tom Dooley” in fall 1958, the Kingston Trio changed American popular music forever, inspiring legions of young listeners to pick up guitars and banjoes and join together in hootenannies and sing-alongs.

In Greenback Dollar: The Incredible Rise of The Kingston Trio, the first in-depth biography of America’s first recording super-group, William J. Bush retraces the band members’ personal and professional lives, from their rapid rise to stardom to their early retirement in 1967. Through interviews with Trio members, their families, and associates, Bush paints a detailed portrait of the Trio's formative early years and sudden popular success, their innovations in recording technology, pioneering of the college concert and intensive tour schedule, their impact on and response to the ‘60s protest movement, the first break-up of the Trio with Dave Guard’s departure, and its re-formation with John Stewart.

Lovers of folk music and students and scholars of the history of popular music and the music business, the counterculture movement, and the American folk tradition will find in Greenback Dollar a remarkably detailed view of the musical and cultural legacy that resulted in the Kingston Trio receiving a 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810881921
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 12/16/2012
Series: American Folk Music and Musicians Series , #17
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

William J. Bush is an advertising writer, music journalist, photographer and perennial student of Martin guitars, Buddy Holly and The Kingston Trio. His articles have been featured in Guitar Player, Frets, Acoustic Guitar, Flatpicking Guitar, The Sounding Board (Martin Guitar Company), Pennsylvania Heritage, The Guitar Player Book (Grove Press) and Artists Of American Folk Music (Quill Books). He has also written for EMI/Capitol Records, Folk Era Records, Bear Family Records and Shout! Factory (Sony). In 2006, he appeared in the PBS documentary, The Kingston Trio: Wherever We May Go. His photography of rock legend Dion DiMucci has been featured in New York Magazine and the cover of Dion’s 2006 Grammy-nominated blues CD, Bronx In Blue.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Introduction: The Boom Heard Round the World xi

1 Coronado, 1951 1

2 Hilo, 1934 17

3 Menlo, 1956 35

4 Frank 49

5 The Purple Onion ... and Chuckles 63

6 The Road to Success 75

7 Tom Dooley Goes to College 95

8 "Do I Look Like I'm Breaking Up?" 119

9 The New Boy 141

10 Folkier Than Thou 169

11 1750 North Vine Street 187

12 Make Way, Baby! 199

13 Still at Large 255

Bibliography 261

Index 263

About the Author 283

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