What do Tom Jones, Nick Cave, Joan Baez, John Denver, Ray Charles, Del Shannon, Keith Richards, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Carol Channing, Manowar and Linda Ronstadt... have in common?
They recorded his songs. Matter of fact, Newbury's material has been covered by over 1,230 artists. That is just about everybody.
His inspirational ballad ""An American Trilogy"" has been recorded by more than 550 artists. It was Elvis' showstopper.
His ""Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)"" is the rocker that launched Kenny Rogers' career into the stratosphere.
Newbury, who grew up on Houston's tough North side, is the only songwriter to place four top hits on four different charts... simultaneously.
The train hopper was also instrumental in mentoring Kris Kristofferson, who says, ""God, I learned more about songwriting from Mickey than I did any other single human being. He was my hero and still is.""
Shotgun Willie Nelson adds, ""He was one of the best writers we've ever had and one of the best friends I've ever had.""
And that is not all. Newbury's albums enjoy an extensive cult following. Peers consider him among the best of the best, and many artists refer to his albums as ""perfect."" Some call him a modern day Stephen Foster.
Why then is Newbury known mainly to insiders? A well-kept secret? Too good for the masses? Two truths can be stated: The man cannot be pigeonholed, and he refused to sell out.
Like crystal and stone, Newbury's fascinating story is clearly and solidly laid out. It may even change a few truths. As he wrote,
Time has a way of changing everything
Truth has a way of changing all the time.
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About the Author
Like real-life characters drawn from a Steinbeck novel, Joe Ziemer's parents departed Oklahoma after the Second World War. With their possessions tied to a 1938 Plymouth Coupe, Kelly and LaWanda joined the wave of emigration from the poor land to the Promised Land.
Along with thousands of Okies, they traveled 1,800 miles on Route 66, looking for jobs, dignity, and a future. They went west on the Mother Road, all the way to the end of the line, to the Golden Land of California.
Joe was born in 1948 and spent his boyhood years in sun-baked Bakersfield. B-Town was a tough oil and agricultural town populated by roughnecks and dreamers, where fighting was an accepted way of making friends. Though the area's temperature was hot as hell, Joe has cool memories of riding the Killer Kern River well before whitewater rafting became a sport.
When he turned thirteen, the family moved south to an even hotter area in the steamy tropics, to an even tougher oil town, to Maracaibo, Venezuela, where Joe and his sister Paulette were the only blondes in the country.
Five years later, Joe graduated from Riverside Military Academy in Georgia as Superior Cadet. He then joined Los Hippies, a rock band in Maracaibo. The group performed early Stones and Beatles music, which was so much fun to play. Plus, it was an ideal way to meet girls. The U.S. Army lassoed Joe in 1968, assigning him to the top-secret Courier Service in Washington, D.C.
After completing his military obligation during the turbulent Vietnam era, Joe enrolled in College of the Redwoods (C/R), where he was honored to serve as Student Body President. Additional studies at the University of California at Davis brought a B.A. in Social Psychology and appointment as a Regents Scholar.
Joe has assisted broadcasters for forty years, supplying transmission systems to radio and TV stations. In 1996, his Indiana firm won a prestigious Exporter of the Year award. The job has taken him to over one hundred countries. From his travels, Joe says he sees no difference between extreme left and extreme right governments. In both cases, the people suffer terribly.
Passionate about free speech, Joe was Editor of Radio World International Newspaper from 1984 to 1989. He has written several journal articles.
Joe is happily married to Roxanne (married way over his head) and is proud to be the father of five children: Donovan, Jamie, Kris, Joey, and Megan.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I you love Mickey Newbury you should get this book. If you never heard of Mickey Newbury you should REALLY get this book and read about one of America's greatest singer/songwriters. Then you should start buying his music.
If you have some of Mickey Newbury¿s work, you Have to get this book¿ If you don¿t know Mickey Newbury, but you have heard of him because of Townes or Guy Clark or any other of his many ¿children¿ out there, you Have to get this book¿ Whatever IT is, IT begins and ends with Mickey Newbury¿ IT has Always been about Mickey Newbury since the late Fifties - early Sixties when he first picked up a pen and stepped up to a microphone¿ Believe me, I am not overstating this or engaging in the hyperbole that is the fashion of the day, when I tell you that this book may be your one chance to cut through all the junk that passes for information these days and find out THE TRUTH about the music that you and I have both come to love and worship¿ The only music that counts, the music from the heart, not for the cash, but for the Art; the music and words that we would write if WE were artists¿ If we were only artists like Joe Ziemer and Mickey Newbury¿