Peter Guralnick, who teaches nonfiction writing at Vanderbilt, has recently published his two earliest books, Feel Like Going Home and Lost Highway, in a new enhanced e-Book format and is presently preparing five more to be published in the same digital format in the next year.
The enhanced e-books include links to recently shot video interviews and conversations as well as audio segments from his original interviews and new written material. The expanded format will allow Guralnick’s pioneering writing about music and musicians to link to the work it describes.
The following article by Larry Rohter appeared in The New York Times on April 4, 2014. Link below to the original article to continue reading.
Music Writer’s Opus, Now With Sound; Video and Audio Being Added to Peter Guralnick’s Books By Larry Rohtner, April 4, 2014
- Credit Joe Buglewicz for The New York Times
As a college classics major, the music historian, writer and critic Peter Guralnick once submitted a paper comparing the Roman poet Catullus’s “Little Bird, Delight of My Girl” to Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway.” “It was not well received,” he recalled recently, but it helped establish a template that has served Mr. Guralnick superbly in writing groundbreaking books on blues, country and soul music, and biographies of pop music figures like Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke.
In more than 40 years of writing about music and musicians, one of Mr. Guralnick’s fundamental premises, he said, has been to “take Howlin’ Wolf or James Brown as seriously as you would take ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles.’ ” That may seem commonplace today, but when Mr. Guralnick was starting out, it was a controversial, even revolutionary, concept.
Now Mr. Guralnick, 70, is extending his franchise. Seven of his books, beginning with “Feel Like Going Home” and “Lost Highway,” his two earliest, but also including the Presley and Cooke biographies, are being reissued this year and next in “enhanced e-book” editions that include video and audio material and, in some cases, new chapters on figures like Jerry Lee Lewis and Delbert McClinton.
Mr. Guralnick, who has had four of his books inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, said that inserting video and audio material into his books seemed a natural outgrowth of what he has been doing in other media. The writer and co-producer of a documentary about the rock ’n’ roll pioneer Sam Phillips, he also wrote the scripts for a Grammy-winning documentary about Sam Cooke and for Martin Scorsese’s blues documentary “Feel Like Going Home.”
“Peter is a meticulous archivist, and these are among the most cited books on American music ever written,” said John Parsley, an editor at Little, Brown and Company, which publishes Mr. Guralnick’s work and is a division of the Hachette Book Group. “So, it was crying out to be used in new editions.”
In its original print format, Mr. Guralnick’s work “has been foundational,” said Jim Miller, the original editor of “The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll.” Of his two-part Presley biography, for example, Bob Dylan said the first book “cancels out all others,” and in a review in The New York Times Book Review, Gerald Marzorati described the two volumes as “the finest rock-and-roll biography ever written.”
To continue reading, go to The New York Times article here.