Ed Ward, Rock Critic and Historian, Is Dead at 72

After his years in Austin, Mr. Ward moved to Berlin in the mid-1990s to work for a planned magazine that had passed away before it was published, and then to Montpellier, France. During his years in Europe he wrote freelance articles, continued to contribute to Fresh Air (where he has been since 1987) and worked as a bartender.

He returned to Austin in 2013 and began work on The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1963, which was published in 2016. A second volume covering the history of music up to 1977 was published in 2019. However, his publisher declined to publish a third because the sales of the second book had not been as good as the first.

Although well-known names like Elvis and the Beatles are in the first book, there are also those of black artists like Earl Palmer, the drummer of Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” and many other classic New Orleans records, and Lowman Pauling, the guitarist and Haupt -Songwriter of the R&B group the “5” Royales.

“There’s this misconception that one day in 1954 Elvis invented it all at once, and that’s not only wrong, it’s really simple and unfair,” he told The American-Stateman Black Music of the 30s, 40s and 40s in 2016 early 50s and the extent to which this shaped the sound from which Elvis emerged. “

The book was in some ways a result of Mr. Ward’s “Fresh Air” work. In sections that lasted only seven or eight minutes, he told compelling, detailed stories about famous and obscure musicians and groups.

“I think this is Ed’s most outstanding work,” said Marcus in a telephone interview. “They were so interesting and well produced and so sharp. I am not ignorant of this, but from time to time he would present a snippet of something I had never heard of. He was a great explorer, a great digger. “

When Fresh Air refused to interview him about his book in 2017, he resigned.

“Leaving ‘fresh air’ was a dangerous thing,” said Patoski, “and it hurt him because people knew him like that.”

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