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Publisher Description

Charlie Gracie's hit song "Butterfly" topped the American and British music charts in 1957, selling over three million copies. His hits in the late '50s propelled him to appearances on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, The Ed Sullivan Show, and some of the largest venues in the U. S. and abroad. Charlie was part of the birth of rock & roll, and his unique style influenced some of the most important artists in rock history, including The Beatles, Cliff Richard, Van Morrison, Graham Nash, Chubby Checker, and countless others. 

Rock & Roll's Hidden Giant uncovers Charlie's inspiring story, tracing his rise to the top of the charts through to his fall from fame. From his upbringing on the streets of Philadelphia to the tragic death of his friend Eddie Cochran to experiencing the dark side of Dick Clark and the early days of the music industry, we learn that Charlie's unfaltering integrity and talent were the constant guides in his life. Rock history would not be the same without Charlie Gracie, and this remarkable, uplifting account is essential for all fans of rock & roll. 

"When we were starting out with The Beatles, the music coming over from America was magical to us---and one of the artists who epitomized this magic was Charlie Gracie." ---Sir Paul McCartney 

"Charlie Gracie was FIRST in Rock & Roll---and the FIRST Rock & Roller to come out of Philadelphia! He started it and made it possible for all the rest of us!" ---Chubby Checker 

"His concerts in the late '50s in Manchester, England helped me to become who I am today." ---Graham Nash 

"This book will allow you to see that nothing comes 'easy.' Success comes with hard work, disappointments, and some artists suffer betrayal by those they trust." ---Sir Cliff Richard 

"His guitar sound was brilliant!" ---George Harrison

Arts & Entertainment
January 1
Alfred Music
Alfred Music

Customer Reviews

Mayo Luke ,


Rock and Roll's Hidden Giant: The Story of Rock Pioneer Charlie Gracie was so captivating, I pretty much read it twice!

He's definitely one of the founders of R&R and a bit of an anomaly--due to the fact that his hometown--and the label he got off the ground (Cameo) seemed more interested in manufacturing teen idols (Avalon, Rydell, Fabian) whose music really had little to do with R&R at all!

Charlie, a genuinely accomplished musician (guitar) went in to inspire many of the greats: George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Graham Nash, Ray Davies and Cliff Richard. He met and worked with several of them.

The bosses who ran Cameo (later Cameo-Parkway) deep sixed Charlie's national career when he dared to ask for back royalties!

Dick Clark was a silent partner with Cameo and worked behind the scenes for all the Philly labels---and that tells you all you need to know!

After three big U.S.hits and five over in the UK, Charlie went into the shadows. He never stopped playing...but was forced to trade headlining appearances at London's Hippodrome and Palladium for non descript beer and pizza joints less that three years after his chart topping success!

Therein lies the real meat and potatoes of his story: how he survived the lean years and his his soul, his family and career in tact! It's an amazing journey.

He's met and played with the biggest and inspired lots of them! He's played the best, the worst and a lot in between.

At 79 he's still revered and plays all over the world he hung in long enough to enjoy a renaissance--mostly over seas. Charlie was the first solo US rocker to take the music to the UK. But he's still a big draw in his native Philadelphia tri state region too.

If you're a musician, or just an enthusiast of early rock and nostalgia--or of a nice guy wins in the end kind-of-story...then this book is for you!

It's full of life lessons from a man who lived through it all but came out with his head held high!