Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sh-Boom! - The Explosion of Rock 'N' Roll 1953-1968

Years ago (1983-90) when I worked at the New York Public Library I wrote book reviews for our publication called New Technical Books. In the early 90s I wrote some reviews of science books for Library Journal. These were essentially short annotations indicating the level of the book and which type of library should purchase it. Now I am writing a review of a book a few weeks after I met the author. The title of the book, Sh-Boom, The Explosion of Rock ‘N’ Roll 1953-1968 by Clay Cole only tells part of the story. It is essentially an autobiography with numerous anecdotes of that 15 year period.

I knew of Clay Cole as I was growing up in the 1960s listening to rock n roll radio, but I didn’t watch his show regularly. I guess I was spending my leisure time listening to WABC, WMCA, and records and didn’t have too much time for TV back then. Clay’s popularity has increased recently with his appearances on some radio shows to promote this book. I suggest readers of this entry check out the interview at Ronnie Allen’s page at . Warning, it is 90 minutes long, but you don’t have to listen to it all. I had the pleasure of meeting Clay Cole at the recent BeatExpo as you can see from the photo above. I bought the book there, but had to put it aside as I was reading a biography of Paul McCartney.

About 10 days ago I was able to start reading it on my daily commutes to work. I would love it if I could sit down for hours and read a book in one sitting, but my schedule just does not allow for that. So it took me over a week to finish it. Clay was born Albert Rucker in Youngstown, Ohio and got into show business at a very young age. He hosted a music show there called Rucker’s Rumpus Room. In 1958 he came to New York City and started his famous Clay Cole Show on Channel 13 which was a commercial station. He took the stage name Clay Cole after his uncle. Perhaps at my advanced age I should get into show business and call myself Sy Wagman after my Uncle. I sure sounds better than Bruce Slutsky .

I don’t want to write a long entry scare people away, so I will be brief. I was quite impressed by Clay’s memory of events of 40 - 50 years ago. Many autobiographies are slanted, but Clay is very honest with his readers and talks about his failures He actually walked away from his very successful gig on WPIX - TV in 1968. He became a freelance television producer and now lives in North Carolina.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is into oldies. If you can’t pick it up at a bookstore, I am sure it is available from

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Bruce. How very nice to meet you at the Beatles Expo, and once again here on "Bruce's Journal".
I was pleasantly surprised to find your essay on my new book, with a positive recommendation.
After four years of writing, it is so satisfying to see that it is being enjoyed.
Amazon is the best bet; deeply discounted and fast shipping.
A million thanks. Clay Cole

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