Ed Ward

Ed Ward is the rock-and-roll historian on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

A co-author of Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll, Ward has also contributed to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and countless music magazines.

Ward lives in Montpellier, France. He blogs at Ward in France.



Wed January 15, 2014
Music Reviews

The Soul Singer Who Never Quite Made It

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 1:46 pm

James Govan (left) with producer and engineer Mickey Buckins in the studio.
Courtesy of Ace Records


Thu January 2, 2014
Music Reviews

When Memphis Made A Move On Nashville's Country Monopoly

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:31 pm

Label for Warren Smith's "Ubangi Stomp" on Sun Records.
Courtesy of the artist


Tue December 10, 2013
Music Reviews

A Nostalgic — But Bumpy — Journey With The Beach Boys

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 3:44 pm

The Beach Boys in 1964. Top row: Carl Wilson, Dennis Wilson. Bottom row: Mike Love, Al Jardine, Brian Wilson.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

All it takes is two seconds of hearing "Round round get around / I get around" and you're there — in the sun, on the beach, in the '60s. The Beach Boys vaulted up the charts while branching out from surf music to psychedelia. This year the remaining band members released Made in California, a six-CD box set loaded with outtakes and other rarities. Critic Ed Ward examines the rise and long decline of a beloved group with a unique sound.

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Thu September 26, 2013
Music Reviews

Bumpy, Bikers And The Story Behind 'Leader Of The Pack'

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 2:48 pm

The Shangri-Las on the cover of the "Leader of the Pack" single.
Courtesy of the artist


Fri September 6, 2013
Music Reviews

The Dawn Of Sun Records: 15 Hours Of Blues

The Prisonaires, a band formed in a Memphis-area prison, created one of Sun Records' early hits.
Courtesy of Bear Family Records

Sam Phillips is famous for saying that if he could find a white boy with the authentic Negro sound and feel, he'd make a billion dollars. Seeing Phillips in his striped sport coat and tie in 1950, you might well wonder if he'd know that sound and feel if it came up and bit him. But he'd been a fan of blues and country music since childhood, and he bet that his technical knowledge and feeling for this music could make him money.

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