Advanced Search

Add Best Comp

Add comparable title

Remove comparable title

ECW Press Fall 2020 Trade

  • Sales Rights

    For sale with exclusive rights in: WORLD
  • Supply Detail

    Distributor: Jaguar Book Group Availability: Available Expected Ship Date: Sep 15, 2020 On Sale Date: Oct 06, 2020 Carton Quantity: 42 $21.95 CAD
  • Supply Detail

    Distributor: BTPS Availability: Available Expected Ship Date: Sep 15, 2020 On Sale Date: Oct 06, 2020 Carton Quantity: 42 $16.95 USD
  • Catalogues

Memphis Mayhem
A Story of the Music That Shook Up the World
By (author): David A. Less
David A. Less


ECW Press - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Oct 06, 2020
$21.95 CAD


9in x 6 x 0.54 in | 0.88 lb

Page Count:

232 pages


34 images throughout
ECW Press
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Soul & R 'n B
Popular music|Social discrimination and social justice|History of the Americas|Rhythm and blues, R’n’B
  • Short Description
The fascinating history of how so-called Black and white music came together in Memphis to change the state of music forever. David Less has conducted research on the history of Memphis music for more than 40 years and offers a unique and engaging perspective for blues and rock ’n’ roll fans.

Memphis gave birth to music that changed the world — Memphis Mayhem is a fascinating history of how music and culture collided to change the state of music forever

“David Less has captured the essence of the Memphis music experience on these pages in no uncertain terms. There’s truly no place like Memphis and this is the story of why that is. HAVE MERCY!” — Billy F Gibbons, ZZ Top

Foreword by renowned music historian Peter Guralnick

Memphis Mayhem weaves the tale of the racial collision that led to a cultural, sociological, and musical revolution. David Less constructs a fascinating narrative of the city that has produced a startling array of talent, including Elvis Presley, B.B. King, Al Green, Otis Redding, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Justin Timberlake, and so many more.

Beginning with the 1870s yellow fever epidemics that created racial imbalance as wealthy whites fled the city, David Less moves from W.C. Handy’s codification of blues in 1909 to the mid-century advent of interracial musical acts like Booker T. & the M.G.’s, the birth of punk, and finally to the growth of a music tourism industry.

Memphis Mayhem explores the city’s entire musical ecosystem, which includes studios, high school band instructors, clubs, record companies, family bands, pressing plants, instrument factories, and retail record outlets. Lively and comprehensive, this is a provocative story of finding common ground through music and creating a sound that would change the world.

Sales and Market Bullets

  • Foreword by renowned music historian Peter Guralnick.

  • David Less is a third-generation Memphian and has amassed extensive knowledge about his birthplace through interviews, research, and lived experience.

  • “Memphis had a deserved reputation as a racist city, but it is also the place where Black and white musicians have traditionally made music together onstage and in recording studios. As the home to murderers and thieves, artists and entrepreneurs, old money and extreme poverty, Memphis gave birth to music that changed the world.” — excerpt from Memphis Mayhem


  • Fans of blues, early rock and roll, and classic country music

  • Fans of Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Sam Phillips, etc.

  • People interested in the Memphis music scene history and the history of race relations in American music history

  • Readers of Rolling Stone

Promotional Plans

  • Excerpt and review pitching to music publications: long lead, weeklies, and digital

  • Review pitching to lifestyle magazines, long lead, weeklies, and digital

  • Author interviews on culture-focused talk radio (CBC and NPR)

  • Targeted email newsletter outreach

  • Outreach to influential musicians featured in the book for social media promotion

  • Spotify advertising

  • Author events in Tennessee

  • ARC giveaways through ECW Insiders, LibraryThing, NetGalley, Edelweiss, etc.

David A. Less has studied Memphis music for over 40 years, and has conducted research for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Gibson Guitar Foundation. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, DownBeat, Blues Revue magazine and the Bulletin for the Society of American Music. He is a third-generation Memphian who still lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

“Music writer Less presents a fascinating history of the music of his native Memphis … Less brings to vivid life the music of Memphis.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A lively combination of personal observation, scholarship, and insider knowledge of an important era of American music.” — Kirkus Reviews

“This quick romp through Memphis music from a racial perspective will complement Robert Gordon’s books, as well as James Dickerson’s Goin’ Back to Memphis.” — Library Journal

“Wow. Memphis Mayhem tells the history of the music from my hometown with fun and entertaining stories. David Less’s role as the ‘everyman narrator’ works perfectly because of his long involvement within the Memphis music community. Anyone interested in American music should read this book. O, my Soul.” — Jody Stephens, Big Star

“I like the way Memphis Mayhem represented Hi Records, Stax, and all of Memphis music. I totally enjoyed this book. Great job.” — Ann Peebles, soul singer

of 29

Forgotten Password

Please enter your email address and click submit. An email with instructions on resetting your password will be sent to you.

Forgotten Password

An email has been sent out with instructions for resetting your password.