NYC TV INTERVIEWS PETER ABOUT HIS RECENTLY RELEASED "STORY OF MOTOWN" BOOK AND WHAT MOTOWN MEANS FOR AMERICA
In this 26-minute interview, Peter tells former Newsday Columnist and TV Interviewer Sheryl McCarthy how he came to write the first book about Motown ever written in this country, The Story of Motown, which has just been re-released in a new and updated version by Rare Bird Books. Click on "The Host" headline just above to see and hear the video.
UNDER THE RADAR MAGAZINE PRAISES PETER BENJAMINSON'S "THE STORY OF MOTOWN"
By Frank Valish
The Story of Motown is the first book ever published about the history of the Motown Record Company, originally released in 1979. Reissued here, labeled "New and Revised," and including a forward by the esteemed Greil Marcus, The Story of Motown is a riveting introduction to the famous record label.
Peter Benjaminson places the label in the proper context, weighing its musical and cultural impact against the historical setting of the late-50s and 60s; founder Berry Gordy's impact is lauded throughout. The narrative is relatively brief, and at 175 pages, The Story of Motown is a relatively quick read. It is not heavy handed, and the minutiae that might be desired from Motown obsessives is absent. Instead, The Story of Motown is the perfect introduction, indoctrinating the novice and presenting enough detail for those already somewhat familiar with the label and its acts.
In this regard, The Story of Motown serves as a primer of sorts. Benjaminson has written lengthier, more detailed histories of specific Motown artists-Mary Wells, Florence Ballard, Rick James. As such, The Story of Motown might just inspire one to delve deeper.
Author rating: 7/10
This enjoyable video riffs on my latest Motown book, "The Story of Motown," which Rare Bird books released a few weeks ago. Click on the "'Story of Motown' Revised Edition Video" headline just above to see and hear the video.
THE STORY OF 'THE STORY OF MOTOWN'
A long long time ago in a kingdom far away, Peter wrote The Story of Motown, the first book about that magnificently successful record company ever published in this country. Grove Press released it in 1979. And now, with Motown gearing up to celebrate its 60th, yes, its 60th Anniversary, Rare Bird Books released an updated edition of the book in paperback and audio formats on November 13, including a great foreword by legendary rock journalist Greil Marcus.
VIDEOS NOW AVAILABLE FOR TWO OF PETER'S BOOKS ABOUT THE LEGENDARY MOTOWN RECORD COMPANY
Videos are now available for Super Freak: The Life of Rick James and Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown's First Superstar at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VaXKNCp-TE and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T07uoV9V6wE respectively. A video will soon be available for Peter's latest release, The Story of Motown.
(Peter talked about the upcoming re-release of The Story of Motown on a recent Music History Podcast.Click on the words "Music History Podcast" just above to hear the discussion.)
On a just-released episode of Reelz-TV's "Autopsy Series," Peter, the author of the "The Story of Motown New and Revised Edition," (above) to be released by Rare Bird Books on October 18, 2018 (with a foreword by legendary rock journalist Greil Marcus) and "The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard," (below), discusses the circumstances surrounding Flo's death and the reasons she died. Click on the words "Peter Reveals Details of Flo Ballard's Death on Reelz TV" just above to see the show.
On a just-released episode of REELZ-TV's "Breaking the Band" show, Peter, the author of "The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard," (above) and the soon-to-be released "The Story of Motown," (at top of column), reveals the details of Flo's removal from the group and the changing of the group name from "The Supremes" to "Diana Ross and the Supremes." Click on the words "Peter Reveals Details of Flo Ballard's Removal from the Supremes" just above to see the show.
Celebrity Radio Host Loves Super Freak!
PROMINENT RADIO HOSTS HUMBLE AND FRED allowed me to talk about Rick on their fabulous radio show on April 20. This was extremely appropriate, since H&F broadcast from Toronto, last week was Canadian Music Week and Rick was a Canadian musician for 14 years before heading south to Motown. Insert SuperFreak bit.ly/2pJ1Bzk in your brower to hear their whole show, and then, if you wish, fast forward to my part at the 1 hour-9 minute-58 second mark.
'SUPER FREAK,' RICK JAMES' BIOGRAPHY, RELEASED
Rick James played with Neil Young, self-produced his first album (later picked up by Motown), crossed rock and funk to come up with one of the best-selling albums of the 1980s, became one of the biggest pop stars of the era, turned a young white woman named Teena Marie into an R&B superstar, displayed an outrageously sex- and drug-filled lifestyle, was tried and found guilty of assaulting and imprisoning a young woman, went on to record new music that was compared to the Beatles' White Album, and ended his life as a punch line for Dave Chappelle.
James attempted to tell his own story—in two different books—but left out many incidents that showed who he really was. Now, based on court records, newspaper archives, and extensive interviews with dozens of family members, band members, friends, and lovers, here is the definitive biography of Motown's most controversial superstar.
The book is available in hardcover and kindle format on Amazon.com and at your local bookstore.
See reviews on "Super Freak" Page on this site.
Click on the link above to read about the con game behind the movie about Flo Ballard, the founder of the Supremes and the subject of Peter's popular book, "The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard."
Peter's latest book, the new and revised edition of his 1979 book THE STORY OF MOTOWN, was released by Rare Bird Books on November 13, 2018. His previous book, SUPER FREAK: THE LIFE OF RICK JAMES, was released by Chicago Review Press in 2017. His book MARY WELLS: THE TUMULTUOUS LIFE OF MOTOWN'S FIRST SUPERSTAR, the first biography of Mary "My Guy" Wells ever written, was released in 2012, and his book THE LOST SUPREME: THE LIFE OF DREAMGIRL FLORENCE BALLARD was released in 2008.
Benjaminson was born in Washington, D.C. and was a reporter and City-County Bureau Chief for the DETROIT FREE PRESS from 1970-76. While at the Free Press, he wrote the book INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING, with David Anderson (Indiana University Press, 1976 and Iowa State University Press, 1990), the first how-to book in that field. It was in print for 20 years.
In 1979 he wrote THE STORY OF MOTOWN (New York: Grove Press), the first U.S. book ever written about the Motown Record Company. From 1979 to 1981 he was a reporter for the ATLANTA JOURNAL and the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. He taught journalism at Binghamton University, New York University, and Columbia University from 1981-91. In 1984, he wrote DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON: AMERICA'S NEWSPAPER GIANTS STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL (Andrews, McMeel) the first and only book ever written about the death of afternoon newspapers in America's big cities. In 1992, he wrote PUBLISH WITHOUT PERISHING (National Education Association and National Writers Union) and in 1997, SECRET POLICE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION (New York: Barricade Books).
From 1991-1994 he was the spokesman for the NYC Department of Investigation. He was Assistant Editor of THE CHIEF-LEADER newspaper in New York City from 1994-1998 and the spokesman for the NYC Correction Officers Benevolent Association from 1998-2003. In 2003 and 2009 he was the spokesman for Members for Change in NYC Teamsters Local 237.
He lives in New York City.