Mello Yello: The Incredible Life Story of Jack the Rapper as Told to Walker Smith

Sonata Books, LLC
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Mello Yello is the intimate life story of music industry legend Jack Gibson a/k/a “Jack the Rapper.” Launching the careers of countless superstars, Gibson forged enduring friendships with some of the most illustrious African American personalities of the twentieth century.

His long reaching influence began in 1949, when he and J.B. Blayton established the first black-owned radio station in the United States. As an emcee and promoter, he built enduring friendships with the early black royalty of the entertainment world, among them, Sammy Davis, Jr., Billie Holiday, Erroll Garner, Sarah Vaughan, Nat King Cole, Pearl Bailey, Dinah Washington, Nancy Wilson, and Ray Charles.

When he was hired by Berry Gordy to head up promotion at a fledgling record company called Motown, Gibson befriended a new crop of stars, including Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and Smokey Robinson. Moving on to the Revelot label, and then to Stax, Gibson’s uncanny timing once again positioned him to further the careers of Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Isaac Hayes, The Staple Singers, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas and many others.

In addition to his involvement in the music scene, Gibson gave voice to the history as he lived it—covering the Civil Rights Movement, interviewing Malcolm X, and conducting a man-on-the-street report from Detroit as it burned following Dr. King’s assassination.

With the publication of his influential Black trade magazine called The Mello Yello, The Rapper established a forum for discussions and contributed to sweeping changes for African Americans in radio and the recording industry. But his most long-reaching achievement was his glittering “Family Affair”—an annual black music convention that provided a springboard for new talent. Each year, without fail, the heavy hitters of the music industry cleared their schedules to lend their talents to the Family Affair: Prince, Tina Turner, Nancy Wilson, Janet Jackson, James Brown, Whitney Houston, Eddie Murphy, Hammer, Toni Braxton, Sinbad, L.L. Cool J. And the list goes on like a “Who’s Who” of entertainment superstars.

After being honored by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, other accolades began to roll in from the United States Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and countless other organizations. But The Rapper wasn’t finished yet. With decades of stories and music still alive in his soul, he returned to his roots—radio. Nearly fifty years after his beginnings at WERD, Jack The Rapper’s voice once again crackled across the airwaves in Las Vegas, Nevada, proclaiming three simple words: “I’m still here.”

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About the author

Walker Smith writes in a unique blend of history, drama, and suspense, delivering the most unknown details of our history through the eyes of unforgettable characters. Her novels include: The Color Line, a Harlem Renaissance/World War I epic; Letters from Rome, a Sankofa journey from ancient Africa to Vietnam; and Bluestone Rondo, a racial Cain and Abel story set to modern jazz. Smith also collaborated with music industry giant Jack the Rapper Gibson on his biography Mello Yello.

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Additional Information

Sonata Books, LLC
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Published on
May 5, 2015
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Biography & Autobiography / Cultural Heritage
Biography & Autobiography / Entertainment & Performing Arts
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This content is DRM protected.
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“The Tragically Hip… the soundtrack our lives.” – Justin Trudeau

On August 20th, 2016 11.7 million Canadians stood transfixed, watching the final concert of The Tragically Hip, and the rest of the world asked, “Who is this band?” New York Times Bestselling pop journalist Marc Shapiro answers that question in the first American book about this Canadian rock band that largely shunned the spotlight but has become the standard bearer of a resurgent sense of Canadian pride and patriotism.

What is Hip? The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip delves deep beneath the surface of this rock and roll story to discover how a band that spent more than three decades in the rock and roll trenches selling millions of albums and opening for the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin’s Page & Plant, remained almost unknown outside their home country, even as they rose to the level of rock royalty in Canada.

What Is Hip: The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip reveals:

• The behind the scenes story of how the band took over The Horseshoe Tavern and made it their own
• How a high up political personality was instrumental in landing the band their manager
• The day-to-day, often unforgiving, spirit-grinding days of life on the road in Canada
• The ins and outs of opening for three of the biggest groups in the history of rock and roll

The Tragically Hip are not cartoon rockers. They are real men who live by their creativity and their principles. Through extensive research and a couple of well-placed sources, author Marc Shapiro has put together a complete look at The Tragically Hip’s rise: from their humble Kingston, Ontario roots, to endless tours, to their internal struggles to keep their music fresh, to the fanatic loyalty they fostered in millions of Canadian fans. These fans shed more than a few tears when it was announced that singer Gord Downie had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and that The Hip were about to embark on what might be their final tour.

Marc Shapiro is the author of more than 75 books. His most recent releases include Trump This! The Life And Times Of Donald Trump and Hey Joe: The Unauthorized Biography Of A Rock Classic. When he is not working, which is rare, he can usually be found mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and walking the dog.

The Most Beautiful Girl is a heartbreaking yet uplifting memoir of a daughter, her father, and the healing power of music. The story opens with a scene at Johnny Cash’s funeral when author Tamara Saviano is struck with grief about unfinished business with her father. Robert Ruditys died two years before Cash, and hadn’t spoken to his only daughter for more than a decade before that. Her grief led the author on a journey to rediscover her father and examine the lost relationship with a man she once loved. The Most Beautiful Girl is the result of that exploration and reveals a painful and complicated, yet, at times, touching relationship between a young girl and her dad. Through an unstable childhood, a turbulent young adulthood and finally on a path to freedom, Saviano lays bare the complexity of family ties—both those that bind and those that break. Her story is set to a soundtrack of folk and country music that both inspires and haunts her. Saviano weaves a tale that proves music can provide a lasting connection long after human relationships have unraveled. Threaded with lyrics and grounded in a mid-century coming-of-age tale, The Most Beautiful Girl represents a true American remembrance of childhood anguish, lost identity and happy endings. The Most Beautiful Girl concludes at the 2005 GRAMMY Awards, as Saviano is honored for producing the Best Traditional Folk Album: Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster. Praise for The Most Beautiful Girl: Tamara Saviano’s courageously written memoir The Most Beautiful Girl proves yet again that familial dysfunction is no match for the healing power of love and forgiveness. With Johnny Cash, Otis Redding and Charlie Rich providing, via the family turntable, the soundtrack to many a riveting scene, Tamara paints a picture of her early life in northern Wisconsin that is as harrowing as it is idyllic. This is the story of one hearts triumph over the human condition, told unflinchingly and without self-pity.” —Rodney Crowell, Author of Chinaberry Sidewalks The Most Beautiful Girl is Tamara Saviano's powerfully painful and beautifully written story of her transformation and redemption from dysfunctional childhood into a life filled with meaning, love and creativity. Driven by hard work, a passion for music and her ability to forgive and to move forward with her life, Tamara has emerged as one of the best friends Americana music has. But that's now. The Most Beautiful Girl is the story of how she became all she is.” —Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country Tamara Saviano renders the truth of who she is with a gritty, unapologetic page-turner that will leave you captivated. Saviano's storytelling is skillful and refined, allowing her reader to trust and to be taken by the hand on this colorful journey of mind, body and most importantly–spirit. The Most Beautiful Girl is, in equal measure, excruciating and triumphant; ultimately delivering massive doses of compassion for those of whom she writes and for Saviano, herself. —Chely Wright, Author of Like Me: Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer "A courageous writer, Saviano explores a childhood that is bitter and wondrous, a place where madness and music mingle to tell us the truths about life." —Michael Streissguth, author of Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris and the Renegades of Nashville; Johnny Cash: The Biography; and Always Been There: Rosanne Cash, “The List,” and the Spirit of Southern Music.”
Rock stars and rap gods. Comedy legends and A-list actors. Supermodels and centerfolds. Moguls and mobsters. A president.

Over his unrivaled four-decade career in radio, Howard Stern has interviewed thousands of personalities—discussing sex, relationships, money, fame, spirituality, and success with the boldest of bold-faced names. But which interviews are his favorites? It’s one of the questions he gets asked most frequently. Howard Stern Comes Again delivers his answer.

This book is a feast of conversation and more, as between the lines Stern offers his definitive autobiography—a magnum opus of confession and personal exploration. Tracy Morgan opens up about his near-fatal car crash. Lady Gaga divulges her history with cocaine. Madonna reminisces on her relationship with Tupac Shakur. Bill Murray waxes philosophical on the purpose of life. Jerry Seinfeld offers a master class on comedy. Harvey Weinstein denies the existence of the so-called casting couch. An impressive array of creative visionaries weigh in on what Stern calls “the climb”—the stories of how they struggled and eventually prevailed. As he writes in the introduction, “If you’re having trouble finding motivation in life and you’re looking for that extra kick in the ass, you will find it in these pages.”

Interspersed throughout are rare selections from the Howard Stern Show archives with Donald Trump that depict his own climb: transforming from Manhattan tabloid fixture to reality TV star to president of the United States. Stern also tells of his Moby Dick-like quest to land an interview with Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 election—one of many newly written revelations from the author. He speaks with extraordinary candor about a variety of subjects, including his overwhelming insecurity early in his career, his revolutionary move from terrestrial radio to SiriusXM, and his belief in the power of psychotherapy.

As Stern insightfully notes in the introduction: “The interviews collected here represent my best work and show my personal evolution. But they don’t just show my evolution. Gathered together like this, they show the evolution of popular culture over the past quarter century.”
Set against the backdrop of the Harlem Renaissance, The Color Line uncovers the long buried story of The Harlem Hellfighters, one of the many African-American units that served in the First World War.  By focusing on the personal journey of Serval Rivard, from his wedding day to his hellish experience in the trenches of the Western Front and home again, the story reveals not only the Hellfighters’ history, but that of two families and their place in Harlem’s most glorious era.

It is 1918, and Serval Rivard is marching off to war.  He isn’t after glory, just respect—despite the humiliating prospect of menial labor in a segregated army.  But mounting casualties on the Western Front and a twist of fate result in his reassignment to French command.  It is in France that Rivard and his fellow soldiers forever distinguish themselves as “The Harlem Hellfighters.”

After surviving the horrors of No Man’s Land, Rivard returns to his bride and a community on the rise—the literary brilliance of W.E.B. DuBois and Langston Hughes, the pride of Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa Movement, and the glamour of the Cotton Club. But as heartbreaking reports pour into Harlem of black soldiers lynched in the uniforms of their country, it becomes clear that despite the community’s progress and the military accomplishments of the Hellfighters, America’s racial divide remains immutably in place.  For Rivard and his family, the Great War has ended, but a new war has begun—the war of the American Color Line.


From the YouTube superstars and creators of Good Mythical Morning comes the ultimate guide to living a “Mythical” life, featuring stories and photos from their lifelong friendship, as well as awesomely illustrated guides, charts, and activities aimed at laughing more, learning more, and never taking yourself too seriously.
Thanks for reading this description. You’re obviously a curious person, which means you’ve already taken your first step towards achieving Mythicality. Lucky for you, opening this book is even more rewarding than reading about it online. Within its pages, you'll discover twenty ways to fill your life with curiosity, creativity, and tomfoolery, including Eat Something That Scares You, Make a Bold Hair Choice, Say “I Love You” Like It’s Never Been Said, and more. Along the way, you’ll also find:

·         Embarrassing stories and photos we'll probably regret sharing
·         Character Building: The Board Game
·         An important message from the year 2075
·         A quiz to help you determine if you should get a dog
·         A eulogy you can read at any funeral
·         Grownup merit badges to earn
·         Contributions from Mythical Beasts, and much more

If you decide to read this book, be warned – there is a high likelihood of increased Mythicality in your life, which means you may soon find yourself laughing more, learning more, and not taking yourself too seriously. This mentality has been known to spread easily to friends and loved ones.
Multicultural fiction. A racial adaptation of Cain and Abel, set to a score of modern Jazz, obsession, and revenge. In 1927 Mississippi, a black tenant farmer?s wife gives birth to unusual twins?Calvin, who is dark, and Joe, who is light enough to pass for white. As they grow up, the boys learn that color is worth more than brotherhood in the Jim Crow South, and they fall into a trap that was set for them by generations of racial discord. After a violent fight, Joe disappears and Calvin is convicted for his murder. In 1949 Joe steps off a bus in New York City, passing himself off as a white man. Birdland has just opened, Jazz is king, and the entertainment industry is in a cold-sweat panic over McCarthy?s Blacklist. Joe finds work as a singer with a bebop band and meets Magda, a Greek studio violinist, who beguiles him with her blue eyes and broken English. Over time, Joe is also drawn into a moth-and-flame bond with black trumpet player Doc Calhoun, who sees through his racial masquerade and warns him of its pitfalls. And at Doc?s side is the unforgettable Pearl, who holds them all together, despite her struggle with heroin addiction. Slowly, Joe?s fear of exposure takes a turn for the irrational. He begins to see his brother in the shadows, and the radio coverage of the HUAC hearings taunts him with its daily question: Are you now or have you ever been . . . ? Bluestone Rondo is a story of life-and-death choices?a Jazz masterpiece of love and hate that leads to two volatile plot twists and one fatal showdown.
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