Review of How I Got the Hip Disc Jockey Blues by John B. Ryland (aka John St. John)

 Who among us would not have dreamed about the opportunity to meet the King of Rock and Roll?  The setting in Sam Phillips' house was one of respect even as young boys were running around in a house full of legends in the making.  What a beginning for childhood memories growing up in that time and place.   Mr. Ryland’s beginning sets the stage for us as we wish we could have been there, and we are off on the musical adventure of a lifetime!

 The entire book was an easy read and fascinating story of the Rock and Roll scene relating to radio and promotions.  I was immediately drawn into the story as there were so many similarities to my early life’s introduction to “that music”.  My introduction also began with Debbie and Pat Boone, and the Big Band influence was my foundation.  Buddy Rich was taking us in a new direction.  It was a weekly ritual to wade through the Ozzie and Harriet Show waiting not so patiently for Ricky to croon us a tune. 

  The whole music scene began changing in the late sixties into the seventies.  Music was taking on a harder edge as The Who and Jimi began making their marks and taking us in different directions.  My return to South Laguna Beach, after my tour in the Marines, brought the same experience of walking through the San Francisco airport in uniform followed by the spitting and name-calling.  Reading this book was a feeling of deja-vu in a good way.  It made me realize that I had experienced some of the same exciting times and trips as John St. John.  We were all swept up in the new musical directions flowing out of our stereos and radios from Catalina to the Rockies.

  We all dreamed of meeting our favorite musicians and having that special remembrance, but not all of us were that fortunate.  The future of music seemed destined to take us higher and higher.  Some of us that have learned lessons the hard way, know that what goes up must also come down.  That is not always a bad thing. 

  For me personally, that last paragraph was very well written.  Life has a way of teaching us that we are not as invincible as we would like to think.  When we are young and know it all, it looks like the road will never end.  If only we could go back and do some of those situations over again with what we know now, the outcomes and lessons would be different.  There is also that tendency to carry a bag of rocks with us, and that is why I really appreciated the advice at the ending of “Moving On”!  Life waits for no one (just ask Mick).  We can all look back after this entertaining story and history with the feeling of having been there and experienced some of the same situations.  Now, we need to take the author’s advice, and make the most of our own unique lives and experiences.

  Thank you, “John St. John”, for this interesting and thought provoking insight into your musical experiences that have radiated out into some of our lives.  In this fast paced day and age, it was a special treat to step back and remember some of the good and bad journeys that have gotten me to this time.  Right On and Write On!

  Lee Williams, An Older and Wiser Rock and Roller

To find out more about this book or to order it please check out  It is also available as a book on CD. There will be more reviews to come.

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