We Wanna Boogie

The Rockabilly Roots of Sonny Burgess and the Pacers
Marvin Schwartz
September 2014
Available In:

Paper: $29.95 (978-1-935106-75-3)
Cloth: $39.95 (978-1-935106-71-5)


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2015 winner of the Arkansiana Award (adult non-fiction category) from the Arkansas Library Association.

Rock and roll pioneer and Newport native Sonny Burgess is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. In this book full of personal interviews and remembrances, Burgess and his band tell of their original recordings for Sun Records in the 1950s; their shows with greats such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis; and their success in the contemporary rockabilly revival. This also is the history of a once prominent and spir­ited Delta community of extensive agricultural wealth. Newport was home to numerous music clubs that hosted national artists as well as illicit backroom gambling. Burgess is a product of this history, and his vivacious music is shaped by his hometown and the dramatic transfor­mation of southern rural life it witnessed.

Marvin Schwartz is a freelance writer who specializes in Arkansas history and culture. He has worked as a journalist, educator, speechwriter, and grant writer and has directed nonprofit organizations. He holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Arkansas.

Distributed for Butler Center Books.