Against All Odds – The Incredible Life Story Of Eddie Ray is available on the Amazon book store now.
He was not a musician, yet spent some 60 years in the commercial music business beginning as a stock boy and rising to become the nation’s first African-American executive of a major record company. The grandson of a former slave, Eddie Ray takes you from the rural foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains to the top executive suites of the burgeoning music industry of the 1950s and 1960s.
You’ll get a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the music business and how Ray became a formidable force in helping shape that dynamic industry. Starting as a stock boy for Decca Records in Milwaukee, Wisconsin when he was 18 years old, Ray eventually rose to become vice president of Capitol-Tower Records in Hollywood, California, at the time one of the top major record companies in the U.S., the first African-American in such a decision-making role.
But prior to this top post, Ray was first an extraordinary record sales and promotions man whom acquaintances still describe today as having “an ear for what would sell.” Read about the impact he had on the careers of stars such as Ricky Nelson, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Ernie Freeman, Mike Curb, Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, Sandy Nelson, and even Pink Floyd. Ray went on to found one of the first commercial music schools in the country and subsequently was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as a Commissioner of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Tribunal in Washington, DC.
Filled with personal encounters with notable names, music industry movers and shakers, and some infamous personalities, this book will make you laugh, shake your head in disbelief, and more importantly learn what it took to lay the foundation for popular music.
Baby Boomers especially will enjoy this book that will evoke feelings of nostalgia as they think back to where they were when certain songs of the early Rock and Roll era became hits. They will be fascinated by Eddie Ray’s connection with the success of not only mega-stars but names they may not immediately recognize, but whose works they certainly will.
Music historians will appreciate learning about Ray, another “national treasure” who can be added to the “untold stories” of influential African Americans. African Americans will be inspired by Ray’s quest to open doors, courage to break racial barriers, and audacity to ignore the status quo.
Even music students will find this book enjoyable as they read about the people who laid the foundation for the music business today.