Steve Bergsman

The Death of Johnny Ace

Dancing Traveler Publishing 2012

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in MusicNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books Network July 24, 2013 Matt Smith Lehrman

It’s Christmas Eve at the Houston City Auditorium, 1954, and Big Mama Thornton is belting out “Hound Dog,” her hit from the previous year....

It’s Christmas Eve at the Houston City Auditorium, 1954, and Big Mama Thornton is belting out “Hound Dog,” her hit from the previous year. It’s the years just before Elvis, before rock and roll, when white and black musics were still segregated, officially at least. But the white kids were catching on to the Rhythm and Blues sounds of cats like Fats Domino, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and, up in his dressing room waiting for his turn on stage, Johnny Ace. Tragically, however, Ace wouldn’t make it to perform. A favorite hand-gun mixed with a tough-guy attitude, a couple of pretty women, and an arch-nemeses lead to death by his own hand; Johnny Ace shot himself this night in a game of Russian Roulette. In The Death of Johnny Ace (Dancing Traveler Publishing, 2012), Steve Bergsman gives a fictionalized account of the years leading up to Ace’s demise: his humble beginnings in Memphis, his mercurial rise to stardom on Duke-Peacock Records, and his final hours in Houston. Johnny Ace was a pre-rock ‘n’ roll star on the cusp of superstardom, Steve Bergsman tells us how he got there, and how it all ended.

Steve Bergsman has contributed to a wide range of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Global Finance, Chief Executive, and Investment Dealer’s Digest. He has contributed to the “Ground Floor” real estate column in Barron’s, written for most of the leading real estate industry publications, and published numerous books, including After the Fall: Opportunities and Strategies for Real Estate Investing in the Coming Decade and Growing up in Levittown: In a time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crises.

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