Ken Mansfield, the multihyphenate former U.S. manager of the Beatles’ Apple Records, Waylon Jennings producer, and modern-day motivational speaker, has partnered with esteemed Steve McQueen chronicler Marshall Terrill to deliver Rock and a Heart Place: A Rock ‘n’ Roller-coaster Ride from Rebellion to Sweet Salvation.
The engrossing Christian tome depicts the epic rise, fall, and redemption of 15 music icons in their own words with accompanying contextual narrative. Rock and a Heart Place offers an intimate backstage pass brimming with sex, drugs, unabashed debauchery, and nefarious backroom deals to unintended salvation.
All-encompassing conversations were conducted with members of the Crickets [i.e. the legendary Buddy Holly’s backing band], the Ronettes, the Hondells, the Byrds, the Turtles, Buffalo Springfield, Grand Funk Railroad, Uriah Heep, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Ozzy Osbourne, the Pointer Sisters, Kansas, Outlaws, Prince, Collective Soul, and neo-metal purveyors Korn.
In email correspondence allocated with this writer, Mansfield revealed his fifth book’s spiritual journey: “Marshall has been encouraging me for years to dig deep in my heart and write about the rocks that some of us have encountered in our travels to the top and the bottom of what we fondly call ‘the biz.’ It is his research and insight that gave me the point of departure to write about these very special souls who have shared exciting and revealing stories of their fascinating lives.”
Terrill, the hard-hitting author of Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel, also pinpointed his serendipitous involvement. “The idea came about after I had a conversation with Ken about all of these former rockers becoming born again Christians,” said Terrill.
“I told him that would be a great idea for a book. He said that getting the cooperation of 15 stars would be like herding cats, and he kept me at bay for about two years. Finally I wrote a proposal, sent it to him, and it finally clicked why this would be an important book.”
In the process of ghostwriting the memoirs of a well-known singer-actor, Terrill was conducting research in Nashville when the interview process for Rock and a Heart Place formulated.
“Knowing that I’d be there for an entire week, Ken, who lives in Nashville, set up three interviews for me during that week with some of his friends [i.e. Rick Cua, bassist-vocalist in Southern rock band Outlaws from 1980-1983, Dez Dickerson, lead guitarist-vocalist for Prince between 1979 and 1983, and John Elefante, lead singer-keyboardist in Kansas from 1982-1985], so in a way I was moonlighting,” admitted Terrill. “But after we did the first three chapters, it was very apparent we were onto something special.
As far as each author’s respective roles, Terrill sheds further light: “Ken introduced me to everyone, with the exception of Ruth Pointer [i.e. the eldest member of the Pointer Sisters], Korn guitarist Brian ‘Head’ Welch, and Collective Soul founding drummer Shane Evans. I conducted all of the interviews, while we both wrote the text.”
Rock and a Heart Place is available on Amazon in hardcover for $16.66 or Kindle for $9.99. To download the first chapter for free, visit the 304-page tome’s official website.
A detailed press release provides career summations for Mansfield and Terrill. The former’s legendary career in the music industry began as a member of the Town Criers, a successful southern California folk group in the early 1960s.
From there he moved to executive tenures as US manager of the Beatles at Apple Records, director at Capitol Records, vice president at MGM Records, and president at Barnaby/CBS Records.
As a record producer, Mansfield was instrumental in launching country music’s “Outlaw” movement in the 1970s, producing Waylon Jennings’ number-one 1975 landmark recording, Are You Ready for the Country, and Jessi Colter’s number-one hit “I’m Not Lisa.”
He also produced the Gaither Vocal Band’s 1991 Grammy and Dove Award–winning Homecoming album, which also launched another historical movement, the resurgence of Southern gospel music via the Gaither Homecoming series of recordings, videos, and concerts.
He is now an ordained minister, a sought-after speaker, and the author of four books: The Beatles, The Bible and Bodega Bay; The White Book; Between Wyomings; and Stumbling on Open Ground.
Terrill is a veteran film, sports, and music writer and the author of nearly 20 books, including best-selling biographies of the King of Cool, Elvis Presley, and Pete Maravich. Three of his books are in development to be made into movies.
- DON’T GO ANYWHERE YET! The son of a humble Idahoan lumberjack, Ken Mansfield moved to California on a wing and a prayer and probably shocked quite a few friends when he quickly ascended to a top level position as an A&R representative for Capitol Records, navigating the careers of such luminaries as the Beach Boys, the Band, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, Jimmy Buffett, Glen Campbell, and “Ode to Billie Joe” chanteuse Bobbie Gentry. In a candid two-part conversation with this writer, the born-again Christian revisits his checkered past, the Elvis Presley meeting that nearly happened, songwriting, ongoing struggle with cancer, conquering a fear of public speaking, and daily prayer regimen.
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Exclusive Interview: Marshall Terrill possesses a no-holds-barred approach when unmasking the quintessential King of Cool, who had a tendency to mistrust members of the press and play endless mind games. In a rousing wide-ranging two-part feature, the dogged researcher dissects how Bullitt shattered his expectations as an 11-year-old military brat, the star’s complicated relationship with his mother and three wives, hell-bent reputation on movie sets, gives props to early career stepping stones including Wanted: Dead or Alive and The Blob, McQueen’s conversion to Christianity, why he chose to receive controversial alternative cancer treatment in Mexico, debunks five individuals who claim they’re related to the intense actor, and what he might have said if he had crossed paths with the legend.
Exclusive Interview No. 2: Marshall Terrill has also written three captivating Elvis Presley tomes with close friends and a ravishing former flame of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Terrill readily admits, “I’ve always tried to approach the Elvis story from an outsider’s perspective with a lot of common sense and no excuses. Many people in the Elvis World come to the subject matter with their minds made up, lines drawn in the sand, and have pegged everyone as either a hero or villain.” In “Gauging Elvis Presley’s Shakespearean Destiny from an Outsider’s Perspective,” the celebrity biographer scrutinizes how Elvis’ inspired performances often hinged on his level of instrumental commitment, why the artist didn’t compose more material, how lifestyle choices gradually diminished his recording career, the often pointless Elvis vs. Beatles debate, the shocking degree of entanglement degenerate gambler Colonel Tom Parker became mired in with the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel to his client’s detriment, and a plethora of additional eye-opening Elvis nuggets.
Exclusive Interview No. 3: When Bobbie Gentry burst onto the pop music landscape during the trippy Summer of Love with the mysterious “Ode to Billie Joe”, usurping the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” from its number one perch, who could have imagined the massive success awaiting her? Gentry was an innovative lyricist who wove rural narratives together with ease and poignancy. “Billie Joe”, a brilliant Southern gothic tale sprinkled with controversial subject matter such as young love, a disapproving family, a baby born out of wedlock, and ultimate suicide, scratches the surface of her fascinating, albeit short-lived career. In “Ode to Bobbie G: The music and mystery of a Mississippi Delta Queen”, cowritten with Marshall Terrill, Gentry’s enduring significance and exactly why she abandoned the bright lights of fame for relative obscurity is explored in illuminating fashion with rare insight from her musicians, secretary, producer, and other close friends. Don’t miss it!
- Exclusive Interview No. 4: Rick Nelson ruled pop airwaves in the ’50s and ’60s, sailing 35 Top 40 singles onto the charts with relative ease. Female fans felt comfortable bringing him home to meet their parents, while guys had no qualms taking him out for a round of drinks. Three-time Grammy winner Jimmie Haskell got his start producing Nelson’s impressive oeuvre. In “Just Go in the Studio and Make Hit Records: Jimmie Haskell Revisits Rick Nelson”, Haskell sets the record straight on the day Nelson nearly got in big trouble with his demanding father for smoking in the studio, Glen Campbell’s largely unrecognized guitar and vocal contributions to Nelson’s music, a premonitory conversation about the unsafe 40-year-old Douglas DC-3 airplane that the singer refused to sell, and where he was when he received the news of Nelson’s cruel date with destiny on New Year’s Eve 1985.
Further Reading: Did you know that former Beatle George Harrison followed up his critically-acclaimed solo debut, the triple-LP All Things Must Pass, with another number one record featuring the drumming expertise of compadre Ringo Starr? Surprisingly, Living in the Material World contains one song that remains largely undiscovered by the general record buying public. “Don’t Let Me Wait Too Long” is a Beatlesque and pop-oriented track that deserved to be a hit single. No stone is left uncovered in the fascinating feature, “Rediscovering a Superb Love Song…”
Further Reading No. 2: The Beach Boys were at a crossroads in the early ‘70s, exacerbated by Brian Wilson’s dwindling creativity. Fortunately for listeners everywhere, little brother Carl had a remedy. He had propitiously been demonstrating his burgeoning production skills since the soulful “Wild Honey” arrived with minimal fanfare in 1967. Gradually taking over the leadership reins from his elder brother, Carl was more than ready to put his stamp on the band’s 18th long player, along with a little help from two South African musicians with a penchant for hard driving rock ‘n’ roll, Blondie Chaplin and Ricky Fataar. An in-depth feature on “Carl and the Passions – So Tough” sheds light on an often misunderstood period in the group’s renowned discography. At least for a season, this was not your parents’ square fun in the sun band anymore.
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