As a young rock music columnist and cadet journalist on an English provincial newspaper, Paul Merry was plucked from obscurity by Beatles PR man Tony Barrow and lured to London in 1970. Paul then cut his teeth in rock PR, writing press releases for such ‘Tony Barrow International’ clients as Paul McCartney and Wings and the Kinks as well as promoting then unknown bands like Deep Purple, Gentle Giant and Uriah Heap.
From there, Paul Merry went to CBS Records, then the world’s leading record company, jam-packed with even more legends – rock, blues and jazz: a young Iggy Pop; Janis Joplin; Bob Dylan; the Band; Charlie Christian; Miles Davis; Jeff Beck; Johnny Winter; Sly & The Family Stone; the Yardbirds; Johnny Cash; Santana; Simon & Garfunkel; Leonard Cohen; Springsteen; Sinatra, and Streisand.
Paul wrote their biographies, liner notes, record sleeves and organised press and TV interviews. A perk of the job included frequenting clubs like London’s Speakeasy, the Marquee and Ronnie Scott’s during their heydays, enjoying the cream of the world’s rock, jazz and blues greats, in their prime.
Unable to see himself still in the music industry at 30, he stumbled into advertising in Australia, becoming a copywriter and later creative director in cities like Melbourne, Hong Kong, London and Singapore, writing blues and rock jingles at the same time, music articles and a couple of books along the way.
Now, Paul Merry has returned to his first love, the blues and blues rock. Unable to find a book that satisfyingly explained how blues actually evolved, he decided to write his own, using investigative and research techniques picked up over the years. The result is the righting of some historical misinformation for the first time, and everything you ever wanted to know about blues’ evolution now being available in just ONE book, America’s Gift.