musician recalls meeting Elvis
in the late 1950s, when rock 'n' roll was a relatively new
sound on A.M. radio, a band called The Casuals was traveling
across the country, opening for performers such as Jerry Lee
Lewis and Carl Perkins. "Right out of high school we went
on the road," said Buzz Cason, a former member of The Casuals
who went on to earn songwriting credits with major artists.
the beginning we played rock 'n' roll, rockabilly and early
R&B. We weren't really good at country and western." Cason
was with The Casuals when the band backed Brenda Lee. In 1959,
under the pseudonym of Garry Miles, Cason had a solo hit with
"Look for a Star." He is best known, however, as a songwriter.
He wrote or co-wrote songs — many country and western songs
— performed by artists including the Beatles, Gloria Estefan,
Jan and Dean, Martina McBride, Ricky Nelson, Dolly Parton,
Pearl Jam, T.G. Shepard and U2.
his best known songs are "Everlasting Love" and "Soldier of
Love." After living on the road, working in the music industry
and meeting and working with a "who's who" list of performers
during the decades, Cason compiled more than enough memories
to fill a book.
April, his book, "Living the Rock 'n Roll Dream: The Adventures
of Buzz Cason," was published. The 200-page book features
about 50 photographs of Cason and other rock 'n' roll pioneers.
Cason writes about the highlights of his career, the people
he has known and offers insight into the music industry.
are stories about touring, meeting Elvis Presley and co-discovering
Jimmy Buffet, just to name a few. "It wasn't easy trying to
figure out what I would put in and keep out, but writing it
really got fun," Cason said. He relived his past as he wrote.
one adventure, The Casuals met Elvis, thanks to a disc jockey
in Memphis. "We said, ‘How can we meet Elvis?' and he (the
disc jockey) said he would stop by the radio station," Cason
said. Not only did the band meet Elvis at the station later
that day, Elvis talked about the house he had just bought
and told the band they should see it. "That house was Graceland,"
Cason said. "He had not moved in yet. We looked through the
windows and saw the (brightly painted) walls. Those pictures
from meeting Elvis are in the book."
the book offers many familiar names from music's past and
song titles that will inspire humming, "A lot of the book
centers around the adventures of a young rock band," Cason
said. "It's light reading in between the heavier stuff of
today. "I didn't get too risque in the book. We were a much
cleaner-cut breed back then."
will share some of his rock 'n' roll memories when he makes
an appearance at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 at St. Louis County Library
headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd. in Ladue. He also will
perform some of his songs. "I give a little background," Cason
said. "I sing and do songs acoustically. I think it'll be
the first time there's been singing in the library." He said
there are many things readers will take from his story but,
mainly, "I just want people to capture the excitement and
fun and freedom of that era," Cason said. (Source:
Suburban Journals, October 2004)