The Only Full Length Biography for the Recipient of the 2009 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Posted February 4, 2009
Public Cowboy No. 1
The Life and Times of Gene Autry
by Holly George-Warren
(Oxford | February 4, 2009 | $17.95 | 416 pages)
Praise for Public Cowboy No. 1
"Johnny Cash called him a major influence, Ringo Starr wanted to be a cowboy like him, and Willie Nelson named a son for him. Public Cowboy No. 1 tells the story of the man who inspired their admiration with a quality worthy of the subject."
—The New York Times
"This is a thorough, no-nonsense account of a singular life, and the prolific music writer George-Warren employs a brisk, assured style that hews to the Cowboy Code."
"Holly George-Warren’s meticulously researched, engrossing bio takes the larger-than-life Autry down to human level . . . Public Cowboy No. 1 will likely stand as the definitive account of his life and work."
— Harp Magazine
"Holly George-Warren gives us Public Cowboy No. 1, [Autry’s] first serious, full-length biography. There isn’t likely to be another for a long time, so it’s fortunate that Ms. George-Warren’s is a good one. It’s solid and detailed, and it provides plenty of warts-and-all gossip."
—The Dallas Morning News
"Meticulously researched . . . The author provides a detailed history of the Hollywood B-westerns Autry made, and she takes great pains to catalog Autry’s records within the narrative, as well as providing a special index of his recording sessions. George-Warren also has many tales to tell, and she does so beautifully."
"The definitive portrait of Gene Autry."
—Memphis Commercial Appeal
"The book is well-researched and written with a careful eye to history and a keen appreciation of music . . . Biographers don't always meet their subjects, obviously, and if they do, the results may be disastrous—or beneficial. In George-Warren's case, it proved to be providential."
To the millions of children who grew up with him in the 1930’s, 40’s, and 50’s, Hollywood legend Gene Autry was a beloved figure who inspired dreams of cowboy glory and gave sweetness to his swagger with gentle singing in hits like "Back in the Saddle Again" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Worshipped by the likes of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, and Ringo Starr, Autry made an indelible print in the minds of aspiring cowboys and cowgirls and to this generation will always remain a cherished figure.
A monumental figure in the history of Hollywood, Autry was the only entertainer ever to earn five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—for film, recordings, television, radio, and live performance. He broke through the industry boundaries of his day, becoming the first movie star to transition to playing lead in a television series and the first ever to start his own TV production company. He spent his last decades as owner of the California Angels baseball team, and by 1994 the successful entertainer-turned-business man had made the Forbes 400 eight times. On February 8th, 2009 The Recording Academy will posthumously present Gene Autry with their Grammy for Lifetime Achievement.
Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry is the first comprehensive biography of Autry and a fascinating narrative that traces his meteoric climb from small-town farm boy to multimillionaire star of more than 90 films and 600 records, and features over 130 B&W and color photos.
About the Author
Holly George-Warren is an award-winning writer, editor, and frequent commentator on Western films, music, and fashion. A contributor to more than 40 books on popular music, she is the author of Cowboy! How Hollywood Invented the Wild West and co-author of How the West Was Worn: A History of Western Wear. She is co-editor of The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll and editor of Farm Aid: A Song for America. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Village Voice, Cowboys & Indians, American Cowboy and many other publications. Holly lives in the Catskill Mountains with her husband and son.