"We Wanna Boogie: The Rockabilly Roots of

Sonny Burgess and the Pacers"


By Marvin Schwartz


Foreword by Governor Mike Beebe

Introduction by Sonny Burgess


Butler Center Books, Little Rock, Arkansas



Book Summary

"We Wanna Boogie” offers a portrait of a rock and roll pioneer and his home town of Newport, Arkansas. Members of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Burgess and other Pacer musicians tell of their original recordings for Sun Records in the 1950s, their shows with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and others, and their success in the contemporary rockabilly revival in the US and overseas. The musicians’ insight and wit speak to the challenges posed by the capricious music industry over a six-decade career as performing artists.


“We Wanna Boogie” also tells the vibrant history of a once-prominent Delta community, a high-spirited river town of extensive agricultural wealth and its transitions through the economic challenges faced by rural America in the 20th century. Newport was home to numerous music clubs, where national artists performed and illicit back-room gambling was widely accepted. A microcosm of American culture and values, Newport’s history in the 1950s abounds with minor league baseball teams and beauty pageants, fears of communism and atomic warfare, and the massive outmigration of displaced farm workers. Sonny Burgess is a product of this history, his vivacious music shaped by his home town and the dramatic transformation of southern rural life in mid-century.


Book Sales

Books are available from the author or at Pacers performances. Book orders can also be made at:

Butler Center: 510-320-5700 (www.butlercernter.org)

University of Arkansas Press: 800-621-2736 (www.uapress.com)

Pacers web site: (www.legendary pacers.com)


Author Programs

Marvin Schwartz is available for book events, including readings and signings, discussions groups, and workshops. A professional writer, public speaker, and educator, he can lead group programs on topics such as:


Phone: 501-831-4024       Email: schwartz921@comcast.net