How big an act was the Kingston Trio? Big enough that the their first 19 albums not only reached Billboard's Top 100, but 14 of them entered the top 10, with five albums alone hitting the no. 1 spot! At the height of their popularity, the Kingston Trio was arguably the most popular vocal group in the world, having single-handedly ushered in the folk music boom of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. Their meteoric rise quite literally paved the way for Bob Dylan; Joan Baez; Peter, Paul & Mary; and the many acts that followed in their wake. With the release of their version of “Tom Dooley” in fall 1958, the Kingston Trio changed American popular music forever, inspiring legions of young listeners to pick up guitars and banjoes and join together in hootenannies and sing-alongs.
In Greenback Dollar: The Incredible Rise of The Kingston Trio, the first in-depth biography of America’s first recording super-group, William J. Bush retraces the band members’ personal and professional lives, from their rapid rise to stardom to their early retirement in 1967. Through interviews with Trio members, their families, and associates, Bush paints a detailed portrait of the Trio's formative early years and sudden popular success, their innovations in recording technology, pioneering of the college concert and intensive tour schedule, their impact on and response to the ‘60s protest movement, the first break-up of the Trio with Dave Guard’s departure, and its re-formation with John Stewart.
Lovers of folk music and students and scholars of the history of popular music and the music business, the counterculture movement, and the American folk tradition will find in Greenback Dollar a remarkably detailed view of the musical and cultural legacy that resulted in the Kingston Trio receiving a 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.