Jeff Pearlman

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Dreaming in English

Of late, I’ve very much enjoyed using this space to write about the ups and down of my journalism career.

Here is an enormous down.

Back in 1995, while I was still a young scribe in the Living Dept for The (Nashville) Tennessean, I pitched the story of Dreaming in English, a local rock band that was generating quite a bit of buzz. The idea was to hang with the guys for a week—see what their lives were like; how it was to be young and struggling in a country-dominany town; what sort of musical journey the five members were on.

And it was, without question, great fun. The band was led by two guys: A guitarist, Roger Nichols, who was funny and gregarious; and a singer, Ty Brooks, who very much reminded me of a young Phillip Bailey. I was young and impressionable and thrilled to be hearing music for free. So the piece was certainly far from hard-hitting.

Anyhow, after repeatedly telling the editor, Gloria Ballard, how exciting the story would be, I was told it would run as the section front on an upcoming Sunday, and that I could devote, oh, 3,000 words to the project. Man, did I ever work my ass off on this one. I kept bugging the members for more and more info; attended far more performances than need be; looked for all angles and thoughts and meanings into the music of Dreaming in English.

At long last, the piece ran. Exciting day! I actually drove to the nearest convenience store and paid for a copy. Layout—great! Headline—great!

Phone rings.

“Hey Jeff, it’s Roger Nichols.”

“Hey, Roger.”

“Just wanted to thank for you the story. It’s terrific, and we’re all thrilled.”

“I’m so happy.”

“There’s just one thing, but, really, it’s not a big deal.”

“Uh … OK.”

“Really, it’s not a big deal at all. I don’t even know if it’s worth mentioning.”

“Roger, I can handle it.”

“Well,” he said, “Ty’s name is Ty Banks.”

PS: Side note: Though Dreaming in English is long dead, I remain a huge fan on the song, “Where’s the Sun?” Highly suggest giving it a listen.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

— Seth Davis, author of Wooden: A Coach's Life