Breaking Artist: Eli "Paperboy" Reed

April 9, 2008 12:51 PM ET

Who: Eli "Paperboy" Reed, a Boston-via-Delta South soul singer who, with his band the True Loves, conquered both street corners and punk clubs with a mix of grooved-out rave-ups and slow-burning ballads.

Sounds Like: Your favorite Motown and Stax Records livened up for the Winehouse era. On his new album Roll With You, "Paperboy" delivers classic soul and horn-heavy R&B soaked with the blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. "Southern music is really where it's at for me and it's really defined my sound," Reed says.

Vital Stats:

• So where did he get the moniker "Paperboy?" "Ever see the movie Newsies?" asks Reed. "I lived in Mississippi for a while and in high school I had a newsboy hat that was my grandfather's. Everyone's got a nickname down there and people started calling me 'Paperboy' because of the hat."

• Reed's performing days started at age sixteen with a summer job playing in the street in Boston's Harvard Square. "I played guitar and harmonica, and my friend played drums and washboard," Reed remembers. "The money was good, and we only had to work for four hours a day."

• Reed has gained a reputation for his energetic live shows. "I had gotten a new blue sharkskin suit that I loved, and I was doing a ballad where I got down on one knee and suddenly the entire left pant leg ripped wide open," Reed says. "I was standing there with one pant leg. There were three songs left in the set, and there wasn't much I could do but finish the set. I rip a lot of pants."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »