“Since reading the blog, I have been amazed at the amount of plagiarism that went on from old black blues music.” PrivatePerson3, UK
“Love your blog on RnR Trail Blazers.” Noah Seidenberg @noahzark58, 20 August 2013, Chicago, USA.
hadn’t even been invented when these ten ripsnorters were let loose on America.
Naturally, all tracks bar one were by black artists for America’s black
group, The Andrews Sisters, and their wartime smash, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. A
mix of jump blues and boogie, Bugle Boy must have been the first time that white
audiences, internationally, heard a taste of the rhythm that would become rock.
But it would take another 14 years before Bill Hayley’s 12-bar blues, ‘Rock
Around The Clock’, would enter history as the song that turned the world on to rock & roll.
was in 1954, which only goes to prove just how conventional history so often gets
The mother and father of rock & roll
|Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup was covered by Elvis.|
The chart’s earliest three tracks, as you’ll see from their titles,
were all boogies, which strengthens the argument that boogie woogie piano is
the mother of rock & roll. The father, then, must be the electric guitar
which makes its first contribution to rock & roll’s emergence in 1944. Paradoxically
this electric guitar was in the more than capable hands of a woman, Sister Rosetta Tharpe,
who added a dose of gospel to rock’s evolving sound.
Crudup brought us closer to the spirit of guitar-driven rock with his Elvis
precursor in 1946. That same year, the words ‘rock’ or ‘rockin’ started appearing regularly in song
titles, as tracks six to ten on the list below demonstrate.
After that, America
rocked all the way into the 50s and beyond. Until 1949, such songs were called race
records. Then Billboard started describing them as rhythm &
conventional rock history often claims Ike Turner’s ‘Rocket 88’ was the first
rock & roll record in 1951, this is probably because Sam Phillips, in whose
studio it was recorded, constantly claimed it to be. As you know, say something
enough times and people start to believe it.
Named in 1952
By 1952, Alan Freed had dubbed this rocking new music, rock & roll,
although the term had been around for years. As Bing Crosby said in 1939,
describing the Andrews Sisters. Their songs were, “rock and roll with unleashed
enthusiasm tempered to strict four-four time”.
incidentally, was by the university-educated
African American blues singer, Trixie Smith, who recorded, ‘My Man Rocks Me
(With One Steady Roll)’, in 1922.
tracks in the order they were recorded and hear for yourself just how the
development of rock & roll unfolded. And note the geographical diversity of where they were made. Three were cut in Chicago, two in New York, and one each in L.A., New Orleans, Cincinnati, Houston and Philadelphia.
Are these the earliest ten rock & roll records known?
|Big Joe Turner sang earliest rock & roll vocals in 1938.|
Woogie Stomp, Albert Ammons. 1936. Recorded
‘Em Pete, Big Joe Turner & Pete Johnson. 1938. Recorded
in New York.
Woogie Bugle Boy, The Andrews Sisters. 1940. Recorded
in Los Angeles.
Things Happen Every Day, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
in New York.
All Right (Mama), Arthur Big Boy’ Crudup. 1946. Recorded
The House, Memphis Slim.
7. Good Rockin’ Tonight,
Roy Brown. 1947. Recorded
in New Orleans.
9. Rock Awhile,
Goree Carter. 1949. Recorded in Houston.