Elvis Presley Jumpsuit History

Elvis Presley died in 1977, but the iconic image of him performing, as the still undisputed king of roll and roll in his jumpsuit stage costume, remains instantly recognizable all these years later, not just in America but also all around the world.

Perhaps the myth that Elvis still lives on has some truth in it, in that his many impersonators are often to be seen still performing their Elvis tribute shows in most cities of the world today. Almost invariably, they choose to wear a copy of his jumpsuit stage costume.

In fact Elvis adopted his jumpsuit style of stage costume quite late in his career. It was after his 1968 comeback television concert that his singing career resumed, and his main base for performing shows became Las Vegas from around 1969. He wanted to distinguish his rock and roll style from that of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and the other tuxedo wearing crooner-style singers who played often in Las Vegas at that time. A tuxedo was not his style, and he needed a fresh look for his stage costume.

Elvis turned to leading designer Bill Belew for ideas, who designed a two piece costume inspired by the interest Elvis had in the martial arts. This concept soon evolved into a one piece jumpsuit in wool gabardine, with a high collar, flared legs, pointed sleeve cuffs and a very deep “V” neckline that partially bared Elvis’ chest.

This basic outfit remained the signature stage costume for Elvis from around 1969 through to his death in 1977. However, there were many embellishments through this time, with accessories and elaborate decorations added in numerous variations.

The color of the jumpsuits varied. While the white version was often favored to show up the brightly colored embellishments and to stand out on stage, there were also a variety of other colors used.

A cape was popular with Elvis for a few years early on, but was rarely seen from around 1974. A scarf was often added. A broad belt with a large buckle took over from the karate style of tied belt used at the start. Rhinestones, metal studs and other decorative designs were used increasingly, and elaborate embroidered patterns followed. The workmanship of Gene Douchette was an important influence on the many decorative variations on successive jumpsuits, drawing inspiration from many concepts, ranging from peacock feathers through to the American eagle.

These richly decorated stage costumes were striking in appearance, and often cost thousands of dollars to make.

Source by Shelby Wright

Music History – Hip Hop, Rap, R&B

In the early 1970s, the cultural movement of hip hop music was born. Hip hop’s fast paced music style is made of two parts; the rhythmic delivery of rap and the use ofinstrumentation by a DJ. Hip hop music also brought with it a fashion of its own, the fashion helped to represent this newly created music.

Hip hop music has its roots from West African music and African-American music. The first rap song to be put onto a vinyl record was, “Rapper’s Delight”, a song by the Sugarhill Gang back in the 1970s. This is when block parties started becoming the norm in New York City, which gave hip hop and rap the chance to explode in popularity. Hip hop’s instrumentation came from funk, R&B, and disco, when combined together make this dynamic type of music. When the DJs at these block parties learned what the people liked, they began mixing these vinyl records and created music that played continuously with amazing transitions between

songs. Hip hop was actually created by a DJ named Kool Herc, a Jamaican that had moved to the United States with a style that consisted of mixing music by using two copies of the same record. Many of the poor Jamaican’s in the town could not afford vinyl records, so huge stereo systems were set up so that many could here the rhythmic beats. These stereo systems were the kick-off for the beginning of the

evolution of block parties. So with the musical talent of these amazing DJs, with the use of vinyl record mixing, the culture of hip hop and rap music was born.

History of R & B

R&B, which stands for Rhythm and Blues, was the greatest influence on music around the world for most of the 20th century’s second-half. Rhythm and Blues is a term with a broad sense, but typically recognizing black-pop music. This type of music was introduced to the world by artists’ combining the music styles of jazz and blues. R&B is actually what was later developed into what we know as rock and roll. In the 1970s, the term R&B was being used to describe soul and funk music styles, which today we know it describes Rhythm and Blues. Along with being influenced by jazz and blues, R&B also had influences from gospel and disco music. Disco’s downturn in the 1980s opened the door for R&B to truly take-off in popularity.

Source by Matthew Kellmer

The Rock and Roll Wisdom Of Spinal Tap Quotes

When it comes to quotable endeavors rock and roll is not very high up on the list but oddly, a rock and roll movie, 1984’s This Is Spinal Tap, is very much quoted. Probably the most quoted line is from a scene where Spinal Tap lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) demonstrates to documentary film director Marty DeBergi (Rob Riener) how much more powerful his amplifier is than that of other bands. The volume control of amplifiers range from a setting of 0 to a high of ten but Nigel’s custom amp has volume knobs that go to eleven. “These go to eleven “has been quoted many times by musicians over the years and not just to brag about how loud they can get but for a wide assortment of things and activities where more is best.

When Spinal Tap manager Ian Faith (Tony Hendra) lobs a derogatory sexual term at a hotel clerk (Paul Benedict), he calmly responds, “I’m just the way God made me,” invoking the nature verses nurture argument. One of my personal favorites occurs when the band runs into an acquaintance played by Howard Hesseman in the lobby of the same hotel and are told, “we’d love to stand around and chat, but we’ve gotta sit down in the lobby and wait for the limo.” In other words, I’d rather do nothing and wait then continue to speak with you guys. This line clearly demonstrates the brotherhood among professional musicians. When told by their record label their choice of album cover art was rejected due to its inappropriateness, Nigel and band mate David St, Hubbins (Michael McKean) reflect on the observation that “it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

When I was in high school Columbia Studios shot a low budget motion picture at my school that had the shooting title; The Young Graduates. Several of my friends and I appear as extras in the film playing high school students, as I am a Method actor. One of the stars of the film was a young Bruno Kirby who appears in This Is Spinal Tap as their rudly ignored limo driver. He takes their lack of interest in his personal hero, Frank Sinatra, in stride and explains to Marty DiBergi, ” When you’ve loved and lost the way Frank has, then you know what life’s about.” Indeed.

One of the final notable quotes in the movie and one of the greatest rock and roll quotes of all time is drummer Mick Shrimpton’s (R.J. Parnell) brutally honest confession; “As long as there is, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll.” This is especially poignant if you’re a rock musician as a great many of the drummers you’ll meet invariable will tell you they’re really into playing Jazz. Sex and drugs are fine but if that’s all I wanted and didn’t care about music, I’d just become a pimp.

Source by Neal R Warner

Importance of collecting sports Memorabilia

Sports memorabilia collecting is a very popular hobby among many sports enthusiasts. There are several types of items that fans can collect, such as photographs, sports jerseys, and signed items. Many collectors utilize sports memorabilia cases.

Each collector has their own reason for collecting autographed memorabilia. Some people collect it due to sentimental reasons. There are some people who just collect it for the love of the sport. Others want to collect it for the money. There is a lot of money to be had in collecting and then selling sports memorabilia.

When it comes to autographs, authenticity is paramount. Most signed sports memorabilia dealers proof the authenticity of the signature through photographic evidence and/or a so called certificate of authenticity. Purchased sporting memorabilia without proof is less valuable than items with attested authenticity. Some die hard football supporters like to get a signature with a personal dedication to them.

Pieces of sports memorabilia like this, have a very high emotional value for the fan, but are worth less in the memorabilia marketplace, due to the personalized touch. Some sporting stars rarely sign autographs at all; this makes their authentically signed item more valuable than high volume pieces. As a rule of thumb, you can say, the more successful sportsmen or women are in their respective careers and the rarer their autographs are, the more valuable every piece of sport memorabilia signed by them becomes. Serious sports memorabilia collectors mainly look for two different types of signed sporting memorabilia.

The most thought after pieces of memorabilia are match worn items of clothes like shirts or robes and pieces, which are signed by a whole team or lineup of a big tournament.

One other side of collecting sport memorabilia is that, if you are looking to invest money in your child’s future, sports memorabilia can be a great choice. Not only will you be saving for the future in a sensible and tangible way, you will be saving a piece of history and providing an opportunity to begin a life-long love of sport. As a financial move signed sports memorabilia have often outperformed other markets and have been known to triple in value after the signature has passed away. So for a long term investment sports memorabilia is an outstanding choice.

Source by annie jomes

First Rock And Roll Record

Origins of Rock and Roll

Main article: Origins of rock and roll

More precisely, in musical and social terms, rock and roll was born in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s. During that time, processes of active cross-fertilisation took place between country and western music (predominantly played and heard by white people), western swing, and rhythm and blues (R&B), which itself comprised a variety of genres (including, for example, jump blues, Chicago blues, and doo-wop) and was predominantly played and heard by black people. These processes of exchange and mixing were fuelled by shared experiences in the Second World War, and by the spread of radio and records. Several records of this period have been most frequently cited by various authorities as “the first rockoll record.” These include:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Strange Things Happening Everyday (1944)

“Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Roy Brown (1947), later covered by Wynonie Harris

“Rock the Joint”  either the original 1949 version by Jimmy Preston or the 1952 version by Bill Haley

“The Fat Man”  by Fats Domino, recorded in December, 1949

“Rocket 88”  either Jackie Brenston’s original, recorded on March 5, 1951 with Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm, or Bill Haley’s cover, later in 1951

Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” (recorded on April 12, 1954) a cover of Sonny Dae and His Knights 1953 song

Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right (Mama)” (recorded in July 1954), a cover of Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s 1946 song.

However, there are many other candidates, and many of the threads which together made up rock and roll music can be traced back to much earlier precursor records. The book What Was the First Rock’n’Roll Record by Jim Dawson and Steve Propes discusses 50 contenders, from Illinois Jacquet’s “Blues, Part 2” (1944) to Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” (1956), without reaching a definitive conclusion. In their introduction, the authors claim that since the modern definition of rock ‘n’ roll was set by disc jockey Alan Freed’s use of the term in his groundbreaking The Rock and Roll Show on New York’s WINS in late 1954, as well as at his Rock and Roll Jubilee Balls at St. Nicholas Arena in January 1955, they chose to judge their candidates according to the music Freed spotlighted: R&B combos, black vocal groups, honking saxophonists, blues belters, and several white artists playing in the authentic R&B style (Bill Haley, Elvis Presley). The artists who appeared at Freed’s earliest shows included orchestra leader Buddy Johnson, the Clovers, Fats Domino, Big Joe Turner, the Moonglows, Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, and the Harptones. That, say Dawson and Propes, was the first music being called rock ‘n’ roll during that short time when the term caught on all over America. Because the honking tenor saxophone was the driving force at those shows and on many of the records Freed was playing, the authors began their list with a 1944 squealing and squawking live performance by Illinois Jacquet with Jazz at the Philharmonic in Los Angeles in mid-1944.

Rolling Stone’s Decree versus The King

In 2004, debate was sparked between fans of Elvis Presley as well as many in the music business who claimed “That’s All Right Mama” was the first rock and roll song, and those who feel the proper claimant should be Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” both songs celebrating their 50th anniversaries in that year. Rolling Stone Magazine took the controversial step of unilaterally declaring Presley’s song the first rock and roll recording.

Presley himself would not have agreed with either view. In his book Race, Rock and Elvis, Michael T. Bertrand quotes him on the subject:

A lot of people seem to think I started this business, but rock ‘n’ roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that kind of music like colored people. Let’s face it: I can’t sing like Fats Domino can. I know that.(p. 199)

Timeline of contenders as “The First Rock and Roll Record”

The timeline below sets out some records relevant to a discussion of the “first rockoll record.” Some songs are cited as having important lyrical content, while others are seen as offering important melodic, harmonic or rhythmic influence. These songs include not only hits from the early 1950s when the music emerged on the national and international scene, but also various other precursors to what would become known as rock and roll.



The first use of the phrase “rocking and rolling” on record seems to have come on Little Wonder # 339, “The Camp Meeting Jubilee” by an unnamed male vocal quartet. This includes the lyrics “We’ve been rockin’ an’ rolling in your arms / Rockin’ and rolling in your arms / In the arms of Moses.” Here the meaning is clearly religious rather than secular.



“My Man Rocks Me (With One Steady Roll)” by Trixie Smith. Although it was played with a backbeat and was one of the first “around the clock” lyrics, this slow minor-key blues was by no means rock and roll. However, the title and lyrics make this the first recording offering the secular sexual meaning attached to the words rock and roll.


“Kansas City Blues” by Jim Jackson (recorded on October 10, 1927). This was a best selling blues, suggested as one of the first million-seller records. Its melody line was re-used and developed by Charlie Patton (“Going To Move To Alabama”) and Hank Williams (“Move It On Over”) before emerging in “Rock Around The Clock”, and its lyrical content presaged Leiber and Stoller’s “Kansas City”. It contains the line “It takes a rocking chair to rock, a rubber ball to roll,” which Bill Haley would later incorporate into his 1952 recording, “Sundown Boogie.”


“It’s Tight Like That” by Tampa Red with pianist Georgia Tom (Thomas A. Dorsey) (recorded on October 24, 1928) was a highly successful early hokum record, which combined bawdy rural humour with sophisticated musical technique. With his Chicago Five, Tampa Red later went on to pioneer the Chicago small group “Bluebird” sound, while Dorsey became “the father of gospel music”.

“Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie” by Clarence “Pinetop” Smith (recorded on December 29, 1928) was one of the first hit “boogie woogie” recordings, and the first to include classic rock and roll references to “the girl with the red dress on” being told to “not move a peg” until she could “shake that thing” and “mess around”. Smith’s tune itself derives from Jimmy Blythe’s 1925 recording, “Jimmy’s Blues”.


“Crazy About My Baby” by Blind Roosevelt Graves and brother Uaroy, a rhythmic country blues with small group accompaniment. Researcher Gayle Dean Wardlow has stated that this “could be considered the first rock ‘n’ roll recording”. See also the Mississippi Jook Band, 1936.



“Tiger Rag” by The Washboard Rhythm Kings (later known as the Georgia Washboard Stompers) was a virtually out of control performance, with a rocking washboard and unusually high energy for the early Great Depression. . It opens with a repeated one-note guitar lick that would transform into a chord in the hands of Robert Johnson, T-Bone Walker and others. This is just one of many recordings by spasm bands, jug bands, and skiffle groups that have the same wild, informal feel that early rock and roll had. After the original recording by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917, “Tiger Rag” became not only a jazz standard, but was also widely covered in dance band and march orchestrations.


The Boswell Sisters recorded their song “Rock and Roll”, which refers to “the rolling rocking rhythm of the sea”.


Benny Goodman and his orchestra, with vocalist Helen Ward, recorded the swing tune “Get Rhythm in Your Feet and Music in Your Soul” in July 1935, with the line “… commence to rock and roll, get rhythm in your feet and music in your soul ….”


“Oh! Red” by The Harlem Hamfats (recorded on April 18, 1936) was a hit record made by a small group of jazz and blues musicians assembled by J. Mayo Williams for the specific purpose of making commercially successful dance records. Viewed at the time (and subsequently by jazz fans) as a novelty group, the format became very influential, and the group’s recordings included many with sex and drugs references.

“Skippy Whippy” and “Hittin’ The Bottle Stomp” by The Mississippi Jook Band (recorded in July 1936), featuring Blind Roosevelt Graves (see 1929), were highly rhythmic instrumental recordings by a guitar-piano-tambourine trio, which had they been recorded two decades later with full amplification would have unquestionably been seen as rock and roll.

“I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” (recorded on November 23, 1936), “Crossroad Blues” (recorded on November 27, 1936), and other recordings by Robert Johnson, while not particularly successful at the time, directly influenced the development of Chicago blues and, when reissued in the 1960s, also strongly influenced later rock musicians.


“Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman (written by Louis Prima) featured repeated drum breaks by Gene Krupa, whose musical nature and high showmanship presaged rock and roll drumming.

“Rock It For Me” by Ella Fitzgerald, with Chick Webb and his Orchestra, was a swing number featuring the lyrics “…Won’t you satisfy my soul, With the rock and roll?”


“Rock Me” by Sister Rosetta Tharpe (recorded on October 31, 1938), a gospel song written by Thomas Dorsey as “Hide Me In Thy Bosom” which Tharpe performed in the style of a city blues, with ecstatic vocals and electric guitar. She changed Dorsey’s “singing” to “swinging,” and the way she rolled the “R” in “rock me” led to the phrase being taken as a double entendre, interpretable as religious or sexual. Many rock and roll stars, including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard, have cited her music and energetic performance style as an influence.

“Ida Red” by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, a Western swing band, featuring electric guitar by Eldon Shamblin. The tune was recycled again some years later by Chuck Berry in “Maybellene”.

“Roll ‘Em Pete” by Pete Johnson and Joe Turner (recorded on December 30, 1938), an up-tempo boogie woogie with a hand-clapping back beat and a masterful collation of blues verses


“Rockin’ Rollin’ Mama” by Buddy Jones, a 12-bar blues played in Western swing style by a white country singer and his band, including Moon Mullican on piano, featuring the following lines:

Waves on the ocean, waves in the sea,

But that gal of mine rolls just right for me

Rockin’ rollin’ mama, I love the way you rock and roll

You ease my troubled mind and pacify my weary soul”.



“New Early In The Morning” and “Jivin’ The Blues” (both recorded on May 17, 1940) by John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, both examples of the very influential and popular rhythmic small group Chicago blues recordings on Lester Melrose’s Bluebird label, and among the first on which drums (by Fred Williams) were prominently recorded.

“Down the Road a Piece” by the Will Bradley Orchestra, a smooth rocking boogie number, was recorded in August of this year with drummer “Eight Beat Mack” Ray McKinley sharing the vocals with the song’s writer, Don Raye. The song would go on to become a rock and roll standard, recorded by hundreds of rock artists, among them being Amos Milburn, Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Foghat, and Bruce Springsteen. But the 1940 original by Will Bradley holds up as the first truly rocking version of the song.

The “eight beats” in McKinley’s nickname and the popular phrase “eight to the bar” in many songs indicate the newness of the shift from the four beats per bar of jazz to boogie woogie’s eight beats per bar that is characteristic of rock and roll to this day.

“Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” by The Andrews Sisters contains numerous proto-rock and roll elements. This is the group’s best-known example, though they also recorded other proto-rock recordings such as “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar.”It is notable is that both of these songs were written by the same man, namely, Don Raye.


“Flying Home” by Lionel Hampton and his Orchestra, tenor sax solo by Illinois Jacquet, recreated and refined live by Arnett Cobb, a model for rock and roll solos ever since: emotional, honking, long, not just an instrumental break but the keystone of the song. The Benny Goodman Sextet had a popular hit in 1939 with a subdued “jazz chamber music” version of the same song featuring guitarist Charlie Christian. In 1944, Jacquet recorded an even more “honking” solo on “Blues, Part 2”, billed as by “Jazz at the Philharmonic”.

“Mean Old World” by T-Bone Walker is an early classic by this hugely influential guitarist, often cited as the first song in which he fully found his sound. B. B. King credits Walker as inspiring him to take up the electric guitar, but his influence extends far beyond the blues to jazz and of course rock and roll. “Mean Old World” has a one-chord guitar lick in it which would be further developed by fellow Texas bluesman Goree Carter, Elmore James and most famously, Chuck Berry. Walker’s 1947 “T-Bone Jumps Again” and “T-Bone Shuffle” also show off his picking prowess.


“The Joint is Really Jumpin’ at Carnegie Hall” performed by Judy Garland and Jose Iturbi in the film Thousands Cheer is notable not only for its boogie-woogie arrangement but for the lyric “when they start to rock” which uses the word “rock” in a purely musical sense (as opposed to its more common use at this time as a double entendre for sex). But Garland was far from being the first to use the term “rocking” in a musical sense in a movie. She was beaten to it by 5 years, because in 1938, Gertrude Niesen sang the song “Rockin’ The Town” in the movie, Start Cheering, and The Boswell Sisters five years before in Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round with “Rock and Roll” (although it should be noted the Boswell song is strictly about the rocking and rolling of ocean waves and has no musical or sexual reference).


“Straighten Up and Fly Right” by the Nat King Cole Trio, very light on the rocking, but a popular hit with lyrics from an African American folk tale, sounding similar to Bo Diddley but without the big beat.

“I Wonder” and “Cecil’s Boogie” by Cecil Gant, early black ballad performances that became widely popular, the first of the black tenors. Cecil’s Boogie had many rock n roll undertones.


“The Honeydripper” by Joe Liggins (recorded on April 20, 1945), synthesized boogie-woogie piano, jazz, and even the riff from the folk chestnut “Shortnin’ Bread” into an exciting dance performance that topped the R&B “race” charts for 18 weeks.

“Guitar Boogie” by Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith, the first boogie woogie played on the electric guitar, and much imitated by later country boogie guitarists.


Louis Jordan’s “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” (recorded in January 1946) and “Let the Good Times Roll” (as well as 1945’s “Caldonia”) were hugely influential in style and content, and popular across both black and white audiences. Their producer Milt Gabler went on to produce Bill Haley’s hits, and Jordan’s guitarist Carl Hogan, on such songs as “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” (also 1946), was a direct influence on Chuck Berry’s guitar style.

“House of Blue Lights” by Freddie Slack and Ella Mae Morse (recorded on February 12, 1946), the first white artists to perform what is now seen as R&B.

“Boogie Woogie Baby,” “Freight Train Boogie” and “Hillbilly Boogie” by The Delmore Brothers, featuring harmonica player Wayne Raney, were typical up-tempo recordings, heavily influenced by the blues, by this highly influential country music duo, who had first recorded in 1931. One of their most influential records, “Blues Stay Away From Me”, was recorded in 1949.


“Move It On Over” by Hank Williams, which used a similar melody to Jim Jackson’s 1927 “Kansas City Blues” and which was itself used in “Rock Around The Clock”.

“Ten Gallon Boogie” and other tracks by Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys presage “Rock Around the Clock.” Their vocals were standard pop/western, but their arrangements and melodies, opening with aggressive accordion chords linked it to Bill Haley and the Comets’ Johnny Grande who played that instrument in the Comets’ early work as a Western Swing band and later playing rock on some films and touring.

“Oakie Boogie” by Jack Guthrie, a Western swing country boogie.

“Good Rocking Tonight”, in separate versions by Roy Brown and Wynonie Harris (recorded on December 28, 1947), both black artists. Brown’s original version is a jump blues that parodies gospel music, and for the first time fuses the spiritual sense of “rocking” with the secular meanings of dancing and sex. Harris’ version is much more up-beat and rhythmic, closer to rock and roll, and led to a craze for blues with “rocking” in the title. Later spiritedly covered by Elvis Presley and less spiritedly by Pat Boone.

“We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll” by Wild Bill Moore (recorded on December 18, 1947), the first commercially successful “honking” sax record, with the title as a background chant.

“I Can’t Be Satisfied” by Muddy Waters, recorded in 1947 and first released in 1948, which contains all the elements of what would soon become rock n’ roll: a bass/snare/electric guitar combo playing blues with a heavy backbeat. The single was a big hit in the Chicago area. Recorded by local record company Aristocrat, it was one of the last singles on the label before it changed its name to Chess Records, which became one of the most important players in the early development of rock n’ roll and electric blues music.


“Chicken Shack Boogie” by Amos Milburn, a piano-led boogie with references to out-of-hours drinking and cavorting, which became a huge hit.

“Rovin’ Eyes” by Bill Haley and the Four Aces of Western Swing. It is a highly overlooked song that is backed with a standard Western Swing tune called Candy and Women. This song sounds like the later Bill Haley. It has all the elements of 50’s Rock ‘n’ Roll. The song was pretty fast for its time and almost broke the boundaries of Western Swing.


“Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee” by Stick McGhee and his Buddies (recorded on February 14, 1949), an early “party” song later recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis.

“Rock And Roll” by Wild Bill Moore, actually recorded the previous year. A rocking boogie where Moore repeats throughout the song “Were going to rock and roll, we’re going to roll and rock” and ends the song with the line, “Look out mamma going to do the rock and roll.”

Another song was “Rock and Roll Blues” by Erline ‘Rock and Roll’ Harris, a female singer, with the lyrics “I’ll turn out the lights, we’ll rock and roll all night”

“We’re Gonna Rock this Joint Tonight”, also known as “Rock the Joint”, first recorded by Jimmy Preston in May 1949, is often considered a prototype rock and roll song. It was covered in 1951 by Jimmy Cavallo and in 1952 by Bill Haley and the Saddlemen; Marshall Lytle, bass player for the Comets, claims this was one of the songs that inspired Alan Freed to coin the phrase “rock and roll” to refer to the music he played.

“Saturday Night Fish Fry” by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five (recorded on August 9, 1949) was a large and influential hit. The song tells of a New Orleans fish fry that ends with a police raid and has the repeated refrain “It was rocking”.

“The Fat Man” by Fats Domino (recorded on December 10, 1949), featuring Fats on wah-wah mouth trumpet, the first of his 35 Top 40 hits. The insistent back beat of the rhythm section dominates. The song is based on “Junker’s Blues”, by Willie “Drive’em Down” Hall.

“Rock Awhile” by Goree Carter, recorded on the Freedom label in Houston, Texas. It opens with an insistent version of T-Bone Walker’s one-chord electric guitar lick, which would be made famous later by Chuck Berry on “Maybelline.”

“Rag Mop” by Johnnie Lee Wills and Deacon Anderson is a novelty tune; the lyrics are simply the title spelled out. The song is best known from its 1950 hit recording by the Ames Brothers.



“Rock Me to Sleep,” written by Benny Carter and Paul Vandervoort II and recorded by Helen Humes backed by the Marshall Royal Orchestra.

“Birmingham Bounce” by Hardrock Gunter, one of the first references to “rockin'” on the dance floor.

“(Gonna Rock and Roll) Gonna Dance All Night” by Hardrock Gunter, released after Birmingham Bounce, the main lyric stating “Gonna Rock and Roll, Gonna Dance All Night” may be the first use of the phrase “Rock and Roll” in a purely musical context.

“Hot Rod Race” performed by Arkie Shibley and His Mountain Dew Boys, highlighting the role of fast cars in teen culture.

“Sixty Minute Man” by the Dominoes (recorded on December 30, 1950). This was the first (and most explicit) big R&B hit to cross over to the pop charts, and the group itself (featuring Clyde McPhatter) appeared at many of Alan Freed’s early shows.


“How High The Moon” by Les Paul and Mary Ford (recorded on January 4, 1951), the first big hit record to use electronic “gimmicks” like overdubbing, and one of the first with an electric guitar solo.

“Rocket 88” (recorded on March 5, 1951) by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (actually Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm), and covered later in the year by Bill Haley and the Saddlemen. Both versions of this song have been declared the definitive first rock and roll record by differing authorities. Brenston’s was highly influential for its sound and lyrical content, and was a big hit. It reached #1 on the Billboard Rhythm and Blues chart on 9 June 1951 and set Sun Records on the road to success. Haley’s version was one of the first white covers of an R&B hit, and set the course of his future career. Haley ‘s version had more drive to it, and the vocals were improved..

“Boogie Woogie Blues”, recorded in New York in mid-May 1951 by Charlie Graci. Later he would add an “e” to his name and, in 1957, his original version of “Butterfly” would sell more than two million copies.


“Hound Dog” by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (recorded on August 13, 1952), a raucous R&B song recorded with Johnny Otis’ band (uncredited for contractual reasons), written by white teenagers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller..

“Rockin’ An’ Rollin'”. Recorded by Charlie Gracie in New York in 1952.


“Gee” by The Crows (recorded on February 10, 1953). This was a big hit in 1954, and is credited by rock n roll authority, Jay Warner, as being “the first Rock n Roll hit by a rock and roll group”.

“Crazy Man, Crazy” by Bill Haley and his Comets (recorded in April 1953) was the first of his recordings to make the Billboard pop chart. This was not a cover, but an original composition. Haley said he heard the phrase at high-school dances his band was playing.

“Mess Around” by Ray Charles (recorded in May 1953), one of his first hits. It was written by Ahmet Ertegn, with some lyrics riffing off of the 1929 boogie woogie classic, “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie”.


“Shake, Rattle and Roll” by Big Joe Turner (recorded on February 15, 1954), covered later by Bill Haley and his Comets. Turner’s version topped the Billboard R&B chart in June 1954. Haley’s version, which was substantially different in lyric and arrangement, actually predating the success of “Rock Around the Clock” by several months though it was recorded later. Elvis Presley’s later 1956 version combined Haley’s arrangement with Turner’s lyrics, but was not a substantial hit..

“Sh-Boom” by the Chords (recorded on March 15, 1954), and The Crew-cuts. In this case, the latter was a pale imitation. The song is considered a pioneer of the doo-wop variant.

“Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley and his Comets (recorded on April 12, 1954) was the first number one rock and roll record. This song is often credited with propelling rock into the mainstream, at least the teen mainstream. At first it had lack-luster sales but, following the success of two other Haley recordings, the aforementioned “Shake Rattle and Roll” and “Dim, Dim The Lights”, was later included in the movie Blackboard Jungle about a raucous high-school, which exposed it to a wider audience.. The song had first been recorded in late 1953 by Sonny Dae & His Knights, a novelty group led by Paschal Vennitti, whose recording had become a modest local hit at the time Haley recorded his version.

“That’s All Right (Mama)” by Elvis Presley (recorded in July 1954); this cover of Arthur Crudup’s tune was Elvis’ first single. Its b-side was a rocking version of Bill Monroe’s bluegrass song “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”, itself recognized by various rock singers as an influence on the music..

“I Got a Woman” by Ray Charles (recorded in November 1954); composed with band mate Renald Richard, and first performed while on tour with T-Bone Walker, this was not only Charles’ first really big hit, but is also widely considered to be the first soul song, combining gospel and R&B.


“Bo Diddley” by Bo Diddley (recorded on March 2, 1955)..

“Maybellene” by Chuck Berry (recorded on May 21, 1955)..

“Tutti Frutti” by Little Richard (recorded on September 14, 1955)..

“Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins (recorded 19 December 1955), including elements of rockabilly and country music. Later made more famous by Elvis Presley, Perkins’ original version was an early rock ‘n’ roll standard..


^ G. F. Wald, Shout, Sister, Shout!: The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Beacon Press, 2008).

^ a b http://www.hoyhoy.com/dawn_of_rock.htm

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y Jim Dawson and Steve Propes, What Was The First Rock’n’Roll Record, 1992, ISBN 0-571-12939-0

^ Little Wonder Records, Bubble Books, Emerson, Victor, Harper, Columbia, Waterson, Berlin and Snyder

^ Trixie Smith

^ Trail of the Hellhound: Jim Jackson

^ a b c Peter J. Silvester, A Left Hand Like God : a history of boogie-woogie piano (1989), ISBN 0-306-80359-3.

^ Gayle Dean Wardlow, Chasin’ That Devil Music, 1998

^ Press release – Roots of Rock and Roll to be honored with Blues Trail Marker

^ Yanow, Scott, “Washboard Rhythm Kings: Biography”

^ Sleevenotes to CD Let’s Get Drunk And Truck, Fabulous FABCD 253, 2003

^ Blind Roosevelt Graves and Brother

^ “Sister Rosetta” Tharpe (19151973) – Encyclopedia of Arkansas

^ Wald, Gayle, Shout, Sister, Shout!, p. 42

^ Wald, Gayle, Shout, Sister, Shout!, p. ix

^ Bob Wills

^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Nick Tosches, Unsung Heroes Of Rock’n’Roll, 1991, ISBN 0-436-53203-4

^ The Straight Dope: Who invented the term “rock ‘n’ roll”?

^ Biography: John Lee Williamson

^ The Andrews Sisters Bio

^ Helen Oakley Dance and B. B. King, Stormy Monday, p. 164

^ Dahl, Bill, T-Bone Walker: Biography

^ NPR’s Jazz Profiles: Nat “King” Cole

^ Delmore Brothers at Country Musc Hall of Fame

^ Delmore Brothers discography

^ http://www.hoyhoy.com/

^ Erline Harris

^ Goree Carter

^ Warner, Jay, American Singing Groups: A History from 1940s to Today (2006), published by Hal Leonard Corporation, at page 137

^ Lydon, Michael, Ray Charles: Man and Music, p. 95

^ Lydon, Michael, Ray Charles: Man and Music, p. 113

^ Ray Charles (inducted 1986), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame & Museum

Further reading

Dawson, Jim; & Propes, Steve (1992). What Was the First Rock Roll Record?. Faber & Faber. ISBN 0-571-12939-0.

See also

Origins of rock and roll

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll

Boogie woogie

Jump blues

Western swing


External links

When was rock’n’roll really born? by Alexis Petridis, The Guardian, April 16, 2004


Rock Before Elvis aka Morgan Wright’s HoyHoy.com – covering rock and roll’s emergence from 1948 to 1953

Categories: Lists of songs | Rock musicHidden categories: Articles needing cleanup from August 2007 | All pages needing cleanup

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