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A Birth of Rock & Roll 3

A YouTube History of Music

The Big Bang

Fifties American Rock

Group & Last Name Index to Full History:


Tracks are listed in chronological order by year, then alphabetically.

Listings do not reflect proper order by month or day: later oft precedes earlier.

Not on this page? See history tree below.



Paul Anka    Frankie Avalon

LaVern Baker    Mickey Baker    Hank Ballard    Chuck Berry    Big Bopper    Priscilla Bowman    Jackie Brenston    Lonnie Brooks    James Brown    Roy Brown    Johnny Burnette    Bobby Byrd
Sister Wynona Carr   Goree Carter    Bruce Channel    Chubby Checker    Eddie Cochran    The Comets    Sam Cooke    Floyd Cramer    Pee Wee Crayton
Dick Dale    Bobby Darin    Bo Diddley    Floyd Dixon    Fats Domino    Dr. John    Don & Dewey
Duane Eddy    Everly Brothers
Fabian    Dr. Feelgood    Freddy Fender    Fontane Sisters    John Fred    Annette Funicello
Bill Haley    Joyce Harris    Don Sugarcane Harris    Ronnie Hawkins    Roy Head    Buddy Holly    Joe Houston
Wanda Jackson    Etta James    Jan & Dean    Little Willie John
Brenda Lee    Jerry Lee Lewis    Smiley Lewis    Little Richard    Little Willie Littlefield    Trini Lopez
Guy Mitchell
Ricky Nelson
Roy Orbison
Earl Palmer    Carl Perkins    The Playboys    Elvis Presley    Jimmy Preston    Red Prysock
Marvin Rainwater    Lou Reed   Piano Red    Jiles Richardson    Jimmie Rodgers    Bobby Rydell
Magic Sam    Tommy Sands    Neil Sedaka    Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith    Warren Smith
Big Mama Thornton   The Traits    Jay Traynor    Ike Turner    Tina Turner    Conway Twitty
Ritchie Valens    Frankie Valli    The Ventures    Gene Vincent
Chuck Willis    Edgar Winter

Blueberry Hill



Featured on this page loosely in order of first recording if not record release (as possible).

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:


1938 Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith
1946 Pee Wee Crayton
1947 Roy Brown    Smiley Lewis    Earl Palmer    Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith
1948 Bill Haley    Red Prysock
1949 LaVern Baker    Sister Wynona Carr    Goree Carter    Floyd Dixon    Fontane Sisters    Joe Houston    Little Willie Littlefield    Guy Mitchell    Jimmy Preston
1950 Fats Domino    Piano Red (Dr. Feelgood)
1951 Jackie Brenston    Tommy Sands    Ike Turner    Chuck Willis
1952 Mickey Baker    Little Richard
1953 Hank Ballard    The Comets    Floyd Cramer    Big Mama Thornton    Frankie Valli
1954 Frankie Avalon    Wanda Jackson    Elvis Presley
1955 Chuck Berry    Bo Diddley    Priscilla Bowman    Eddie Cochran    Duane Eddy    Annette Funicello    Etta James    Little Willie John    Carl Perkins    Marvin Rainwater
1956 Paul Anka    James Brown    Johnny Burnette    Bobby Byrd    Bobby Darin    Don & Dewey    Everly Brothers    Don Sugarcane Harris    Buddy Holly    Brenda Lee    Jerry Lee Lewis    Roy Orbison    Jimmie Rodgers    Neil Sedaka    Warren Smith    Conway Twitty    Gene Vincent
1957 Big Bopper (Jiles Richardson)    Lonnie Brooks     Sam Cooke    Freddy Fender    Trini Lopez    Magic Sam    Ricky Nelson
1958 Fabian    John Fred & the Playboys    Joyce Harris    Ronnie Hawkins    Jan & Dean    Lou Reed    Ritchie Valens
1959 Bruce Channel   Chubby Checker    Dick Dale    Dr. John    Roy Head & the Traits    Bobby Rydell    Tina Turner    The Ventures    Edgar Winter

1940   Blueberry Hill


  This page concerns the explosion of rock & roll during the fifties, intended to index bands and musicians releasing their first recordings before 1960. There are plenty of rhythm and blues musicians listed, but for those who wonder where the rest of them are, as well as boogie woogie, doo-wop, etc., we refer you to Rock 1 (boogie woogie, jump blues, rhythm and blues), Rock 7 (contributions to rock by musicians of other musical genres) and Rock 2 (doo wop). Rock in the United Kingdom and the British invasion thereof will be found at Rock 4 and Rock 5. Sixties American rock is at Rock 6. Early rock and R&B (rhythm and blues) are highly interchangeable, the only difference being the audience for which they were intended, white or black. Not a few musicians packaged as R&B artists are mixed into this page toward greater focus on rock than audience or Billboard's chart categories.




Born in 1921 in Clinton, South Carolina, Arthur Guitar Boogie Smith [1, 2, 3, 4] planted his feet both in boogie boogie and country western, country swing in particular, also recording popular music. Boogie woogie was the southern equivalent of ragtime, important at the roots of R&B and rock. Ragtime is largely of northern influence to jazz, such as that not developed in New Orleans. Though Smith issued a bit of rockabilly in the fifties he was largely a country artist. We list him here as a forerunner to fifties rock, distinguishing him as a country western guitarist from other boogie woogie precursors to rock, being pianists, per R&B. Though there was a period mainly come the sixties when the country western base made a point of separating itself from the rock base, both genres have long been siblings even as distinct as they are. (C&W's earliest sibling was jazz, as noted per A Birth of C&W.) Smith played cornet as a youth, forming a Dixieland combo with his brothers, Ralph and Sonny which eventually shifted over to country music as Smith picked up other instruments like guitar. In 1938 when Smith was seventeen the Carolina Crackerjacks took a trip to Rock Hill to record four tracks at the Andrew Jackson Hotel. Praguefrank's dates those per September 26, 1938: 'I'm Going Back to Old Carolina' (Bluebird 8304), 'Old Santa Claus Is Leavin' Just Because' (Bluebird 8104), 'There Are No Disappointments in Heaven' (Bluebird 8376) and 'Your Soul Never Dies' (Bluebird 8376). Smith played mandolin and fiddle on those, accompanied by Sonny (guitar), Ralph (banjo) and Luke Tucker (bass). Smith otherwise began his career in radio, hiring onto WSPA in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in 1941. 1943 found Smith moving to Charlotte, NC, to work for WBT radio in its Briarhoppers band for the 'Carolina Barndance' program, likely with his Crackerjacks as well. He and his brothers joined the military per World War II, after which they returned to WBT where Smith hosted the 'Carolina Calling' program. Smith recorded his fist version of 'Guitar Boogie' (Super Disc 1004) circa September 1944 possibly in Washington DC. 45Worlds has that issued in September of '45 credited to the Rambler Trio featuring Arthur Smith. He also appeared on the flip, 'Beaty Steel Blues', by Cecil Campbell's Tennessee Ramblers. Also recorded by the Ramblers on that date were 'Each Night at Nine'/'Please Come Back to Me Daddy' (Super Disc 1005). Smith alighted at #9 on Billboard's Country chart in 1948 with 'Banjo Boogie'. That was followed in 1949 by 'Boomerang' and another version of 'Guitar Boogie' both reaching #8 [musicvf]. In 1951 WBT radio became WBTV television, the year Smith released his first LP on 10": 'Fingers on Fire'. In 1955 Smith partnered with banjo player Don Reno to record 'Feudin' Banjos', which tune was later used in the 1972 film, 'Deliverance'. Smith is otherwise best known as television host of 'The Arthur Smith Show' which ran for about thirty years. He also built a recording studio in Charlotte where he produced radio programs. Discogs has him leading or co-leading above twenty albums to 'Jumpin' Guitar' in 1985, several with the Cracker Jacks. Smith died in Charlotte on April 3, 2014, 2 days after his 93rd birthday. By which time he had copyrighted about 500 tunes. Among them were 'Mandolin Boogie' ('51), 'In Memory of Hank Williams' ('53), 'Guitar Boogie Twist' ('62), 'Philadelphia Guitar' ('63), 'Back to His Hole He Went' ('63), 'The Stuttering Song' ('63), 'I Like Lasses' ('64) and 'Flat Top Hari Kari' ('64). Smith wrote all titles below except as * = undetermined.

Arthur Smith   1948

   Guitar Boogie

Arthur Smith   1955

   Feudin' Banjos

      With Don Reno

Arthur Smith   1956

   Blue Rock*

Arthur Smith   1959

   Banjo Boogie

Arthur Smith   1963

   Guitar Hop


Birth of Rock & Roll: Arthur Smith

Arthut Guitar Boogie Smith

Source: Discogs

Birth of Rock & Roll: Pee Wee Crayton

Pee Wee Crayton

Source: Beadologie

Born Connie Curtis Crayton in Rockdale, Texas, in 1914, Pee Wee Crayton left Texas for Los Angeles in 1935, where he became employed at a shipyard. Need to escape no doubt drove him to get more serious with his guitar, forming a trio and turning professional about year 1945. That was the year Ivory Joe Hunter launched his recording career with 'Blues at Suntrise' jumping to Billboard's #3 in R&B. Hunter and his jump bands would place 16 titles onto Billboard's Top Ten to 1957, but Crayton came and left too early to participate in those. Crayton is thought to have held his first recording session with Hunter in Berkeley in early 1946 to result in Hunter's compositions, 'Seventh Street Boogie'/'Reconversion Blues' (Pacific 601, Hunter's own label). Several plates followed with Hunter into '47 when Crayton ventured upon a solo career mid-year with 'After Hours Boogie'/'Why Did You Go' (Four Star 1304), not issued until '49. Come sessions in '47 for 'Don't Ever Fall in Love'/'Pee Wee Special' (Gru-V-Tone 217), not issued until '49. Sometime in 1948 Crayton recorded: 'Blues After Hours' and 'I'm Still in Love with You' per Modern 624. 'Blues After Hours' climber to Billboard's No. 1 spot in R&B in October that year. His composition, 'Texas Hop', reached No. 5 in December. 'I Love You So' reached No. 13 in July of '49, also his own composition. Others among numerous titles written by Crayton were 'Blues Before Dawn', 'California Women', 'Dedicated to the Blues' (with Jules Taub), 'Don't Break My Heart', 'I Got News for You', 'Phone Call from My Baby', 'Win-O', et al. He issued his first of several LPs, 'Pee Wee Crayton', in 1960. His next followed a decade later: 'Things I Used to Do' ('71). Crayton performed throughout much of the States until his death on June 25 at home base in Los Angeles in 1985. He had recorded 'Early Hour Blues' in December of 1984. Among highlights in his latter career were appearances on four Big Joe Turner albums from 1975 to 1978: 'Everyday I Have the Blues', 'Nobody In Mind', 'In the Evening' and 'Have No Fear Joe Turner Is Here'. His recording of 'Stormy Monday' in '74 with Turner didn't show up until 1991 on the album 'Stormy Monday'. More Pee Wee Crayton in Blues 3.

Pee Wee Crayton   1946

   Seventh Street Boogie

      With Ivory Joe Hunter

     Composition: Ivory Joe Hunter

Pee Wee Crayton   1949

   Texas Hop

     Composition: Pee Wee Crayton

Pee Wee Crayton   1950

   Huckle Boogie

     Composition: Pee Wee Crayton

Pee Wee Crayton   1951

   Poppa Stoppa

     Composition: Pee Wee Crayton

Pee Wee Crayton   1954

   Do Unto Others

     Composition: Dave Bartholomew

Pee Wee Crayton   1955

   I Need Your Love

     Composition: Esther Crayton

Pee Wee Crayton   1971

   Things I Used to Do




Not a few on this page have been credited with the elusive first rock n roll song, as it's something arbitrary as to where to begin a "proper" history of rock and roll. It was 1954 that disc jockeys began to commonly use the term "rock and roll" to sell rhythm and blues to white audiences. One could conceivably start with others in Rock and Roll Development, blues guitarists Arthur Crudup or T-Bone Walker, say. Indeed, one could go as far back as Tampa Red for deep roots. Some cite Fats Domino's 'The Fat Man', others Jimmy Preston's 'Rock This Joint', yet others 'Rocket 88' by Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner. Among several earlier good contenders in the forties we find R&B vocalist, Roy Brown, as apt as any. After all, among his first recordings in 1947 was 'Good Rockin' Tonight' (covered by Wynonie Harris in 1948). Backed by 'Lolly Pop Mama', that had been preceded by 'Deep Sea Diver'/'Bye Baby Bye' (Gold Star 636). Born in 1920 or 1925 in Linder, Louisiana, Brown left home for Los Angeles in the forties where he held 18 matches as a professional boxer [see Marion 1, 2]. He did some gigs in L.A. before some restless traveling about as a vocalist, first back to Shreveport, Louisiana, then Houston, then Galveston where he sang 'Good Rockin' Tonight' on radio. Come his first session in Houston per above in '47. Brown followed that the same year with 'Rockin' at Midnight'. 'Good Rockin' Tonight' was no doubt a nice surprise to Brown when it flew to #13 on Billboard's R&B. But 'Long About Midnight' rose to #1 four months later in October. Fourteen of Brown's titles penetrated the Top Ten in the next nine years. 'Hard Luck Blues' became another #1 title in 1950. His last Top Ten was 'Let the Four Winds Blow' in 1957 at #5. Brown's titles were largely composed by himself, a few of the numerous in alphabetical being: 'Beautician Blues', 'Boogie at Midnight', 'Lolly Pop Mama', 'Long About Midnight', 'Love Don't Love Nobody', 'Mighty, Mighty Man', 'Miss Fanny Brown' and 'Train Time Blues'. Songwriting credits to other of his recordings at 45Worlds, 45Cat, Allmusic and Discogs. Brown died of heart attack in 1981 in California, only 55 years of age. More concerning Roy Brown in Blues 4.

Roy Brown   1947

   Good Rockin' Tonight

       Composition: Roy Brown

   Rockin' at Midnight

       Composition: Roy Brown

Roy Brown   1951

   Big Town

       Composition: Roy Brown

Roy Brown   1957

   Let the Four Winds Blow

       Composition: Dave Bartholomew/Fats Domino

Roy Brown   1958

   Hip Shakin' Baby

       Composition: Dorsey Burnette/Johnny Burnette


Birth of Rock and Roll: Roy Brown

Roy Brown   1979

Source: Blues Tour Database

  Born Overton Amos Lemons in 1913 in DeQuincy, Louisiana, Smiley Lewis was another early rocker promoted as rhythm and blues for the black audience. He hopped a freight train as a teenager, taking him to New Orleans where he adopted the name "Lewis," being that of those with whom he found boarding. Missing front teeth, he began using the name "Smiling Lewis" upon beginning his professional career in the clubs of the French Quarter and tan bars of the 7th Ward. Among his early professional associations were pianist, Isidore Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Ernest Mollier. His debut recordings occurred in 1947 for DeLuxe Records, after which he began collaborating with Dave Bartholomew. In 1965 Lewis was diagnosed with stomach cancer, of which he died the following year in October, only 53 years of age.

Smiley Lewis   1947

   Here Comes Smiley

   Turn On Your Volume

Smiley Lewis   1950


Smiley Lewis   1952

   Lillie Mae

Smiley Lewis   1953

   Blue Monday

Smiley Lewis   1955

   I Hear You Knockin'

Smiley Lewis   1956

   Shame Shame Shame

Smiley Lewis   1957

   Go On Fool

Smiley Lewis   1958

   One Night of Sin


Birth of Rock and Roll: Smiley Lewis

Smiley Lewis

Source: James'z Rockin' Blues

Birth of Rock and Roll: Earl Palmer

Earl Palmer

Source: Mardis Gras Gumbo

Among the more celebrated drummers during the rock n roll explosion of the fifties was Earl Palmer. Born in 1924 in New Orleans, Palmer first worked professionally as a tap dancer with his mother and aunt on the vaudeville circuit. He also toured with Ida Cox early in his career. Following World War II, during which time he served in Europe, he joined trumpeter/vocalist, Dave Bartholomew's, outfit. Reconnecting with Bartholomew after the service, it was with Bartholomew's ensemble that Palmer made his first recordings in 1947 in New Orleans for DeLuxe: 'Stardust', ''Gumbo Blues', et al. He was yet with Palmer in 1949 for such as 'Mr. Fool' and 'Girl Town'. As a session player with thousands of dates, Palmer is said to have backed more tracks than any other other drummer, with a bride's trail of major names included, be it jazz, R&B or rock n roll. Wikipedia mentions Palmer attending 450 sessions in 1967 alone. Thus this tiny space can leave but a speckled account of his career. While with Bartholomew in New Orleans Palmer backed Chubby Hip-Shakin' Newsome in January of '49 on 'Close to Train Time' and 'New Orleans Lover Man'. They began backing who would become the larger name, Fats Domino, on December 10, 1949, appearing on Domino's first recordings, 'The Fat Man' and 'She's My Baby'. On April 8 of 1950 Bartholomew, Domino and Palmer supported Big Joe Turner on such as ''Story to Tell' and 'Lucille'. Others Palmer backed during his New Orleans period with Bartholomew were Lloyd Price ('Lawdy Miss Clawdy' 1952) and Smiley Lewis ('I Hear You Knocking' 1955). Among Palmer's last tracks with Bartholomew in New Orleans was 'Loving You' in 1956, after which Palmer left New Orleans for Los Angeles to become a session player. He would see Bartholomew again in Los Angeles in 1958 for 'Button Holes'. Lord's disco shows Palmer's first session in Los Angeles in March of 1956 with Meade Lux Lewis on piano and Red Callender on bass for the album, 'Barrel House Piano'. Among titles by Little Richard to which Palmer contributed were 'Long Tall Sally', 'Lucille' and 'Tutti Frutti', those issued in 1957, the same year he issued his two-part 'Johnnie's House Party' on Aladdin with his Party Rockers and the Jayhawks. Palmer backed Ritchie Valens on 'La Bamba' for issue in 1958, the same year he released his two-part 'Drum Village' on Aladdin with his Ten Pieces Rockin' Band. Among numerous others Palmer sided in the latter fifties were Don Sugarcane Harris, T-Bone Walker, Earl Bostic and Jimmy Witherspoon. Palmer is the drummer on the theme song to the television cartoon series, 'The Flintstones', which ran from 1960 to 1966. He released his name albums 'Drumville!' in 1961 and 'Percolator Twist' in 1962. 1965 saw Palmer on the Righteous Brothers' 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'. 1969 found him on Tina Turner's 'River Deep Mountain High'. Among scores of others Palmer backed in the sixties were Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Marion Montgomery, Neal Hefti and Nancy Wilson. During the seventies Palmer appeared on Bonnie Raitt's 'Takin' My Time' ('73), Tim Buckley's 'Look at the Fool' ('74) and Tom Waits' 'Blue Valentine' ('78). Among others who employed Palmer durng his latter career were Randy Newman, Little Feat and Elvis Costello. 1986 found Palmer's trio of Karen Hernandez (piano) and Ernie McDaniels (bass) recording 'Lullaby of Birdland' for the soundtrack to 'The Fabulous Baker Boys'. 1996 saw him participating on titles per Betty Bryant's 'Come Laugh With Me'. Palmer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He died in Banning, California, on September 19, 2008.

Earl Palmer   1947

   Bum Mae

      With Dave Bartholomew

   She's Got Great Big Eyes

      With Dave Bartholomew

Earl Palmer   1950

   The Fat Man

      With Fats Domino

Earl Palmer   1952

   Lawdy Miss Clawdy

      With Lloyd Price

   Lawdy Miss Clawdy

      With Lloyd Price

Earl Palmer   1953


      With Professor Longhair

Earl Palmer   1955

   Tutti Frutti

      With Little Richard

Earl Palmer   1956

   Blueberry Hill

      With Fats Domino

   Long Tall Sally

      With Little Richard

Earl Palmer   1957

   I'm Walkin'

      With Fats Domino


      With Little Richard

   You Send Me

      With Sam Cooke

Earl Palmer   1958

   Rockin' Robin

      With Bobby Day

Earl Palmer   1961

   Let The Good Times Roll

   New Orleans Medley

   One Mint Julip


   Teen Beat

   Till I Kissed You

    Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

Earl Palmer   1964

   La Mamba

      With Ritchie Valens

Earl Palmer   1965

   You've Lost That Lovin Feelin'

      With the Righteous Brothers



Birth of Rock & Roll: Bill Haley

Bill Haley

Source: Teen Music (Tycobka)

Bill Haley was born William John Clifton Haley in Highland Park, Michigan in 1925. Some think if Elvis Presley wasn't the King of Rock and Roll it would be Bill Haley. He personifies the the shift of country western to rock n roll. Haley's first professional performances were at auctions at age thirteen, paid $1 a night. His first record releases were in with his country western band, the Four Aces of Western Swing, in 1948 (''Four Leaf Clover Blues'/'Too Many Parties And Too Many Pals'') and 1949 ('Candy Kisses/Tennessee Border'). He also recorded 'Stand Up And Be Counted'/'Loveless Blues' in 1949 as Johnny Clifton & His String Band. Haley first recorded with his country western band, the Saddlemen, in 1950, among those titles, 'Deal Me a Hand'/'Ten Gallon Stetson' and 'I'm Gonna Dry Ev'ry Tear With a Kiss'/'Why Do I Cry Over You?'. In 1951 the group issued 'Green Tree Boogie'/'Deep Down in My Heart' and 'I'm Crying'/'Pretty Baby' among others. 1952 saw the Saddlemen release 'Juke Box Cannon Ball'/'Sundown Boogie' and 'Icy Heart'/'Rock the Joint' with yet other tracks that year. None of Haley's recordings with the Saddlemen did much to advance his career, which problem Haley determined to be the Saddlemen's country western image. So he changed the name of his group to the Comets and realigned its image along the emerging rock vein, indeed, at its vanguard for a white man. The strategy worked, 'Crazy Man, Crazy', released in 1953. 'Rock Around the Clock' was released in May of 1954. The Comets appeared on the 'Milton Berle Show' in May of 1955, then the 'Ed Sullivan' Show in August. The group last performed in Europe in 1979 for Queen Elizabeth II. Haley performed with one configuration or another of the Comets (more than 100 members over the years) until his death in 1981. The official cause was given as heart attack, but Haley was enduring a brain tumor as well (which others believe to have been fabricated to disguise a drinking problem). The Comets were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Bill Haley   1948

   Sunday Down In Tennessee

    With the 4 Aces of Western Swing

Bill Haley   1949

   Loveless Blues

     As Johnny Clifton & His String Band

   Stand Up and Be Counted

     As Johnny Clifton & His String Band

   Wreck On The Highway

    With the 4 Aces of Western Swing

Bill Haley & the Saddle Men   1950

   Deal Me a Hand

   I'm Gonna Dry Ev'ry Tear With a Kiss

   I'm Not to Blame

   Ten Gallon Stetson

Bill Haley & the Saddle Men   1951

   Green Tree Boogie

   Pretty Baby

   Rocket 88

    Original composition: Brenston/Turner

Bill Haley & the Saddle Men   1952

   Sundown Boogie

Bill Haley & the Comets   1953

    Crazy Man, Crazy

      Filmed live 

    Crazy Man, Crazy

         Studio version 

Bill Haley & the Comets   1955

   Rip It Up

      Filmed live

   Rock Around the Clock

      'Ted Steel Show' 

  Rock Around the Clock

      Studio version 

Bill Haley & the Comets   1956

   Goofin' Around

      Film: 'Don't Knock The Rock'

   Razzle Dazzle

     Film: 'Rock Around the Clock'

   Rock Around the Clock

     Live on the 'Alan Freed Show' 

Bill Haley & the Comets   1968

   Shake, Rattle and Roll



Birth of Rock & Roll: Red Prysock

Red Prysock with Tiny Grimes

Source: Be Bop Wino

Born in 1926 in Greensboro, North Carolina, tenor saxophonist Red Prysock (Wilburt Prysock) was the elder brother of popular singer, Arthur Prysock. Like not a few on this page, Prysock was a rocker marketed as rhythm and blues. Among the earlier bands with which he played was Tiny Grimes'. Lord's disco estimates Prysock with Grimes in NYC in latter 1947 for 'Jackie's Dance' and 'Blues for Garroway', those for Caracol. Grimes would be a major figure in Prysock's career, they to work with one another for several years. Their next session was on August 1 of 1948 for such as 'Annie Laurie' and 'Midnight Special'. Among their numerous sessions was with Grimes' Rockin' Highlanders in Philadelphia in 1950 for 'Frankie and Johnny Boogie' and 'Flying Saucer Boogie', etc.. Lord's disco has Prysock working for Grimes to as late as a quintet in NYC on May 24, 1954, for 'Frivolous Sal' and 'Showboat Mambo'. While with Grimes Prysock doubled up with Tiny Bradshaw, first joining that band for tracks on January 16, 1951: 'Bradshaw Boogie', 'Two Dry Bones', etc.. Prysock hung with Bradshaw for a couple years, holding a last session in Cincinnati in January 13 of 1953 for such as 'Off and On' and 'Heavy Juice'. Others he supported during that period were JB Summers, Lonnie Johnson, Roy Milton. and Bull Moose Jackson. Prysock's first name issues were recorded in January of 1952 for Red Robin: 'Wiggles', 'Hard Rock', 'Jackpot', etc.. A next session on March 6 of 1954 wrought 'Jump Red Jump'/'Body and Soul' and 'Happy Feet'/'Blow Your Horn' for Mercury. During the sixties he oft played with his brother, Arthur. Albums recorded with Arthur in the eighties were 'A Rockin' Good Way' ('85), 'This Guy's In Love With You' ('86)and 'Today's Love Songs, Tomorrow's Blues' ('87). Prysock died of heart attack in 1993 in Chicago.

Red Prysock   1948

   Annie Laurie

      With Tiny Grimes

   Midnight Special

      With Tiny Grimes

   Nightmare Blues

      With Tiny Grimes

Red Prysock   1951


      With Tiny Bradshaw Vocal: Lonnie Johnson

   Me And My Crazy Self

      With Tiny Bradshaw Vocal: Lonnie Johnson

   My Mother's Eyes

   Seven Long Days

      With Tiny Bradshaw Vocal: Lonnie Johnson

   The Train Kept a Rollin'

Red Prysock   1953

   Free For All

   Hard Rock

Red Prysock   1954

   Heavy Juice

   Blow Your Horn

   Body and Soul

   The Gypsy

      With Tiny Bradshaw

   Happy Feet

Red Prysock   1955

   Jump Red Jump

   Rock n' Roll


Red Prysock   1956

   Finger Tips

   Fruit Boots

   Plaid Laces

      With Roy Milton

   Rock n' Roll Party

Red Prysock   1957

   Purple Wail

Red Prysock   1961

   Charleston Twist

Red Prysock   1962

   Harem Girl

   Hide Away

Red Prysock   1964

   Wild Cat



Birth of Rock & Roll: LaVern Baker

LaVern Baker

Source: Deep Southern Soul

R&B singer LaVern Baker was born in 1949 in Chicago. She was working at clubs in Chicago when she first recorded as Little Miss Sharecropper in 1949 for RCA Victor: 'Easy Baby' and 'I Wonder Baby'. She recorded as Bea Baker in 1951 for Okeh Records. She settled on LaVern Baker in 1952, releasing her first titles as such for Atlantic in 1953: 'Soul On Fire'/'How Can You Leave A Man Like This'. Baker did well in her career into the sixties. But by the time of her release of the album, 'Let Me Belong to You', in 1970 she'd disappeared to the Philippines. Visiting there on a USO tour, she'd became ill with pneumonia contracted in Vietnam. While recovering at the Subic Bay naval station she decided to stay there to manage the Marine NCO Club until 1988. Returning to the States, she began performing on soundtracks and worked on Broadway. 1990 found her the recipient of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award, followed in 1991 by induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Having issued the album, 'Live In Hollywood', in 1991, she followed that with 'Woke Up This Morning' in '92. 1994 was a shocking year for Baker, she having both legs amputated due to diabetes. She yet continued to perform from a wheelchair, releasing her last recording in 1995: 'Jump Into the Fire' on the CD, 'For the Love of Harry', a tribute to Harry Nilsson. She died on March 10, 1997, in Queens.

LaVern Baker   1951

   I Want a Lavander Cadillac

      As Bea Baker

   I Want to Rock

      As Little Miss Sharecropper

LaVern Baker   1953

   Soul On Fire

LaVern Baker   1955

   Tweedlee Dee

LaVern Baker   1956


   Tra La La

    Filmed live

LaVern Baker   1957

   Humpty Dumpty Heart


   St. Louis Blues

   Whipper Snapper

LaVern Baker   1958

   Voodoo Voodoo

LaVern Baker   1962

   See See Rider

LaVern Baker   1968

   Batman to the Rescue


  Born in 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio, contralto vocalist, Sister Wynona Carr, put together a unique blend of Gospel and Rock, her first group a gospel ensemble of five girls formed about 1945 called the Carr Sisters. Doing most of her own composing, she was a touch peripheral to Black Gospel genre (: Martha Bass) that was concerned with evangelism via the traditional gospel music of old time religion. Carr got "Sister" appended to her name by Art Rupe who had founded Specialty Records in Los Angeles in 1946. His notion was to shape Carr into a rival to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, preceding her by about a decade. She issued her debut recordings for Specialty in 1949: 'Each Day' and 'Lord Jesus' with the Austin McCoy Combo. The same year she issued 'I Want to Go to Heaven and Rest' with 'I Know That He Knows'. 1950 saw duets with Brother Joe May and Donald Thomas. She began shifting to R&B and Rock n Roll in the fifties, but tuberculosis in the latter part of that decade put her career with Specialty to an end in 1959. Two years later she acquired a contract with Frank Sinatra's label, Reprise Records. No matter what she'd have done Carr could easily have made a major name of herself but poor health. She's thought to have retired to Cleveland in the sixties, falling into obscurity, depression said to be a complementary torment until her death in May 1976.

Wynona Carr   1949

   Each Day

Wynona Carr   1954

   Operator Operator

Wynona Carr   1955

   The Ball Game

   Ding Dong Daddy

    Not released until 1985 

Wynona Carr   1956

  Jump Jack Jump

   Nursery Rhyme Rock

   Please, Mr. Jailer

   Should I Ever Love Again


Birth of Rock & Roll: Wynona Carr

Sister Wynona Carr

Source: Cross Rhythms

Jump blues and R&B guitarist, Goree Carter, was born in 1930 in Houston. He put together a band called the Hepcats with which he grooved his first vinyl for Freedom Records in 1949. (His first issue, 'Sweet Ole Woman Blues', was also Freedom's debut product.) Because the forging adage, "Strike while it's hot," is largely true, Carter's career may have been put to en end upon being drafted into the Army in 1950, serving in Korea. It was just the derail that Carter couldn't spike together again. Returning to Houston in 1951, he recorded for a number of labels, meanwhile working at a rice mill, until his last release in 1954. He continued working at said rice mill for decades while performing on occasion in Houston (making an appearance with BB King), his last appearance said to be in 1970. Carter died in Houston in 1990. 

Goree Carter   1949

   Rock Awhile

   She's Just Old Fashioned

   Sweet Old Woman Blues

Goree Carter   1954

   Every Dog Has His Day


Birth of Rock & Roll: Goree Carter

Goree Carter

Source: Rock Before Elvis


Birth of Rock & Roll: Floyd Dixon

Floyd Dixon

Source: Past Blues

Rhythm Jay Riggins, Jr. in 1929 in Marshall, Texas (home of boogie woogie), pianist, Floyd Dixon (aka Mr. Magnificent), picked up piano as a child, exposed to all variety of music. He got moved to Los Angeles with family when he was about 13. Dixon might have taken any of a variety of paths upon graduating from high school: golf, hotel management, football [*]. He also recorded 'Dallas Blues' (Hart Wand) around that time ('47) for Supreme Records. That wasn't issued, but the next year he hooked up with pianist and mentor, Charles Brown, resulting in his membership in the Brown Buddies run by Eddie Williams and his first issues with that group in 1949: 'Houston Jump'/'Broken Hearted' (Swing Time 261) and 'You Need Me Now'/'Worried' (Swing Time 287). Striking out on his own in 1949, among titles recorded that year was 'Dallas Blues' (Wand) again, that by accident, not knowing an audition at Modern Records was being taped. Modern liked what he'd already done, payed him for his time, then bought his membership in the musician's union [*]. This time the song got issued to the tune of #10 on Billboard's R&B. Dixon joined the Top Ten again in 1950 at #8 with his composition, 'Sad Journey Blues'. He was with Johnny Moore and his Three Blazers (replacing Charles Brown) for #4 in 1951 per 'Telephone Blues'. He followed that with 'Call Operator 210' in 1952 to alight at #4, that also written by him. Though Dixon was supposed to retire to Paris, Texas, in the early seventies he revived his career in 1975 with a tour to Europe resulting in 'Live in Sweden'. He continued to tour, recording sporadically for a period, until his death of kidney failure in 2006. Songwriting credits to Dixon's early 78s and 45s. More Dixon in A Birth of the Blues 4.

Floyd Dixon   1949

   Doin' the Town

      Composition: Jules Taub

   That'll Get It

      Composition: Floyd Dixon

   Red Cherries

      Composition: Floyd Dixon

Floyd Dixon   1952

   Wine Wine Wine

      Composition: Floyd Dixon/Maxwell Davis

   Hey Bartender

      Composition: Dossie Terry

Floyd Dixon   1954

   Hole In the Wall

      Composition: Floyd Dixon

Floyd Dixon   1996

   Route 66

      Live performance

      Composition: Bobby Troup

Floyd Dixon   2006

   Hey Bartender

      Live performance

      Composition: Dossie Terry



Birth of Rock & Roll: Fontane Sisters

Fontane Sisters

Photo: James J. Kreigsmann

Source: Wikipedia

The Fontane Sisters released their first recordings with Perry Como in 1949 (about the last entertainer with whom one might associate rock n roll). The Fontane ensemble began as a family trio consisting of Bea, Marge and Frank Rosse on guitar. Upon their first successful audition for NBC in New York in 1944 Frank was drafted into the Army and killed in action during World War II. He was replaced by younger sister, Geri, by then graduated from high school. In 1948 they were featured on Como's 'The Chesterfield Supper Club' radio and television program. Their first vinyl with Como was issued the next year by RCA: 'A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes' with 'Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo'. Their first recording apart from Como was also in 1949 that December: 'Fairy Tales' with 'The Cinderella Work Song', for 1950 release. The Sisters' 1954 move to Dot Records carried a big payload, they releasing 18 songs that charted that year, ten of them in the Top 40. 'Hearts of Stone' alone sold more than a million copies. The Fontane Sisters dissolved in 1961 due to Geri becoming pregnant. The were yet under contract with Dot, however, their last releases made in 1963: the singles 'Tips of My Fingers' and 'Summertime Love', and the album, 'Tips of My Fingers'. By some time in 1964 all three Sisters were married with resolve to live private lives. All three of them have since died, Geri in 1993, Bea in 2002 and Marge in 2003.

Fontane Sisters   1949

   'A' You're Adorable

      With Perry Como


     With Perry Como

   A Dreamer's Holiday

     With Perry Como

Fontane Sisters   1954

   Happy Days and Lonely Nights

   Hearts of Stone

Fontane Sisters   1955


   Daddy O

   Most Of All

   Rock Love


Fontane Sisters   1956

   Please Don't Leave Me


Fontane Sisters   1963

   Summertime Love

    Recorded 1957 



Birth of Rock & Roll: Joe Houston

Joe Houston

Photo: Tom Beetz

Source: You Found That Eastside Sound


Joe Houston, tenor saxophone, was born in Austin in 1926. He began his professional career in 1941 upon a sax player in the band of King Kolax not showing up at a show in (presumably) Austin. He then toured with shouter, Gatemouth Moore, then with Amos Milburn. In 1949 Houston joined Big Joe Turner's outfit in Baton Rouge, making his first recordings with Turner for the Rouge label. Released that year were 'Wish I Had A Dollar'/'Fuzzy Wuzzy Honey'. On Turner's advice Houston went to Houston the same year to record his first name jump blues issues for release in 1950, thought to be 'It's Really Wee Wee Hours'/'Way Cross Mama' and 'Jumpin' the Blues'/'Your Little Girl Is Gone', with vocals by Julius Stewart on 'Jumpin' the Blues'. Houston made Los Angeles home base in 1952 where he formed the Rockets, recording and touring with that band. During the nineties into the new millennium Houston performed with his band, the Defrosterz, recording with that band and touring until 2005 when he endured a stroke. Houston remains retired as of this writing.

Joe Houston   1949

   Fuzzy Wuzzy Honey

    With Big Joe Turner 

   Wish I Had a Dollar

    With Big Joe Turner 

Joe Houston   1950

   It's Really Wee Wee Hours

   Jumpin' the Blues

   Way Cross Mama

   Your Little Girl Is Gone

Joe Houston   1951

   Blow Joe Blow

Joe Houston   1952

   Worry, Worry, Worry

Joe Houston   1954

   Way Out/All Night Long

Joe Houston   1956

   Shuckin' and Ajivin'



Boogie woogie was vital in the development of rock n roll. It was the southern equivalent of ragtime, the latter out of which jazz developed. Boogie woogie and R&B pianist Little Willie Littlefield was born in El Campo, Texas, in 1931, but was raised in Houston. His first recordings were made in late 1948 with Eddie Henry who had his own record label. Six of those eight tracks were released in 1949: 'Little Willie's Boogie'/'My Best Wishes', 'Chicago Bound'/'What's The Use' and 'Boogie Woogie Play Girl'/'Swanee River'. He also issued 'Littlefield Boogie' in 1949 for Freedom Records on a disc shared with Goree Carter's 'Sweet Ole Woman's Blues' on B side. Eight more titles were issued later in '49 for the Modern label. His enormously popular 'Kansas City' was first released as 'K C Loving' in 1952. Some call it rhythm and blues. Some call it rock n roll. Same thing. Littlefield made San Francisco his base of operations in the latter fifties where he remained quite popular as his national career began wilt. He remained quite popular on the West Coast. In the latter seventies he toured Europe and decided to move to the Netherlands. He made a number of recordings during that later period, but ceased touring in 2000. After an hiatus of five years, spent fishing for herring in Holland, he began touring again in 2005. Littlefield died of cancer at his home in Voorthuizen, Netherlands, in 2013.

Little Willie Littlefield   1949

   Boogie Woogie Playgirl

   Little Willie's Boogie

   My Best Wishes

   Swanee River

Little Willie Littlefield   1952

   K C Loving

   Ruby Ruby

Little Willie Littlefield   1959

   Kansas City

   The Midnight Hour Was Shining


Birth of Rock & Roll: Little Willie Littlefield

Little Willie Littlefield

Source: Washington Post

Birth of Rock & Roll: Guy Mitchell

Guy Mitchell

Source: HWOF

Born Albert George Cernik in 1927 in Detroit, popular singer Guy Mitchell had a brief career in rock n' roll, he otherwise a vocalist of the popular climate. Mitchell began his life as an entertainer at age eleven, signing on with Warner Brothers for grooming as a film star. He also sang for KFWB in Los Angeles soon after. Among his first pro gigs upon graduating from high school was with country musician, Dude Martin, in San Francisco. Mitchell first scratched wax under his birth name, Al Cernik, in 1948 with the Carmen Camarillo Orchestra, appearing on 'Dream Girl', 'Encore, Cherie', 'Evelyn', 'I Go In When the Moon Comes Out' and 'Ah, But It Happens', all for Decca Records and none found at YouTube. In 1949 Mitchell recorded several tracks as Al Grant for the King label, among them: 'I Do I Do I Do', 'Cabaret', 'This Day Is Mine' and 'Lover's Gold'. It was Mitch Miller who changed Mitchell's name to Guy Mitchell in 1950. Of several songs Mitchell placed on Billboard's Top Ten were two reaching the #1 spot: 'Singing the Blues' ('56) and 'Heartaches by the Number' ('59). Married thrice, Mitchell died on July 1, 1999, from complications arising from surgery for cancer. Other tunes by Guy Mitchell will be found in Modern Jazz Song.

Guy Mitchell   1956

   Crazy With Love

   Singing the Blues

Guy Mitchell   1957

   Singing the Blues

      'Ed Sullivan Show'


Guy Mitchell   1958

   Sweet Stuff

Guy Mitchell   1959

   Heartaches By the Number



Birth of Rock & Roll: Jimmy Preston

Jimmy Preston

Source: Be Bop Wino


Sax player, Jimmy Preston, was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, in 1913. He had among the briefest careers in music while at once influential. He began recording with his Prestonians in 1949, releasing 'Rock the Joint' with 'Do the Bump'. Many are fond to cite 'Rock the Joint' as the first rock n roll song. Notable in 1950 was 'Oh Babe'. Preston abruptly dropped out of the music industry in 1952, joining the ministry. He died in December of 1984, his time spent as a professional musician but a blink of a blink.

Jimmy Preston   1949

   Do the Bump

   Hucklebuck Dadd

   Let's Hang Out Tonight

   Rock the Joint

Jimmy Preston   1950

   Oh Babe



Birth of Rock & Roll: Fats Domino

Fats Domino

Source: Dance to the Sixties

Fats Domino was born in 1928 in New Orleans. He joined his first band as a piano player in 1947, Billy Diamond's Solid Senders. He made his first rhythm and blues recording, 'The Fat Man', in December 1949 for 1950 release with 'Detroit City Blues'. In 1955 Domino released his initial album, 'Carry On Rockin'. He released 'Blueberry Hill' (composed many years earlier by Al Lewis and Vincent Rose) in 1956, which some consider, could one choose, to be the quintessential rock and roll song. At any rate, it sold over a million copies in a couple of years. (At the bottom of this page are links to renditions of ‘Blueberry Hill’ by various musicians spanning seventy years. Jazz bandleader Sammy Kaye was the first to record the song in 1940.) From that point onward "Fats Domino" became a household word, among the preeminent R&B artists for decades to come, nigh no one in the civilized world not acquainted with his name. He toured until 1995. In 1998 President Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts (chosen by the National Endowment for the Arts). In 2004 'Rolling Stone' named him No. 25 on their list of the '100 Greatest Artists of All Time'. Having lived largely in New Orleans, Domino lost everything during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Unable to evacuate due to his ill wife, Rosemary, they were rescued by the Coast Guard by helicopter. Domino is retired in New Orleans as of this writing.

Fats Domino   1950

   The Fat Man

Fats Domino   1955

   Ain't That a Shame

   Poor Me

Fats Domino   1956

   Blueberry Hill

Fats Domino   1959

   I'm Ready

Fats Domino   1960

   My Girl Josephine

Fats Domino   1961

   Let the Four Winds Blow

Fats Domino   1985

   Blueberry Hill

      Filmed liv


  Piano Red was born William Lee Perryman in Hampton, Georgia, in 1911. He actually first recorded 1936 with Blind Willie McTell as Piano Red. But those tracks were never released, after which he pursued a trade as an upholsterer. Red didn't record again until 1950, age 39, but he came out decidedly rocking. Among his first releases that year were 'Rockin' with Red' and 'Red's Boogie'. During the fifties Red had his own radio show with WGST and WAOK in Atlanta: 'The Piano Red Show', broadcasting from a shack in his backyard. That would become 'The Dr. Feelgood Show'. Red's first release as Dr. Feelgood was in 1962: 'Doctor Feel-Good' with 'Mister Moonlight'. Feelgood began touring Europe extensively, later including jazz festivals, but the doctor didn't make the public feel so good as Piano Red had. As his career faded he began performing locally in Atlanta, notably Muhlenbrink's Saloon until its closing in 1979, then The Excelsior Mill as of 1981. In 1985 he released 'Yo Yo' with country musician, Danny Shirley. He died of cancer in July of 1985 in Decatur, Georgia.

Piano Red   1950

   Rockin' With Red

Piano Red   1951

   Diggin' the Boogie

Piano Red   1955

   Jump Man Jump

   Pay It No Mind

Piano Red   1956

   I'm Nobody's Fool


Birth of Rock & Roll: Dr. Feelgood (Piano Red)

Piano Red (Doctor Feelgood)

Source: Last FM


Jackie Brenston was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1930. He began his recording career with Ike Turner and the much disputed 'Rocket 88'. Chess Records released the song on two singles, one crediting Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, the other Ike Turner and his Rhythm Kings. Nor is it clear who wrote the song, only that its inspiration was Jimmy Liggins' 'Cadillac Boogie'. There is moot consensus that Brenston wrote it to Turner's credit. Our best guess is that it was a collaboration between Brenston and Turner in one way or another. Be as may, we've placed 'Rocket 88' under Ike Turner, lower on this page. Brenston and Turner soon parted ways, after which Brenston worked in the band of Lowell Fulson. He began working with Turner again in 1955, though barred from singing 'Rocket 88'. Brenston's last recordings took place with Earl Hooker in 1963: 'Want You to Want Me' and 'Down In My Heart'. He thereafter drove a truck while performing locally, dying in Memphis of heart attack in 1979.

Jackie Brenston   1951

   My Real Gone Rocket

Jackie Brenston   1952

   Blues Got Me Again


Birth of Rock & Roll: Jackie Brenston

Jackie Brenston

Source: Naver

Birth of Rock & Roll: Tommy Sands

Tommy Sands

Photo: Frank Carroll/NBC

Source: Music Master Oldies


Tommy Sands, was among the first of rock and roll's "teen idols." He was born in Chicago in 1937 some score years before teenage girls began tacking his visage to their bedroom walls. He was in a band in high school that performed on radio and at county fairs. Moving to Houston with his mother in 1951, Sands issued his first recordings that year as Little Tommie Sands with Freedom Records: 'Love Pains' and 'Syrup Soppin' Blues'. His first release as Tommy Sands was 'Love Pains' in 1953 with 'Transfer' for RCA. Sands had radically changed his country style per 'Love Pains' by the time he cut his first album in 1957, titled 'Steady Date'. That's the year he broke out of the gate, beginning to appear on television the next year, as well as in films (such as 'Sing, Boy, Sing' in 1958), Sand's second career. But Sands profession as either an actor or musician would be largely over in about another decade. His marriage to Nancy Sinatra in 1960 ended in 1965. He appeared in the film, 'The Violent Ones' in 1967 and an episode of 'Hawaii Five-O' in 1968. He released the album, 'Seasons In The Sun', in 1969. By the early seventies he was living in Honolulu where he would own a nightclub and clothing business. Sands is said to yet perform, his most recent album, 'Steady Date', released in 2007.

Little Tommie Sands   1951

   Love Pains

Tommy Sands   1957

   Blue Velvet

   Teenage Crush

Tommy Sands   1958

   Soda Pop Pop

   The Worryin' Kind

Tommy Sands   1959

   I'll Be Seeing You

   One Day Later



Birth of Rock & Roll: Ike Turner

Ike Turner

Source: Haragei

Ike Turner was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1931. He was about eight years years old when he began working for WROX radio in Clarksdale as a DJ. He learned to play boogie woogie on piano from Pinetop Perkins and taught himself to play guitar while listening to records. The Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale was host to touring musicians big and small. At some time in the forties Turner lived there and performed with them as they passed through town. Turner's first band was a high school affair called the Tophatters. Out of that band he formed the Kings of Rhythm which began to get live session airtime in 1950 at WROX and KFFA in Helena, Arkansas. As Clarksdale was a major blues hub, Turner's band also backed a number of well-known blues musicians from Robert Nighthawk to Sonny Boy Williamson II to Muddy Waters. Turner's first vinyl issue was 'Rocket 88' in 1951 in collaboration with Jackie Brenston. There has been controversy as to whether Brenston or Turner composed 'Rocket 88'. Our best guess is both one way or another. Be as may, 'Rocket 88' is one of the main contenders as the first rock and song (which we think several years too late: see Brenston). After the release of 'Rocket 88' Turner was employed by Philips and the Bihari brothers (founders of Modern label in 1945) as a session musician, A&R (artist and repertoire) scout and producer. In 1956 Turner made his band's center of operation St. Louis, Missouri. It was 1958 when he met Anna Mae Bullock (Tina Turner), she first recording with him as a backup singer that year. The pair would form the Ike & Tina Turner Revue out of the Rhythm Kings in 1960, then marry in 1962. It was during his years with Tina that Turner became a huge name nationally. In 1971 Turner founded the Bolic Sound recording studios, there recording the 1971 Ike & Tina Turner album, ''Nuff Said'. (Frank Zappa was among the larger names who would later make a number of recordings at Bolic Sound.) Though Tina separated from Turner in 1974 they continued working together until 1975. Their divorce, filed in July of '76, was finalized in 1978. Turner replaced Tina with Holly Maxwell from 1977 to 1985 (and later in 1992). Regardless of Maxwell's abilities, she only wasn't Tina and Turner saw his career decline. In 1980 Turner was arrested for cocaine possession during a SWAT raid at Bolic Sound. In 1981 Bolic Sound burnt down. He was arrested on cocaine charges three more times in 1985, '86 and '87. Who know how nice, therefore addictive, cocaine is can likely sympathize with Turner's fascination with it, but law is law and Turner went prison for it in February 1990. He was elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 while in prison. It's said that Turner, a library trustee while in jail, saved $13,000 by selling cigarettes, candy and coffee to inmates by the time of his release in September of 1991. His release also affected considerably greater assistance than most ex-convicts have at their disposal, Turner selling twenty unissued Ike & Tina Turner tracks to Esquire Records. Those funds he used to rebuild his career, which saw further major assistance in 1993 when Salt-N-Pepa released 'Shoop', as it was a sample of Turner's composition, 'I'm Blue (The Gong Gong Song)', released by the Ikettes (Tina Turner's backup singers) in 1962. As 'Shoop' reached the No. 4 position on Billboard, Turner was in position to collect half a million in royalties, relevant to which cocaine ain't all that nice, yet relevant to which, when you can buy it with pocket change, makes it all the more tempting. Turner was able to ignore cocaine until 2004. In 2007 he died of a combination of cocaine toxicity and emphysema. The word "million" shows up a lot in biographies of Ike Turner: 'Rocket 88' released in 1951 selling half a million copies, Ike & Tina Turner's release of 'A Fool in Love' in 1960 worth a million copies, their release of 'It's Gonna Work Out Fine' in 1961 also worth a million copies, and the eleven million that it's estimated Turner spent on cocaine during the fifteen years of his pre-prison years of addiction alone. (He must have shared a whole lot because there's no way that much blow can be done by one nose. Estimated by Turner at about $36,000 per day, that could feed some three dozen serious addicts round the clock.) Howsoever, Turner had been the recipient of four Grammy Awards during his career of sixteen original albums. More Ike Turner can be found under Ike & Tina Turner and Tina Turner.

Ike Turner   1951

   Rocket 88

      Piano: Ike Turner   Vocals: Jackie Brenston

Ike Turner  1958


Ike Turner  1972

   Lawdy Miss Clawdy

Ike Turner  2002

   I Want To Take You Higher

      With Audrey Madison



R&B singer Chuck Willis was born in 1928 in Atlanta. It was an Atlanta disc jockey, Zenas Sears, who saw Willis at a talent contest and got him signed up with Columbia and Okeh in NYC to release his first recordings on January 26, 1951: 'Can't You See'/'It Ain't Right to Treat Me Wrong' and 'Be Good Or Be Gone'/Let's Jump Tonight'. With Willis R&B and rock n roll came to the same thing, the only difference a matter of billing according to the checkered audience sought. Willis was a talent with which to contend in the early fifties, placing five titles in the Top Ten of the R&B from '52 to '54: 'My Story' (#2 '52), 'Don't Deceive Me' (#6 '53)', 'Going to the River' (#4 '53), 'Feel So Bad' (#8 '54) and 'You're Still My Baby' (#4 '54). He was also noted for his 1957 cover of Ma Rainey's 'C.C. Rider'. His posthumous issue, 'Just One Kiss'/'My Baby' in 1959 had been recorded during the same session on January 31, 1957. Several more sessions followed into 1958, his last thought to have been with tenor saxophonist, King Curtis, early that year for such as 'I'll Be So Glad When Your Heart Is Mine' and 'Love of Loves'. Willis died of peritonitis in 1958 at the height of his career at only thirty years of age.

Chuck Willis   1951

   Let's Jump Tonight

Chuck Willis   1952

   I Rule My House

Chuck Willis   1953

   Don't Deceive Me

Chuck Willis   1956

   It's Too Late

   Love Struck

Chuck Willis   1957

   C.C. Rider

   Love Me Cherry

Chuck Willis   1958

   Betty & Dupree

   What Am I Living For


Birth of Rock & Roll: Chuck Willis

Chuck Willis

Source: Ameblo


R&B guitarist, Mickey Baker, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1925. He had been consigned to an orphanage there at age eleven. Apparently he ran away so many times to various cities that they eventually stopped looking for him. At age 16 he found himself in New York City, working as a laborer, dishwasher and pool hustler. At age nineteen he thought to buy a trumpet. But he only had fourteen dollars so he ended up with a pawnshop guitar. Four years later he was good enough to have his own band and acquire gigs. To make a miserable story short, Baker was young, but his youth was worthless to him in scrambling poverty until he finally gained steady session work in NYC in 1951. Lord's disco begins its list of NYC recordings, however, with what may not have been session work, that with the Billy Valentine Trio on November 4 for Decca, titles like 'Baby Please Don't Go' and 'It's a Sin to Tell a Lie', et al. His first session work with Savoy is thought to have been for vocalist, Varetta Dillard, on May 6 and 24 to bear such as 'Love That Man' and 'I'm Yours'. His first name recordings followed in 1952 at the age 27, releasing 'Riverboat' and 'Love Me Baby' for Savoy. Baker's recording career well exceeded a couple hundred sessions. Wecan't here dunk into that, but we can skip a few stones: Out of the galaxy of musicians Baker supported a few vocalists in the early fifties are apt to mention. Come Ruth Brown on December 19, 1952, for 'Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean' with others that went unissued. Brown and Baker would visit on multiple occasions in '53, '54, '58 and, finally, September 30, 1959, for 'What I Wouldn't Give' and 'Don't Deceive Me', et al. Screaming Jay Hawkins tapped his talents in September, 1953, for 'Not Anymore', 'Please Try to Understand', etc.. Baker joined Hawkins numerously to July of 1957, that date to result in 'At Home With Screamin' Jay Hawkins'. Big Maybelle came knocking on January 20, 1954, for such as 'I've Got a Feeling' and 'You'll Never Know'. Baker would see numerous sessions with Maybelle in '54 and '56. His last session with her may have been on July 20 the latter year for 'Mean to Me', 'Tell Me Who', et al. In 1955 he published his first edition of 'Mickey Baker's Complete Course in Jazz Guitar'. The next year he livened things up with Louis Jordan's Tympany Five on October 22 for 'Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens' and 'Let the Good Times Roll', etc.. Baker migrated to France during the sixties, where he remained in demand into the seventies. Among the various touring American musicians he hosted was piano giant, Memphis Slim. A session in Paris in late '64 resulted in Slim's 'Clap Your Hands'. Another visit in '67 came to 'Bluesingly Yours', followed later by 'Very Much Alive and in Montreux' in 1973. Baker didn't do a lot of recording during his later career. Among his few later issues was 'Back to the Blues' in 1981. He died in France in 2012 of heart and kidney failure. 'Rolling Stone' had ranked Baker at No. 53 of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time in 2003.

Mickey Baker   1952

   River Boat

Mickey Baker   1959

   Third Man Theme

   Whistle Stop


Birth of Rock & Roll: Mickey

Mickey Baker

Photo: Roland Godefroy

Source: Rolling Stone




R&B pianist, Little Richard, was born Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932 in Macon, Georgia. His father was a church deacon who sold bootleg moonshine at his tavern, the Tip In Inn. His mother was a Baptist who sold Little Richard on gospel music since he was a child. Richard got his start as a performer when he opened for Sister Rosetta Tharpe in 1947 at the Macon City Auditorium. He then began traveling with Dr. Hudson's Medicine Show in 1948. In 1949 he replaced I.A. Harris as vocalist in the Buster Brown Orchestra and changed his name to Little Richard. In 1950 he began performing with various acts on the vaudeville circuit, also working drag. He toured the chitlin' circuit as well. Richard made his first demo recordings in 1951, leading to his first releases in 1952 for RCA Victor, 'Every Hour' one of eight singles recorded. But Richard didn't make it big until 'Tutti Frutti' in 1956, reaching No. 2 on Billboard. 'Long Tall Sally', also 1956, reached No. 1. From that point onward his career exploded as his female fans went into frenzy. 1957 saw the release of Richard's initial album, 'Here's Little Richard', reaching No. 13 on the chart. He also began to study theology that year at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1958 he formed the Little Richard Evangelistic Team as a preacher. He quit Specialty Records in 1959, sacrificing royalties, then pursued gospel music. He began his career in secular music again in 1962, upon occasion to see the difference in audience reaction. Upon a first show in Europe during which he performed gospel the response was so-so. But second show featuring 'Long Tall Sally' went hysterical and Little Richard was back in business. Returning to the States, he began recording with the Upsetters. Richard wore the sixties well, despite backlash for returning to rock from gospel. His 1963 visit to the UK featured the young Rolling Stones as opening act. Jimi Hendrix joined his band in 1964.  By 1968 he'd sold more than 32 million records around globe. The seventies saw his career begin to wane. He ceased with rock n roll again in 1977 to evangelize, releasing the gospel album, 'God's Beautiful City', in 1979. His last studio album, 'Shake It All About', was an LP for children released by Disney in 1992. Richard remained active into the new millennium, having retired in 2013 due to health issues.

Little Richard   1952

   Every Hour

Little Richard   1956

   Tutti Frutti

Little Richard   1958

   Good Golly Miss Molly

      Recorded 1956


Birth of Rock & Roll: Little Richard

Little Richard

Source: Contact Music



Country pianist, Floyd Cramer, released his first single in 1953 ('Dancin' Diane' A side with 'Little Brown Jug' flip side). Before releasing his first country album in 1957 ('That Honky Tonk Piano') Cramer toured with Elvis Presley, an example of one of his recordings with Presley below. The tune, 'Midnight', below, is from his second album, 'Hello Blues'. It was a rock and roll LP released in 1960. More Floyd Cramer, including earlier material, in A Birth of Country Western.

Floyd Cramer   1956

   Heartbreak Hotel

      With Elvis Presley

Floyd Cramer   1958

   Flip Flop and Bop

   Sophisticated Swing

Floyd Cramer   1960

   Last Date

Floyd Cramer   1963



Birth of Rock & Roll: Floyd Cramer

Floyd Cramer

Source: CMT

Birth of Rock & Roll: Big Mama Thornton

Big Mama Thornton

Like others on this page, we've pulled blues singer, Big Mama Thorton, from out of the R&B world in illustration of early rock. Same difference but for marketing to a black or white audience. Thornton began her career at age fourteen, upon her mother's death, by joining the Hot Harlem Revue, with which she traveled the South for seven years. In 1948 she settled in Houston, where she signed on to Peacock Records in 1951. Marion has her first shellac in 1950 per 'All Right Baby'/'Bad Luck Got My Ma' (E&W 100) with the Harlem Stars [see also wandandula]. Three plates as Willie Mae Thornton ensued for Peacock Records in '51 and '52 with the orchestras of Joe Scott and Bill Harvey before her first issue as Big Mama (300 plus pounds) in 1953: 'Hound Dog'/'Night Mare' (Leiber/Stoller Peacock 1612). Peacock's investment payed off with 'Hound Dog' reaching Billboard's #1 tier that year in R&B. (Elvis Presley repeated that in 1956.) Gerri Hirshey ['We Gotta Get Out of This Place'] has Thornton being payed one check for $500, though that recording would eventually sell more than two million copies. With 'Hound Dog' her only title to chart at all during those years, she relocated from Houston to San Francisco in the early sixties, there to play clubs until 1965 when Thornton toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival, during which she recorded her first album, 'Big Mama Thornton - In Europe'. Backing her on that were Buddy Guy (guitar), Fred Below (drums), Eddie Boyd (keyboards), Jimmy Lee Robinson (bass), Walter Shakey Horton (harmonica) and Fred McDowell (slide). Thornton's composition, 'Ball & Chain', brought greater fame to Janis Joplin in '68 than her own renditions would. Thornton had first recorded the song in 1961 for Bay-Tone, gone unissued though Bay-Tone retained copyright as part of the deal. Joplin heard Thornton perform the song at a club in San Francisco in 1967, performed it herself at the Monterey Jazz Festival that year, then at Fillmore West to release it on 'Cheap Thrills' in '68. Some sources have Bay-Tone, retaining copyright, receiving royalties rather than Thornton upon that LP reaching Billboard's #1 spot on the LP chart (despite Thornton credited on the album). Thornton would tour with the American Folk Blues Festival again in 1972, the Newport Jazz Festival in '73 and again in 1980. Despite a highly active career and several albums engaging a faithful audience, Thornton never regained the national exposure that 'Hound Dog' had brought in 1960 or that 'Ball & Chain' had transferred to Joplin in '67. Marion wants her final album recorded in England by Ace in 1982: 'Quit Snoopin' Round My Door' ('86). Her last performance was on April 14 of '84 in Los Angeles, she become a frail 120 pounds by then. She died three months later financially gaunt as well, of heart attack on July 25, 1984, in Los Angeles. Others instrumental to her career had been Johnny Otis, Johnny Ace and Muddy Waters. Songwriting credits for recordings in the fifties at Discogs 1, 2. Her rendition of Gershwin's 'Summertime', as well as other blues like 'Ball & Chain', in Blues 4.

Big Mama Thornton   1952

   All Right Baby

      With the Harlem Stars

      Composition: Thornton

Big Mama Thornton   1953

   Hound Dog

      Composition: Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller

   They Call Me Big Mama Thornton

      Composition: Thornton

Big Mama Thornton   1955

   I Smell a Rat

      Composition: Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller

   Yes Baby

      With Johnny Ace

      Composition: Don Robey

Big Mama Thornton   1965

   Down Home Shakedown

      Filmed live

      Composition: Thornton

  Hound Dog

      Filmed live

      Composition: Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller

Big Mama Thornton   1968

   Wade In the Water

      Composition: Thornton



Frankie Valli was born in 1934 in Newark, New Jersey. He began his professional singing career in 1951 with a group called the Variety Trio. His first recording, 'My Mother's Eyes', was under the name Frankie Valley in 1953, about the time he formed the Variatones. That group's name was changed in 1956 to the Four Lovers, their first recording 'You're the Apple of My Eye'. Some changes were undergone in 1960, and the group emerged as the Four Seasons, with which Valli became best known. Their first record was 'Bermuda' with 'Spanish Lace' flipside in 1961. The Four Seasons may be found in Sixties American Rock. Valli has remained with the Four Seasons since their inception into the new millennium, which group yet tours as of this writing.

Frankie Valli   1953

   My Mother's Eyes

    As Frankie Valley

Frankie Valli   1956

  You're the Apple of My Eye

    Filmed live

   You're the Apple of My Eye

    With the Four Lovers

Frankie Valli   1961

   Bermuda/Spanish Lace

    With the Four Seasons 


Birth of Rock & Roll: Frankie Valli

Frankie Valli

Source: K Hits Chicago

Birth of Rock & Roll: Frankie Avalon

Frankie Avalon

Source: Songkick

Like his film partner, Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon was among early rock's manufactured talents, which generally means doing someone else's thing, be it a Hollywood studio or a record label, rather than directing one's own path (which definition may make the majority of the population a variety of fabricated talents as well). Howsoever, as an adolescent Avalon owned a talent with trumpet such that at age 14 (1954) he released his first four recordings. Though none are found for this history, those were 'Trumpet Tarantella', 'Dormi Dormi', 'Trumpet Sorrento' and 'The Book'. Three years later, upon turning to rock, Avalon signed on with Chancellor Records to record eight sides in the following order: 'Splish Splash'/'When I Said I Love You', 'Cupid'/'Jivin' With The Saints', 'Teacher's Pet'/'Shy Guy' and 'Dede Dinah/Ooh-La-La', the last released in 1958. Avalon was also featured in his first film as a performer in 1957: 'Jamboree'. He provide the singing voice of Alakazam in the animated film, 'Alakazam the Great', issued in 1960. His first acting roles were also in 1960: 'Guns of the Timberland' and 'The Alamo'. Avalon released his last of seven albums, 'Italiano', in 1962, before his first pairing with Annette Funicello in the film, 'Beach Party', released in 1963. Avalon would continue acting into the eighties, but his last record release is thought to have been in 1978 in concert with the film, 'Grease': 'Beauty School Dropout'/'Midnight Lady'. Avalon got together with Fabian and Bobby Rydell in 1985 to form the Golden Boys. He returned to the screen with Funicello in the 1987 release of 'Back to the Beach'. Some time after that Avalon took an interest in marketing, creating Frankie Avalon Products, a line of health and food items that he has sold on both the Home Shopping Network and its rival, QVC. Avalon's most recent activity was the issue of his cookbook, 'Frankie Avalon's Italian Family Cookbook', in 2015. As usual, tracks below are chronological by year only, alphabetical rather than by date thereafter.

Frankie Avalon   1954

   Trumpet Sorrento

Frankie Avalon   1957

   Dede Dinah

   Ooh La La

   Shy Guy

   Teacher's Pet

Frankie Avalon   1958


   I'll Wait For You

   You Excite Me

Frankie Avalon   1959

   Just Ask Your Heart

   Shy Guy


     'Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show'


Frankie Avalon   1978

   Beauty School Dropout

    Film: 'Grease' 


  The term, "rockabilly," began to come into common usage in 1956. Among its earliest darlings was Wanda Jackson. Born in 1937 in Maud, Oklahoma, Jackson was eleven when she won a contest resulting in her own radio show for KPLR. Hank Thompson happened to hear her sing on her show and invited her to perform with his band, the Brazos Valley Boys, which led to her first recordings the same year. Upon graduating from high school she met Elvis Presley while touring, who advised her to focus on rockabilly. In 1965 Jackson began recording records in German until 1970. As of this writing Jackson's latest LP release was 'Unfinished Business' in 2012. Much more Wanda Jackson in A Birth of Country Western.

Wanda Jackson   1957

   Fujiyama Mama

Wanda Jackson   1958

   Hard Headed Woman

      Live on 'Town Hall Party'

   Savin' My Love

Wanda Jackson   1961

   Stupid Cupid

Wanda Jackson   2011

   Riot In Cell Block #9



Birth of Rock & Roll: Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson

Source: Rev. Art



Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1935, Elvis Presley was a vocalist who less played guitar than he with it on stage. He made his first two recordings in 1953, a demo costing $3.98 for studio rental at Sun Records featuring 'My Happiness' and 'That's When Your Heartaches Begin'. He made another demo with Sun in January 1954: 'I'll Never Stand In Your Way'/'It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You'. His first record releases were later that year: 'That's All Right'/'Blue Moon Of Kentucky', 'I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'/'Good Rocking Tonight' and 'You're A Heartbreaker'/'Milkcow Blues Boogie'. Those tracks did well enough on their own, but the King of Rock & Roll was likely born at a July performance at Overton Park Shell in Memphis, opening for Slim Whitman. He was so nervous that his legs shook as he kept rhythm, eliciting screams from females in the audience, which Presley noted toward the further honing his stage presence. He made his sole appearance at the Grand Ole Opry that October. He then secured a year of engagements on the 'Louisiana Hayride' television program. Part country ballad musician, part rocker a little wild, rockabilly was the direction Presley took. In 1955 RCA decided to make a star of Presley, acquiring him from Sun Records for a hefty $40,000 (considering his status at the time) and engaging in heavy promotion, partially paid for by songwriters who would forego a third of their royalties in exchange for Presley performing their tunes. His first sessions for RCA in January 1956 had Chet Atkins and Floyd Cramer in the crew together with Presley's usual trio of Scotty Moore (guitar), Bill Black (bass) and D. J. Fontana (drums): RCA was backing up their fresh cash cow with nothing but the best. Included in that session was 'Heartbreak Hotel'. He was immediately scheduled for a number of appearances on 'Stage Show' before the March release of his first album, 'Elvis Presley'. His first appearance on the 'Milton Berle Show' followed in April. The 'Steve Allen Show' and 'Ed Sullivan Show' would follow that summer. July saw the release of 'Hound Dog'/'Don't Be Cruel'. He released the single, 'Blue Suede Shoes', in September of '56. But why stop there? Why not star in your first film, 'Love Me Tender', released in November, as well?. By the end of Presley's first year with RCA he was not only a star but a super star. His singles alone amounted to more than half of RCA's record sales that year. Only merchandise had earned $22,000,000, about what Presley himself grossed. In March of 1957 he was drafted into the Army. His mother died that August. Presley had resigned himself to the notion that his career was over when he'd been drafted, and would perform his duty like anyone else. As he did, driving a jeep. But RCA wasn't about to let the military threaten their stake in their goldmine. From the time of Presley's induction to the time of his discharge he watched RCA issue ten Top Forty songs from out of yet unreleased material. Presley was released from military service in 1960 to the mauling of fans to welcome him back to the States. RCA grabbed their prize quick, Presley back in the recording studio not two weeks later. Presley was RCA's hot potato during the sixties. He couldn't disappoint, beginning with the 1960 LP, 'Elvis Is Back!', the 'G.I Blues' soundtrack that October and the sacred album, 'His Hand In Mine', in December. Matters took a depressing turn in 1973 when he twice overdosed on the barbiturates he used to control fits of rage. He yet toured heavily but 1974 saw barbiturates interfering with his ability to function, much less perform. By 1976 he was being compared to Liberace (a musician who less played classical piano than used a classical piano to parade Liberace). By 1977 the humble, polite, steady and unpretentious Presley of the fifties had become something of an egotistical spiritualist. Even yet his concerts bulged with fans and his records charted high. All came sliding down in 1977 when he became increasingly unable to perform. As he was Presley, such occasions could at first be overlooked as aberrational. There was the Presley thing that not even his by-then corpulent slurring could kill. But as occasions multiplied he began losing fans. To get a handle on that scenario he gave his last concert in June at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. August was figured a good time to resume touring. But before that occurred he died of heart attack, likely assisted by years of pharmacological abuse. His funeral was attended by 80,000 fans, Presley an international star who had never toured beyond Canada.

Elvis Presley   1953

   My Happiness


   That's When Your Heartaches Begin


Elvis Presley   1954

   It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You


   I'll Never Stand in Your Way


Elvis Presley   1956

   Blue Suede Shoes

   Love Me Tender

    Film: 'Love Me Tender'

Elvis Presley   1957

   Jailhouse Rock

   Treat Me Nice

Elvis Presley   1962

   Something Blue

Elvis Presley   1963

   (You're the) Devil In Disguise

Elvis Presley   1965

   Crazy Little Thing Called Love


Birth of Rock & Roll: Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley

Source: Innoportal

Birth of Rock & Roll: Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry

Photo: Roland Godefroy

Source: Vuelve Primavera


Guitarist, Chuck Berry, was born in 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a high school student and had publicly sang as such when he was convicted on three counts of armed robbery in 1944, in addition to stealing a car at gunpoint. Released from prison in 1947, he wasted no time getting married in 1948, then starting a family in 1950. In addition to day jobs he played in local St. Louis bands. He began to notably emerge on the local scene in the trio of Johnnie Johnson in 1953, playing country songs to R&B audiences, a twist that worked. His first two recordings ('Maybelline' and 'Roll Over Beethoven') in 1955 shot him to instant fame. Be as may, of all the rock and roll Berry recorded, his best-selling tune was also his silliest, and least expressive of his considerable talents: 'My Ding-a-Ling' in 1972. Berry hasn't released a studio album since 1979: 'Rock It'. But he's toured internationally ever since. He has ranked high in several 'Rolling Stone' categories, notably fifth on their 'Immortals' list and first on '100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time' for 'Johnny B. Goode'. He yet performs on occasion in St. Louis as of this writing. Per 1959 below, Marvin Gaye is one of the backup singers on 'Almost Grown' and 'Back In the U.S.A.'. Per 1987 below, all edits were filmed live with Keith Richards.

Chuck Berry   1955


   Roll Over Beethoven

Chuck Berry   1957

   Oh Baby Doll

Chuck Berry   1958

   Johnny B. Goode

Chuck Berry   1959

   Almost Grown

      Studio version

   Almost Grown

      Live on the 'Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show'

   Back In the U.S.A.

   Little Queenie

Chuck Berry   1970

   Roll Over Beethoven/Johnny B Goode

     Filmed live

Chuck Berry   1972

   My Ding-a-Ling

     Filmed live

   Roll Over Beethoven

     Filmed live

Chuck Berry   1987

   Back In the U.S.A.

      Filmed live with Linda Ronstadt

   Johnny B Goode


   School Days



Long a favorite with rockers was Bo Diddley, born Ellas Otha Bates in 1928 in McComb, Mississippi. He was early adopted and named Ellas McDaniel. He largely grew up on Chicago's South Side. He worked as a carpenter and mechanic while busking street corners in the early forties. His first regular employment as a musician is thought to have been at the 708 Club in 1951. How McDaniel came to go by Bo Diddley is unclear, but that's what he called himself in 1954 when he recorded 'Bo Diddley' and 'I'm a Man' for Chess Records (1955 release). Those issues put him on the path to becoming one of the early icons of rock & roll. His cover of 'Sixteen Tons' in 1960 had been written by Merle Travis (A Birth of Country Western) and first performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford (A Birth of Folk Music). He was supposed to do a rendition of that song on the 'Ed Sullivan Show' that year. When he played 'Bo Diddley' by accident he was banned from further appearances. He recorded his 1960 album, 'Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger' at his own home studio. In 1971 Diddley moved to Los Lunas, New Mexico, where he became a deputy sheriff for over two years (donating three pursuit cars to the department) before relocating to Hawthorne, Florida, he continuing his career all the while. He also lived in Albuquerque, NM, and Archer, FL. Diddley had performed with all variety of larger names in rock, from The Grateful Dead to The Clash to the Rolling Stones. Among his final recordings were 'Wreck It' in 2005 with Munkeez Strikin' Matchiz and 'Seventeen' in 2006 with the New York Dolls. In 2007 Diddley lived through both a stroke and heart attack, last performing that year in McComb, Mississippi, his birthplace. He died of heart failure in June of 2008, his final words said to have been, "I'm going to heaven." In 2009 the guitar he used during his last performance sold for $60,000.

Bo Diddley   1955

   Bo Diddley

     Filmed live

   Bo Diddley

     Studio version

   I'm a Man

Bo Diddley   1956

   Who Do You Love

Bo Diddley   1960

   Road Runner

   Sixteen Tons

Bo Diddley   1962

   You Can't Judge a Book by It's Cover


Birth of Rock & Roll: Bo Diddley

Bo Diddley

Source: Literatura


Kansas City rocker, Priscilla Bowman, was there born in 1928. She began recording in 1955 with pianist and bandleader Jay McShann (Big Band Swing.) Bowman pursued her career into the seventies, dying of lung cancer in 1988.

Priscilla Bowman   1955

   Hands Off

    With Jay McShann

Priscilla Bowman   1956

   I Don't Need Your Lovin' Anymore

   I've Got News For You

Priscilla Bowman   1958

   A Rockin' Good Way

    With the Spaniels


Birth of Rock & Roll: Priscilla Bowman

Priscilla Bowman

Source: MEO


Birth of Rock & Roll: Eddie Cochran

Eddie Cochran

Source: Accordo

Rockabilly discovered a heart-throb sensation in Eddie Cochran, born in 1928 in Albert Lea, Minnesota. Cochran formed his first band, a trio, in junior high school. Cochran early dropped out of high school to pursue a musical career, first recording with country songwriter, Hank Cochran, in 1955, the duo performing as the Cochran Brothers despite no familial relation between them, their last names a coincidence. Cochran's first solo release occurred in 1956, 'Skinny Jim', backed with 'Half Loved'. Sadly, hepcat Cochran would die at the young age of only twenty-one in April 1960, upon a blown tire, the taxi in which Cochran was riding with his girlfriend careening out of control until a street lamp stopped it, throwing him from the vehicle. In the few brief years since 'Skinny Jim' onward Cochran was a non-stop rock n roll rocket, producing a prolific number of recordings as well. The list below begins with Cochran's solo career. Earlier recordings with Hank Cochran, are in A Birth of Country Western. More Cochran under Gene Vincent lower on this page as well.

Eddie Cochran   1956

   Half Loved

      First solo release Side B

   Skinny Jim

      First solo release Side A

   Twenty Flight Rock


Eddie Cochran   1957

   Dark Lonely Street

   Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On


Eddie Cochran   1958

   Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie

   Summertime Blues

      Filmed live

Eddie Cochran   1959

   Hallelujah I Love Her So

   Teenage Heaven

      Filmed live

Eddie Cochran   1960

   C'mon Everybody



Birth of Rock & Roll: Duane Eddy

Duane Eddy

Source: Last FM

Guitarist Duane Eddy was born in 1936 in Corning, New York. Eddy brought a country blend to rock n roll which also made him enormously successful as both a popular and rock guitarist. Eddy cut his first record. 'Soda Fountain Girl', in 1955, a duet with Jimmy Delbridge. 'Rebel Rouser' was his first gold disc, reaching No. 6 on the charts on 1958. His debut album, 'Have 'Twangy' Guitar Will Travel', was released in 1958 as well. Eddy has pursued a successful career throughout the decades ever since. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, he continues to tour as of this writing.

Duane Eddy   1955

   Soda Fountain Girl

Duane Eddy   1958

   The Lonely One


Duane Eddy   1959

   Blueberry Hill

   Forty Miles Of Bad Road

Duane Eddy   1960

   Because They're Young

Duane Eddy   1962


Duane Eddy   1963


Duane Eddy   1965

   Laughing Guitar

   The Restless Pack

Duane Eddy   1967

   Wishing On a Star

Duane Eddy   1969


Duane Eddy   1975

   Cannonball Rag

Duane Eddy   1984


     Filmed live on 'Thicke of The Night'

Duane Eddy   1988




Birth of Rock & Roll: Annette Funicello

Annette Funicello

Source: San Diego County News

What would a history of Rock and Roll be without its very first Disney teenybopper? Annette Funicello was born in 1942 in Utica, New York. She was first famous as a Mouseketeer. Disney had seen her dance in a production of 'Swan Lake' when she twelve. The next year she found herself the principle Mouseketeer of 'The Mickey Mouse Club' television show from its debut in 1955 until 1957, after which she appeared in various other shows and films for Disney. Funicello released her first album, 'Annette', in 1959. She went on to considerable popularity with the first of her films with Frankie Avalon, 'Beach Party', in 1963. She recorded strongly through the sixties, after which her career went largely the direction of film and television. Her 1994 autobiography, 'A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes', was dictated to Patricia Romanowski. She also founded the Annette Funicello Collectible Bear Company in the nineties, selling teddy bears. Her fragrance, 'Cello', was another of her business ventures. Funicello died of multiple sclerosis in Bakersfield, CA, in April 2013.

Annette Funicello   1955

   Original Mouseketeers

      Debut of The Mickey Mouse Club

Annette Funicello   1958

   How Will I Know My Love

Annette Funicello   1959



Annette Funicello   1961

   Let's Get Together

      Film: 'The Parent Trap'   With Tommy Sands

   Parent Trap

      Film: 'The Parent Trap'   With Tommy Sands

Annette Funicello   1964

   Pajama Party

   This Time It's Love

      Film: 'Bikini Beach'



Etta James was born in 1938 in Los Angeles. She formed a doo-wop band at age fourteen. A few years later, 1955, she released her first R&B recording, 'Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry)'/'Hold Me, Squeeze Me', followed by 'Good Rockin' Daddy'/'Crazy Feeling'. 'Roll with Me Henry' was quickly retitled 'Dance With Me Henry' to avoid censorship. James produced her debut album, 'At Last', in 1960, initiating her bloom during the sixties. She kept her momentum through the seventies, though with the leveling out of the initial burst of her fan base. The eighties were James' weakest decade until she came back with the album, 'Seven Year Itch' in 1989. James was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993. Her 1995 album, 'Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday', won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. She was elected into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001. In 2004 'Let's Roll' won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album. 'Blues to the Bone' won the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album in 2005. James died of leukemia in January of 2012. Her 28th and final album was 'The Dreamer' issued in 2011. 'Rolling Stone' magazine has ranked her as 22nd of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Etta James   1955

   Be Mine

   Crazy Feeling

   Don't You Remember

   Good Rockin' Daddy

  Hold Me, Squeeze Me

  That's All

   Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry)


   Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry)

    Studio version

Etta James   1960


      With Harvey Fuqua

Etta James   1968

   I'd Rather Go Blind

Etta James   1986

   Baby What You Want Me To Do

      Live   Released 1987

      With Eddie Cleanhead Vinson


Birth of Rock & Roll: Etta James

Etta James

Photo: H. Darr Beiser/USA Today

Source: Seven Days/Solid State


Little Willie John was born in 1937 in Cullendale, Arkansas, but raised in Detroit. He produced soul tunes a touch more, say, tranquil than James Brown's funk, while at once he and rock & roll were made for each other. His first recording in 1955 was a version of Titus Turner's 'All Around the World', that with 'Don't Leave Me Dear'. 'All Around the World' was Willie John's first to rise to the Top Ten of the R&B, reaching #5. John was a highly popular R&B artist for the brief period that he recorded. His other Top Ten titles were 'Home at Last' (#6 1956), 'Letter from My Darling' (#10 1956), 'Need Your Love So Bad' (#5 1956), 'Fever' (#1 1956), 'Talk to Me' (#5 1958), 'Heartbreak' (#6 1960), 'Sleep' (#10 1960) and 'Take My Love' (#5 1961). Likely youth's energy that he drank a lot, and it isn't known why his temper was short, but in 1964 King Records dropped him, said to be for those causes. Among titles issued that year were 'My Love Will Never Change'/'Bill Bailey' and 'It Only Hurts a Little While'/'Rock Love'. Be as may, Willie tended to find himself in nightclub brawls. In 1964 he stabbed a railroad worker in self defense at a bar in Seattle and ended up at Walla Walla for manslaughter. During a period of appeal in 1966 John recorded several tracks for Capitol, not released until 2008 on the CD, 'Nineteen Sixty Six'. John lost his appeal and was returned to Walla Walla where he died, age 31, of heart attack. He was elected into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Little Willie John   1955

   All Around the World

Little Willie John   1956


   Suffering With the Blues

Little Willie John   1958

   Talk to Me, Talk to Me

Little Willie John   1959

   Leave My Kitten Alone

Little Willie John   1960

   I'm Shakin'

   You Hurt Me

Little Willie John   1961

   Autumn Leaves

   Now You Know


Birth of Rock & Roll: Little Willie John

Little Willie John   1956

Photo: Otis Blackwell

Source: Don't Stay Up Too Late

Birth of Rock & Roll: Carl Perkins

Carl Perkins

Source: Music.It

Both ironically and not, early rock and roll had something of a stigma about it to much of the country western audience (not to mention classical) which made some country western performers hesitant to dip into it. But that didn't worry guitarist and songwriter, Carl Perkins, largely thanks to whom rockabilly became a strong limb of rock music (albeit rockabilly has its beginnings a little earlier, with Arthur Crudup, say, in Rock 1). Perkins was born in 1932 in Tiptonville, Tennessee. His first record release was in 1955 for Flip Records (Sun subsidiary): 'Movie Magg'/'Turn Around'. Perkins released 'Blue Suede Shoes' and 'Boppin' the Blues' in 1956. Perkins had composed 'Blue Suede Shoes' upon witnessing a dancer get angry with his date for scuffing up his shoes. It was also the first title to sell a million copies for the Sun label since its founding in 1952. In 1956 he was involved in an auto accident with his band that fractured three vertebrae and broke his collar bone in addition to other injuries. He was recording again less than a month later. One month later he began his 'Big D Jamboree' tour in Beaumont, Texas. Perkins enjoyed a successful career into the sixties. He had first worked with Johnny Cash in 1956 as a songwriter. They collaborated again in 1968 in various capacities that helped Perkins stay in business. During the eighties he collaborated with such as Paul McCartney, Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats and the Judds. He'd released the album, 'Class of '55', in 1986 with Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison. Perkins' last studio album, 'Go Cat Go!', was issued in 1996. He performed at Royal Albert Hall in London in September of '97 before he died in January of '98 in Jackson, Tennessee. He had endured several strokes but died of throat cancer.

Carl Perkins   1956

   Blue Suede Shoes

    'Perry Como Show'

   Blue Suede Shoes

    Studio version


Carl Perkins   1957

   Boppin' the Blues

Carl Perkins   1987

   That's Alright Mama

       Filmed live


  Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1925, songwriter Marvin Rainwater pursued a blend of country and rockabilly. He studied classical piano as a child, not taking up guitar until he was in the Navy. His first released single was in 1955 for the Coral label, 'I Gotta Go Get My Baby'/'Daddy's Glad You Came Home'. ('I Gotta Go Get My Baby' was quickly covered by jazz singer, Teresa Brewer, the same year, who had considerably more success with it.) Rainwater began getting national exposure that year per numerous appearances on 'Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts' and 'Ozark Jubilee'. His initial release with MGM in 1955, his major label in the fifties, was 'Sticks And Stones'/'Albino (Pink-Eyed) Stallion'. By 1960 Rainwater had scored several gold records, his career thereafter troubled by stress to his vocal cords and throat cancer. He continued recording through the eighties, though with little of his former success. Rainwater died of heart failure in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 2013. Marvin Rainwater Country.

Marvin Rainwater   1955

   Gamblin' Man (Roving Gambler)

Marvin Rainwater   1956

   Why Did You Have to Go and Leave Me

Marvin Rainwater   1958

   I Dig You Baby

  Whole Lotta Woman

Marvin Rainwater   1962

   Tough Top Cat


Birth of Rock & Roll: Marvin Rainwater

Marvin Rainwater

Source: Deep Roots

Pop musician, Paul Anka, was born in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1941 to Syrian and Lebanese parents. He made his debut recording, a doo wop tune, at the age of fourteen in 1956. In 1957 he released 'Diana' which shot to No. 1 on both Canadian and American charts. Anka's debut as an actor was 'Girls Town' in 1959. About that time he began performing in Las Vegas, which would be a safehaven as the British invaded in the sixties, demolishing the careers of acts similar to Anka's. Anka nevertheless released several high-charting songs into the eighties. His last to attain the Top Forty, 'Hold Me 'Til The Mornin' Comes', reached No. 2 in 1983 in the Hot Adult Contemporary category. Anka eventually became a U.S. citizen in 1990. He published his autobiography, 'My Way', in 2013. Anka remains active touring as of this writing.

Paul Anka   1956

   I Confess

Paul Anka   1957


    Filmed live


    Original release

Paul Anka   1958

   Crazy Love

   You Are My Destiny

Paul Anka   1959

   Lonely Boy

     Filmed live

Paul Anka   1960

   Puppy Love

   Summer's Gone

Paul Anka   1976

   The Painter

Paul Anka   2005



Birth of Rock & Roll: Paul Anka

Paul Anka

Birth of Rock & Roll: James Brown

James Brown

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives

Source: Mixcrate/Asthedj

Soul and funk rock musician, James Brown, was born in a little wood shack in 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina. He began his recording career as a gospel singer in 1952. He had a group called the Ever Ready Gospel Singers, which he quit after recording a version of 'His Eye Is On the Sparrow' that year, unable to sell it. Born to damning poverty, Brown quit school in the sixth grade. He was convicted of armed robbery (stealing a car) at age sixteen (1949) and sent to a juvenile detention center where he formed a gospel quartet, its instruments consisting of comb and paper, a washtub bass, lard tubs for drums and a wood box rigged as a kind of mandolin. All else aside, what put Brown's music career in gear was putting together the Famous Flames with Bobby Byrd in 1955. Their first record the next year was a doo wop effort ('Please, Please, Please' with 'Try Me' flipside). Notable in 1958 was 'Try Me'. 'Night Train' provided momentum into the sixties, released in 1962. In 1963 Brown launched his own record label, Try Me Records. Brown was one the few American musicians to whom the British Invasion was no threat. The more the British kept coming the more he turned up the electricity. He received his first Grammy in 1965 for 'Papa's Got a Brand New Bag'. Brown was a phenomenal performer on stage, a virtual power plant who could turn on the lights of an entire city, nothing quite like him or his music in all the history of rock n roll. He employed a crew of 50 to 60 highly managed people to produce well over 300 concerts each year. He gave his last concert in 2006, dying of heart failure on Christmas that year. Several of the selections below are live concert performances.

James Brown   1956

   I Don't Know

   Please Please Please

James Brown   1959

   I Want You So Bad

James Brown   1961

   That Dood It

James Brown   1967

   It's a Man's World

      Filmed live

James Brown   1969

   Mother Popcorn

   There Was A Time

James Brown   1974

   Payback/Damn Right I Am Somebody

     Live on 'Soul Train'

   Soul Power

    Filmed live in Kinshasa, Zaire

James Brown   1980

   The Old Landmark

      Film: 'The Blues Brothers'

James Brown   1981

   Its A Mans World

      Filmed live In Montreux

James Brown   1993

   Papa's Got a Brand New Bag

      Filmed live at Radio City

James Brown   1995

   Funky Good Time

      Filmed live

   I Feel Good

      Filmed live

James Brown   1999

   Funk On Ah Roll

      Filmed live in Las Vegas



It was with the Rock and Roll Trio that rockabilly musician Johnny Burnette produced his first recordings in 1956. It was also 1956 when disc jockeys commonly began using the term "rockabilly" in reference to rock music with a hillbilly twist. Born in 1934 in Memphis, Tennessee, Burnette released his first solo single, 'Kiss Me' with 'I'm Restless' B side, in 1958. Burnette's last song to reach Billboard's Hot 100 was 'God, Country and My Baby' in 1961 at No. 18. His first tour of Great Britain arrived in 1962. He established his own label, Sahara, in 1964, releasing 'Fountain of Love'/'What A Summer Day'. He was then forced to change his label's name (already taken) to Magic Lamp, issuing 'Bigger Man'/'Less Than A Heartbeat'. In August of '64 he was struck in his unlit fishing boat by a cabin cruiser on Clear Lake (northwest of Sacramento, CA). Tossed into night's waters, he drowned. You know what? That's really depressing. So on a positive note, his body wasn't lost and was interred at Forest Lawn in Glendale, CA.

Johnny Burnette   1956

   Rock Therapy

   Tear It Up

   The Train Kept A-Rollin'

Johnny Burnette   1958

   Kiss Me

   I'm Restless

Johnny Burnette   1960


   You're Sixteen

      Television performance

  You're Sixteen

    Studio version


Birth of Rock & Roll: Johnny Burnette

Johnny Burnette

Source: Efemerides Musicales

Birth of Rock & Roll: Bobby Byrd

Bobby Byrd

Source: Soul Sides

Soul singer, Bobby Byrd, was born in 1934 in Taccoa, Georgia. He is best known in association with James Brown, with whom he first recorded in 1956 ('Please, Please, Please'/'Why Do You Do Me') as a member of the Famous Flames. In October of 1958 the Flames released 'Try Me'/'Tell Me What I Did Wrong'. Brown left the band for a while, Byrd to continue with what was renamed the Drops of Joy. He then joined Brown in the assembly of the new Famous Flames. That band was enjoying a good run through the sixties when he first supported vocalist, Anna King, on 'Back to Soul' in summer of '63. He would see King again in '64 for 'Oh Baby Don't You Weep', 'Baby Baby Baby', 'Make Up Your Mind' and 'If You Don't Think'. Byrd is thought to have released his initial solo disc, 'They Are Sayin''/'I Found Out', in 1963 for Federal. He began recording en force in 1964 with Smash Records while also enjoying success with the Flames. This time it was Byrd who left the Flames in 1968, joining Brown in the formation of another band. In 1971 he and Brown formed People Records. Byrd's final departure from Brown as a professional partner arrived in 1973, one reason being a long-occurring lack of credits. Brown found that separation detrimental to People Records, it folding in 1976. Byrd's career saw numerous releases through the seventies, but during the eighties he emphasized performing in Europe with the continuing Famous Flames that now included his wife, Vicki. Byrd announced his retirement in 1996, though he occasionally appeared with Brown. He died in 2007 of cancer.

Bobby Byrd   1956

   Please, Please, Please

    With James Brown & the Famous Flames

Bobby Byrd   1967

   I Found Out

Bobby Byrd   1970

   I Need Help   Part 1 & 2

Bobby Byrd   1971

   Hot Pants

   I Know You Got Soul

Bobby Byrd   1972

   Never Get Enough



Birth of Rock & Roll: Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin

Source: Fans Share

Born Walden Robert Cassotto in 1936 in NYC, composer and multi-instrumentalist Bobby Darin first recorded via agent for Decca in 1956. His career went nowhere until his release of 'Splish Splash' in 1958, beginning his rise toward becoming one of the most highly regarded singers in the music business. Upon selling more than a million copies of 'Splish Splash' Darin continued briefly with rock and roll before turning to jazz. Also an actor, Darin first appeared on television in that capacity in 1959 in the television series, 'Hennessy'. He also first appeared in films in 1959: 'Shadows'. In 1960 he found himself with contracts with five major film studios, also appearing in 'Pepe' that year. Also a music publisher and record producer, it was Darin who signed singer, Wayne Newton, to his first recording contract in 1963. Politically active, Darin worked with the 1968 campaign of Robert Kennedy. In 1969 he founded Direction Records specifically to produce activist folk music. In 1972 he ran his own variety show for NBC, 'The Bobby Darin Amusement Company'. 'The Bobby Darin Show' followed in 1973. His last performance was on that show in April 1973, 'Splish Splash', below, edited from that broadcast. Though not a master, Darin was an expert chess player. He was only age 37 when he died of heart complications ensuing upon rheumatic fever as child. Much more Bobby Darin, including his first 1956 recordings, in Modern Jazz Song.

Bobby Darin   1958

   Splish Splash

Bobby Darin   1959

   Bull Moose

   Dream Lover



Birth of Rock & Roll: Everly Brothers

Everly Brothers

Source: Sheet Music Direct

Country guitarist Chet Atkins was a family friend of the Everly Brothers, helping them acquire their first recording contract in 1956. Their first song, 'Keep a Lovin' Me' didn't travel well. But in 1957 they began to release a stream of successful recordings. The brothers consisted of Don, born 1937, and Phil, born 1939. They experienced multiple moves while being raised. Suffice it to say they moved to Nashville upon both graduating from high school to meet with Chet Atkins who managed the RCA Victor studio there. He gave the Everly Brothers to Columbia, hence their first record release in 1956. Columbia dropped them so Atkins helped them sign up with the Cadence label. They'd shopped around a demo of 'Bye Bye Love' to some thirty labels and raised no interest. But when it topped between No. 1 and No. 5 on three different charts Cadence was plump pleased and would grow more rotund yet. Their something mesmerizing 'All I Have To Do Is Dream' in 1958 became one of their several gold records. But the Brothers ventured onward with Warner Brothers Records in 1960 and didn't disappoint. Their first issue for Warner Bros, 'Candy's Crown', sold eight million copies. Several of their singles placed in the Top Ten that year. Their last to reach that height was 'That's Old Fashioned' in 1962. But by then they were in the Marines, having enlisted in October 1961. They performed on the 'Ed Sullivan Show' in uniform in February 1962. They attempted to put their common career back together after release from active duty but weren't able to draw a fraction of the audience they once briefly enjoyed. They became more popular in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom than the United States. Don launched his first solo album, 'Don Everly', in 1970 to little ooh and awe. The Brothers are famous for their breakup up in 1973 when Don showed up at a gig in California too drunk to perform. Phil came to smashing his guitar halfway through the show and walking off, their partnership over. Phil's first solo album later that year, 'Star Spangled Springer',came to results little better Don's first solo album in 1970. The two pursued independent careers until their reunion concert at Royal Albert Hall in 1983. They then partnered well into the new millennium. Phil Everly died of lung disease in January 2014. Don resides in Nashville as of this writing.

Everly Brothers   1956

   Keep a Lovin' Me

Everly Brothers   1957

   Bye Bye Love

     Filmed live

   Bye Bye Love

     Studio version

   Wake Up Little Susie

Everly Brothers   1958

   All I Have To Do Is Dream

Everly Brothers   1960

   All I Have To Do Is Dream

     Filmed live in the U.K.

   Cathy's Clown

     Filmed live in the U.K.

   Cathy's Clown

     Filmed live

   Cathy's Clown

     'Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show'

   Cathy's Clown

     Studio Version

Everly Brothers   1961

   Love Hurts

Everly Brothers   1966

   Bye Bye Love

     'Merv Griffin Show'

Everly Brothers   1972

   All I Have to Do Is Dream

      Filmed live

Everly Brothers   1986

   Why Worry

      Filmed live with Chet Atkins


Birth of Rock & Roll: Don and Dewey

Don & Dewey

Source: Marv Goldberg
Jazz fusion violinist, Don Sugarcane Harris, also performed on guitar and organ. His early R&B career with Dewey Terry as Don & Dewey didn't get the credit it merited. Don & Dewey released their first record on Shade (1000) in 1956: 'Miss Sue'/'My Heart Is Aching'. The pair recorded numerously until their last in 1964: 'Get Your Hat'/'Annie Lee'. Harris then did a little time with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. He performed on the 'Johnny Otis Show' in 1968 and '69.  He emerged on Frank Zappa's albums, 'Hot Rats' in 1969, then 'Burnt Weeny Sandwich' ('70) and 'Weasels Ripped My Flesh' ('70). Keep On Driving" and 'Sugarcane' were Harris' first two solo albums in 1970. In 1972 he formed the Pure Food and Drug Act with Victor Conte (bass), Paul Lagos (drums), Randy Resnick (guitar) and Harvey Mandel (guitar). The Drug Act issued one album in '72: 'Choice Cuts', Harris' fourth by then. His tenth and last was 'Flashin' Time' in 1976. He had reunited with Dewey about that time, now to do the oldies circuit. Largely falling out of the music industry he recorded only on occasion with other musicians, appearing as late as 1998 on albums by CD Morris ('Shades of Country Blues') and Charles Wright ('Going to the Party'). Developing pulmonary disease, Harris died in Los Angeles in November 1999. Per below, only examples of Harris' career with Don & Dewey are listed. His career resumes with his solo career thereafter when he began to more emphasize violin than guitar with early jazz fusion.

Don & Dewey   1956

  Miss Sue

   My Heart Is Aching

Don & Dewey   1958


   Koko Joe

  The Letter

Don & Dewey   1959

  Big Boy Pete

   Farmer John

Don & Dewey   1963

  Soul Motion

Don & Dewey   1964

  Annie Lee

  Get Your Hat


  Born in Lubbock, Texas, the fame of guitarist Buddy Holly has perpetuated over the decades unusually disproportionate to his career if one consider how brief it was. Holly first worked professionally while in high school for a local radio station with his friend Bob Montgomery. With the later addition of Larry Welborn, Holly quickly got his major break when the trio opened for not only Elvis Presley, but Bill Haley shortly later, when each passed through Lubbock on tour. Holly first impressed a Nashville talent scout, then Marty Robbins' manager, Eddie Crandall, who advised him to send solo demos to Decca Records. Holly won a contract, then put together a band which would become The Crickets, consisting of Joe Mauldin on bass, Jerry Allison on drums and Niki Sullivan on guitar. Among the songs they first recorded in 1956 were 'That'll Be the Day' (not the later version that went atomic), 'Blue Days, Black Nights' and 'Modern Don Juan'. The release of the latter two didn't fare well, but the band did another version of 'That'll Be the Day' which became an enormous success both in America and the United Kingdom. (This was the Brunswick version. The first Decca version, listed below, wasn't released until Brunswick had already made a fortune with the second version.) Upon the Crickets also releasing 'Peggy Sue' and 'Oh Boy' in 1957 they were flying with Sputnik. In April 1958 they released their third and final album, then made their way to New York where Holly married Maria Santiago (honeymooning in Acapulco). Later that year Holly stayed in New York to make more records while the rest of the band returned to Lubbock. ('True Love Ways', below, is without the Crickets.) After which he died in a plane crash while touring the Midwest, near Omaha, Nebraska during a snow blizzard. (That accident took the lives of Jiles Richardson and Ritchie Valens as well.) Holly was only 22, but with a recording career of only about two years he stamped his name on rock & roll so indelibly that it persists to this day. America simply loved this guy and that hasn't stopped yet.

Buddy Holly   1956

   Blue Days, Black Nights

   Modern Don Juan

Buddy Holly   1957

   That'll Be The Day

      Decca version recorded 1956

   An Empty Cup

   Peggy Sue

      'Arthur Murray Show Dance Show'

   Words of Love

Buddy Holly   1958

   Maybe Baby

       Live at BBC

Buddy Holly   1960

   True Love Ways

      Recorded 1958

Buddy Holly   1962


      Saxophone: King Curtis

Buddy Holly   1963

   Bo Diddley

      Recorded 1956


Birth of Rock & Roll: Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly

Source: Torrent Rend


Brenda Lee was born Brenda Mae Tarpley in 1944 in Atlanta. At age three she liked to sing for coins and treats on the counter of a local candy shop. She was age ten when her father died and she became the breadwinner of the family via radio performances, which is how she met country western musician, Red Foley. Though Lee got her early start in country music she quickly plunged into the new sound of rock and roll. She released her first singles at age eleven: 'Jambalaya', in 1956 with 'Bigelow 6-200' B side, those followed by a couple of Christmas tunes. She became known as Little Miss Dynamite upon the release of 'Dynamite' in 1957. Her career then to explode, she honed her direction toward her own hot brand of rockabilly and pop rock. The early sixties saw one Top Ten single upon the next until 1963. She was also enormously popular in the UK where she'd first toured in 1959. The yet unknown Beatles opened for her during one tour in the early sixties. Lee returned to country music in the seventies and eighties. She continues to perform on tour as of this writing.

Brenda Lee   1956


   Bigelow 6-200

Brenda Lee   1957



   One Step At a Time

Brenda Lee   1960

   I Want to Be Wanted

   Sweet Nothin's

Brenda Lee   1962

   I'll Be Seeing You

Brenda Lee   1965

   Let It Be Me

Brenda Lee   1966

   Kiss Away


Birth of Rock & Roll: Brenda Lee

Brenda Lee

Source: Muz-Lyrics

Birth of Rock & Roll: Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee Lewis

Source: Elvis Information Network

Boogie woogie pianist, Jerry Lee Lewis, was born in Ferriday, Louisiana, in 1935. He made his first demo recordings in 1952 for the price of $2.50 at Cosimo Matassa's J&M Recording Studios. His first issues were in 1956: 'End of the Road' b/w 'Crazy Arms' for Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Lewis also took part in a spontaneous jam session at Sun in 1956 with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley that got recorded. Those tracks are available on a CD titled 'Million Dollar Quartet'. Lewis' career was soaring when in 1958 he received publicity concerning his third of seven marriages in 1957 to thirteen year-old Myra Gale Brown, daughter of a cousin. Touring in England at the time, public outrage was sufficient to cancel the rest of his concerts and return to the States where his career was equally in ruins, dropping from concerts that earned him $10,000 a night to performances at beer joints for a couple hundred dollars. He continued recording with Sun Records until 1963, but his popularity yet had a bad limp and he did no better at Smash Records. In 1964 Lewis recorded his acclaimed album, 'Live at the Star Club', in Hamburg, though it wasn't released in the States. Not until 1968 did Lewis find track again, emphasizing country over rock, his issue of 'Another Place, Another Time' reaching No. 4 on the charts. From 1968 to 1977 he released 17 singles that emerged in the Top Ten on Billboard's country charts, four of them at No. 1. Lewis appeared at the Grand Ole Opry for the first time in 1973. He was also one of the few musicians throughout this history who had a thing for guns but oughtn't have. In September of 1976 he accidentally shot his bass player, Butch Owens, in the chest with a .357 he didn't think was loaded. (Owens survived, to tell it was a ricochet from a bottle Lewis shot that had hit him.) In November that year he crashed his new Lincoln Continental into the gate to Elvis Presley's home in Memphis, which fiasco with Presley's guard got him arrested for possession of a .38 derringer and public drunkenness. (Presley, who would die eight months later, didn't want to deal with Lewis' belligerent condition and had him sent to jail for sobering.) Howsoever, Lewis continued performing into the eighties with little more distressful occurring than hospitalizations for stomach troubles. Notable in 1986 was his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as well as his appearance on the album, 'Class of '55', with Johnny Cash, John Fogerty, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins. 1998 saw Lewis touring Europe with Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Having recorded more than forty albums, Lewis has managed to remain exceedingly popular into the new millennium and yet performs as of this writing.

Jerry Lee Lewis   1952

   New Orleans Boogie

    Demo recording 

   Don't Stay Away

    Demo recording

Jerry Lee Lewis   1956

   Crazy Arms

   End Of The Road

Jerry Lee Lewis   1957

   Great Balls of Fire

    Filmed live

  Great Balls of Fire

    'Steve Allen Show'

  Great Balls of Fire

    Studio version

Jerry Lee Lewis   1964

   Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

    Television performance



Birth of Rock & Roll: Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison

Source: Bellazon


Roy Orbison (The Big O) was born in 1936 in Vernon, Texas. (How many times have I been through there, hauling Colorado produce to Houston?) He was in high school when he put together his first band, the Wink Westerners. He liked country standards and Glenn Miller at the time. After graduating he attended college while working in Texas oil fields, his intention to become a geologist. Yet he was still drawn to music, finding time to form a band called the Teen Kings. Orbison is among the most beloved figures in rock & roll. It is thought that one of the factors lending the quality of his voice was his polite and quiet shyness, a certain tremulous hesitation as if he might be punished if he made a sound. It is said as well that Orbison was something startled by the fearless forwardness of some musicians, such as his college classmate, Pat Boone, blowing off school upon obtaining a record contract, or Elvis Presley's shameless motions onstage. That is, James Brown he was not. Orbison brought to rock & roll something of a sensitivity at the other side of the spectrum that served him well in his development toward indubitable mastery of his stock and trade. Be as may, Orbison and the Teen Kings made their first recordings, 'Ooby Dooby' with 'Trying to Get to You', in 1956 with Je–Wel Records (later Jewel). That disc is a rare collectible with Orbison's name spelled wrong on 'Ooby Dooby' and 'Trying to Get to You' mistitled 'Trying to Get You'. 'Ooby Dooby' was recorded again with 'Go! Go! Go!' at Sun Records and released the same year. The song meet with moderate success, after which they toured with Sonny James, Johnny Horton and Johnny Cash. Howsoever, Orbison left Sun the next year and kicked about for the next few while performing in various capacities, training his voice as he attempted to sell songs. In 1960 'Only the Lonely' was released by Monument, reaching No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100. An appearance on 'American Bandstand' followed, then a three-month tour with Patsy Cline. In 1961 'Running Scared' reached No. 1 on Billboard. He then found that sunglasses helped with stage fright, toning down the confronting world, as he began wearing black to add mystery to his soft and quiet persona. He remained an entertainer who simply was not. Most entertainers have "Look at me! I'm it!" built into their personalities whether they're it or not. But Orbison was yet performing with "I'd best be invisible" in his head. Breaking into the music business at all, lured by liking to write songs, was truly a major achievement for Orbison, alike he'd taken Nietzsche's challenge to pursue the thing most difficult to him, alike President Kennedy's speech about going to the moon, not because it's easy, but because it's hard. Yet somehow it worked. Orbison had opportunity to play in the UK in 1963, opening for the yet unknown Beatles who were something perplexed as Orbison performed dead still on stage, to fourteen encores, he prevented from taking more so that they, too, could play. In 1964 Orbison upped his ante with 'It's Over' and 'Oh Pretty Woman', performed with the Bill Dees, and took home the pot in both the UK and United States, 'Oh Pretty Woman' reaching Billboard's No. 1 tier for fourteen weeks. Orbison continued recording and touring but wasn't able to reproduce the success of 'Oh Pretty Woman'. What supported him through the seventies was smart real estate investments rather than music. The eighties saw Orbison begin to come around again by various means of recognition, including election into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 1988 he appeared on the album, 'The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1', with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. That LP gaining the No. 3 spot in the States, the specter had made himself manifest again and he poured on the work. Unfortunately he gave his last performance in December that year at the Front Row Theater in Highland Heights, Ohio, dying two days later (December 6) of heart attack after dinner at his mother's house in Hendersonville, Tennessee. His album, 'Mystery Girl', posthumously reached the No. 5 position in the States. Per below, several of the later live edits were originally released much earlier in Orbison's career.

Roy Orbison   1956

   Go! Go! Go!

   Ooby Dooby

   That's Alright Mama

Roy Orbison   1958

   Almost Eighteen

Roy Orbison   1961


   Running Scared

Roy Orbison   1964


      Filmed live

   Oh Pretty Woman

Roy Orbison   1965


      Filmed live

  Running Scared

      Filmed live

Roy Orbison   1967

   Far Far Away

Roy Orbison   1987

   Oh, Pretty Woman

      Filmed live

Roy Orbison   1988


      Filmed live with KD Lang

   In Dreams

      Filmed live

   You Got It

      Filmed live

Roy Orbison   1989

   A Love So Beautiful

Roy Orbison   1992

   I Drove All Night

      Music video



Birth of Rock & Roll: Neil Sedaka

Neil Sedaka

Source: Senior Plaza


Pop musician, Neil Sedaka, was born in 1939 in Brooklyn. He studied classical piano as a child. He first recorded at age seventeen, playing chimes for the Willows ('Church Bells May Ring'). He was also a founding member of the doo wop group, the Linc-Tones, which became the Tokens, recording with them as well in 1956. The next year he grooved his first solo single, 'Showtime' with 'Laura Lee' flipside. It was with 'Oh! Carol' in 1959 that he began making a world presence of himself. That song only reached No. 9 in the States, but it topped all contenders in Italy, the UK, and Japan. In 1961 Sedaka began recording in other languages, notably Italian. 1962 saw the pinnacle of Sedaka's career with the releases of 'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (No. 1) and 'Next Door to an Angel' (No. 5). He continued charting high into the seventies though, and has enjoyed great popularity ever since. Sedaka yet performs on tour as of this writing, his last studio album, 'The Real Neil', released in 2012.

Neil Sedaka   1956

   Church Bells May Ring

    With the Willows 

Neil Sedaka   1957

   Laura Lee


Neil Sedaka   1961

   Calendar Girl

   I Must Be Dreaming

   Little Devil

Neil Sedaka   1972

   Trying to Say Goodbye

Neil Sedaka   1975

   Bad Blood

Neil Sedaka   2009

   Love Will Keep Us Together

      Live performance



Rock n roll had its origins in R&B. Much coinciding with its becoming known as rock and roll was its injection with country western chemicals. A good early example of rock and roll arriving from out of country western territory is Bill Haley. Warren Smith was a country musician emerging but a few years later who made great contributions to rockabilly. He was born in 1932 in Humphreys County, Mississippi, taking up guitar while he was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, in the Air Force. Smith released his first plate, 'Rock & Roll Ruby'/'I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry' in 1956 for Sun Records, followed by 'Ubangi Stomp'/'Black Jack David'. Moving to Liberty Records in 1960, Smith scored a No. 5 position on the charts with 'I Don't Believe I'll Fall in Love Today'. In 1965 Smith was involved in an auto accident that removed him from stage for nigh a year with bad back injuries. Attempts to reenter the music business were unsuccessful as he became addicted to pharmaceuticals, leading to 18 months in prison for robbing a pharmacy. Recordings thereafter came to negligible results, though was able to recover his career sufficiently to eventually make a tour to Europe in 1977 where he remained very popular in the UK. His death by heart attack in 1980, however, halted any further intentions of revival.

Warren Smith   1956

   Black Jack David

   Rock 'n' Roll Ruby

   Ubangi Stomp

Warren Smith   1957

   So Long I'm Gone

Warren Smith   1959

   Sweet Sweet Girl

Warren Smith   1960

   I Don't Believe I'll Fall In Love Today


Birth of Rock & Roll: Warren Smith

Warren Smith

Source: Last FM

Birth of Rock & Roll: Conway Twitty

Conway Twitty

Source: Tunnel

A lot of country musicians have been drawn to rock. Conway Twitty was the reverse, a rocker who went country western. Born in 1933 in Mississippi, Twitty made his first rock n roll recording, 'Just In Time', in 1956. He died in 1993. More Conway Twitty in A Birth of Country Western.

Conway Twitty   1956

   Just In Time

Conway Twitty   1957

   Born to Sing the Blues/I Need Your Lovin'

Conway Twitty   1958

   I'll Try

   It's Only Make Believe

Conway Twitty   1959

   Lonely Blue Boy

   Mona Lisa

Conway Twitty   1960

   Splish Splash

   What Am I Living For

   She's Mine


  Born Vincent Eugene Craddock in 1935, Gene Vincent dropped out of high school in Norfolk, Virginia, at age seventeen to join the Navy (1952). Though he had lifer intentions Craddock had a motorcycle accident in 1955 resulting in a medical discharge and a limp. Being returned to Norfolk, Craddock changed his name to Gene Vincent and formed the rockabilly band, the Blue Caps (among the nicer terms for sailors at the time), which original members were Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), Jack Neal (upright bass), Dickie Harrell (drums) and lead guitarist, Cliff Gallup. The group's first release was 'Woman Love' in 1956 backed on side B with 'Be-Bop-A-Lula'. 'Be-Bop-A-Lula' spent 20 weeks at No. 5 on both Billboard and Cashbox charts. Vincent's first album, 'Bluejean Bop', was issued in 1956 as well. Vincent made his first tour of Europe in 1959. In 1960 he was in the same taxi as Eddie Cochran in the UK in which accident Cochran was thrown from the vehicle and killed. Vincent broke ribs and a collar bone. Songwriter, Sharon Sheeley, broke her pelvis. Vincent was touring again the next year and moved to England in 1963. In 1968 a drunken Vincent missed several times upon attempting to shoot Paul Raven (Gary Glitter) in his (Vincent's) room in Germany for messing with his girlfriend. Raven dodged wide, leaving Germany the next day. Among Vincent's last recordings in 1971 was 'Say Mama', those last four tracks available on the CD, 'White Lightning', issued in 2004. Unfortunately Vincent wasn't able to dodge the ruptured stomach ulcer that killed him while visiting his father in California in October of 1971. In 1997 Vincent became the first inductee to the newly formed Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame the next year. Several of the later edits below are live performances.

Gene Vincent   1956

   Ain't She Sweet


      First release Side B


   Race With the Devil

   Unchained Melody

   Up a Lazy River

   Woman Love

      First release Side A

Gene Vincent   1957

   B-I-Bickey-Bi, Bo-Bo-Go

   Important Words

   Lotta Lovin'

Gene Vincent   1958

   Baby Blue


      Filmed live with Eddie Cochran

   Rip It Up

      Filmed live with Eddie Cochran

Gene Vincent   1959

   Over the Rainbow

    'Town Hall Party'

Gene Vincent   1961

   I'm Goin' Home

   Lucky Star

Gene Vincent   1963


    Filmed live

Gene Vincent   1969

   Circle Never Broken/Lonesome Whistle

      Album: 'I'm Back And I'm Proud'

  Rainbow At Midnight

      Album: 'I'm Back And I'm Proud'

  Scarlet Ribbons

      Album: 'I'm Back And I'm Proud'

  White Lightning

      Album: 'I'm Back And I'm Proud'


Birth of Rock and Roll: Gene Vincent

Gene Vincent

Source: Ghost Greaser

  Born in 1930 in Vernon, Texas, the Big Bopper (Jiles Richardson) was a guitarist and songwriter who began his music career at KTRM radio (now KZZB), quitting college when what had been a part-time job became full-time employment in 1949 at age 19. Though soon drafted into the army for two years, Big Bopper returned to KTRM, eventually to become its musical director. His first recording, 'Beggar to a King', was released in 1958. Sadly, Richardson's career as a recording artist would be even shorter than was Buddy Holly's, as he was killed in an airplane crash, along with Holly and Ritchie Valens, in February of 1959 near Omaha, Nebraska. He was only age 29.

The Big Bopper   1957

   Beggar to a King

   Crazy Blues

The Big Bopper   1958

   Chantilly Lace

      Live on 'American Bandstand'

The Big Bopper   1959

   White Lightning


Birth of Rock & Roll: The Big Bopper

Big Bopper (Jiles Richardson)

Source: Sol Talk


  Blues guitarist, Lonnie Brooks, was born in Dubuisson, Louisiana, in 1933. He began his professional career touring with Clifton Chenier (Blues 4). But Brooks didn't want to travel to California with Chenier, preferring to form his own group. He assumed the moniker, Guitar Junior, and soon released his first solo plate with the Goldband label in 1957: 'I Got It Made (When I Marry Shirley Mae)'/'Family Rules (Angel Child)'. Both were his own compositions with Eddie Shuler. Releases of 'The Crawl'/'Now You Know' and 'Roll Roll Roll'/'Broken Hearted Rollin Tears' were made in 1958. All were written with Shuler except 'The Crawl', that by Shuler and Raymond Victorica. Brooks' first album occurred in 1969: 'Broke an’ Hungry'. His son, Ronnie Brooks, made his debut recording on 'Live From Chicago - Bayou Lightning Strikes' in 1988. Brook's other son, Wayne, began playing in Brooks' band in 1990. Brooks has remained active well into the new millennium. Among other of Brooks' compositions were 'Brand New Mojo Hand', 'Don't Take Advantage of Me', 'I Want All My Money Back', 'Messed Up' and 'Mr. Somebody'. More Lonnie Brooks in A Birth of the Blues 3.

Guitar Junior   1957

   I Got It Made

       Composition: Shuler/Brooks

Guitar Junior   1958

   Broken Hearted Rollin' Tears

       Composition: Shuler/Brooks

   The Crawl

       Composition: Shuler/Victorica

   Now You Know

       Composition: Shuler/Brooks

   Roll Roll Roll

       Composition: Shuler/Brooks

Guitar Junior   1959

   Knocks Me Out

       Composition: Brooks

Lonnie Brooks   1965

   The Frog

       Composition: Baker McGinnis

Lonnie Brooks   1967


       Composition: Judy Cobb

   Mr. Hot Shot

       Composition: Brooks/Milton Bland



Birth of Rock & Roll: Lonnie Brooks

Lonnie Brooks

Source: Friday Blues Fix

Birth of Rock & Roll: Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke

Source: Famous People

R&B and soul singer, Sam Cooke, was born in 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi (about ground zero as a Delta blues hub). He was with a gospel group called the Soul Stirrers when, apart from that group, he released his first recording (December 1956 session) in early 1957 as Dale Cook, a doo wop melody titled 'Lovable' b/w 'Forever'. His move from gospel to R&B proved unacceptable to both the Soul Stirrers and Specialty Records, he then moving to Keen Records to release 'You Send Me/Summertime' in 1957. Fledgling Keen Records couldn't have been more delighted, 'You Send Me' rising to No. 1 on Billboard. Cooke followed that into the sixties with numerous releases gaining top-tier positions on the charts, including his live album, 'Sam Cooke at the Copa' released in October 1964. In December of '64 Hell arrived when he took a date, one Elisa Boyer, to the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles. Cooke was at the least drunk when Boyer found an opportunity to either flee or leave the room, with Cooke's clothes, accidentally or otherwise. Cooke came out of the bathroom in his room, discovered Boyer and his clothing gone, then went to the motel's office, wearing nothing but a sports jacket and one if not both shoes. An altercation arose with the motel manager, Bertha Franklin, during which Franklin shot Cooke in the torso in self defense. His last words may have been, "Lady, you shot me," after which he attacked her again, Franklin defending herself with a broomstick until Cooke died. Etta James who viewed his corpse wrote that his injuries were beyond what a broomstick could deliver, his head nigh separated from his body. Howsoever, Franklin was eventually compensated by the Cooke estate to the tune of $30,000. Cooke was only 33 years old, yet one more victim of alcohol. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Sam Cooke   1957


   You Send Me

Sam Cooke   1960

   Unchained Melody

   Wonderful World

Sam Cooke   1962

   Bring It On Home

Sam Cooke   1963

   A Change Is Gonna Come

   Shake, Rattle and Roll

   Twisting the Night Away

Sam Cooke   1964



  Freddy Fender was born Baldemar Garza Huerta in San Benito, Texas, in 1937. He first appeared on radio, KGBT, at age ten. He dropped out of high school at age sixteen and was in the U.S. Marines the next year. He was discharged early, yet an E-1, for multiple incidents involving alcohol. He is thought to have released his first vinyl no earlier than 1957 as Beldemat Huerta, such as 'No Seas Cruel (Don't Be Cruel)' and 'Ay Amor'. Huerta made numerous recordings in Spanish into 1959. His last to be released as Huerta, 'Botecito De Vela' (with 'El Twist' A side), is also thought to be his first release as Freddie Fender no earlier than 1959. Among other early releases circa 1959 as Fender were 'Rocanroleando', 'Jamas Corazon', 'Adios A Jamaica' (an earlier version released circa 1957), 'Te Esperare' and his first releases in English: 'Mean Woman' and 'Holy One'. Huerta legally change his name to Freddy Fender in 1958, after the guitar manufacturer, though continued recording as Huerta. In 1960 Huerta was arrested for marijuana possession and sent to prison for a few years. Which also put an end to upward mobility as a rock musician, he working as a mechanic upon release, attending junior college and playing only on weekends. Fender's career suddenly went stratospheric upon the release of 'Before The Next Teardrop Falls' in 1975 (recorded 1974). His next gold record was 'Wasted Days and Wasted Nights', released the same year. (He had issued an earlier version in 1960 with moderate success before going to prison.) He then pursued his career as a largely pop and country musician, among those representative of the Tex-Mex genre. Fender's last studio issue was 'La Música de Baldemar Huerta' in 2001. In 2002 Fender required a kidney transplant, followed by a liver transplant in 2004, followed by lung cancer the next year. He gave his last concert in December 2005, dying of lung cancer in 2006 in Corpus Christie, Texas.

Baldemar Huerta   1957?

 No Seas Cruel (Don't Be Cruel)

  El Rock De La Prision (Jailhouse Rock)

     Also issued as 'El Rock de la Carcel'

Baldemar Huerta   1958?

 Encaje de Chantilly (Chantilly Lace)

Baldemar Huerta   1959?

 Botecito de Vela

     Possibly also as Freddie Fender

  Jamas Corazon

 Te Esperare

Freddy Fender   1959

 Holy One

  Mean Woman

Freddy Fender   1960

 Crazy Baby

  Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Freddy Fender   1975

 Are You Ready For Freddy


  Before The Next Teardrop Falls

    Music video

Freddy Fender   1979

 Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

     Filmed live

Freddy Fender   2001

 Rayito de Luna

    Album: 'La Música de Baldemar Huerta'


Birth of Rock & Roll: Freddy Fender

Freddy Fender

Source: SP Clarke
Birth of Rock and Roll: Trini Lopez

Trini Lopez

Source: Gibson
Trini Lopez was born in 1937 in Dallas, TX, to Mexican immigrants, his father a musician. As such, he's one of the greatest overall talents of Mexican heritage in these histories. As Lopez' website tells it, his father gave him his first guitar when he was eleven, feeling bad about a spanking he'd gifted him as well. He also taught Trini to play the instrument. But he couldn't help him with his formal education, Trini needing to drop out of high school his senior year to assist the family with income. Lopez formed his first band, the Big Beats, at age 15 in Wichita Falls, TX. In 1957 he crossed paths with Buddy Holly who became instrumental to his debut record issue with the Big Beats, recorded in Clovis, NM, in 1957 for Columbia: 'Clark's Expedition' bw 'Big Boy', both instrumentals. Lopez then left the Big Beats to issue his first solo plate in 1958: 'The Right to Rock' bw 'Just Once More'. It took a while and quite a few singles before 'If I Had a Hammer' visited #3 on Billboard's US in 1963 (on his '63 debut album, 'Trini Lopez at PJ's'). The next year 'Michael' and 'Lemon Tree' charted at #7 and #2 on Billboard's AC. 1966 and '67 were also huge years for Lopez with Top Ten AC titles, 'I'm Comin' Home, Cindy' (#2), 'La Bamba Part 1' (#9), 'Gonna Get Along Without Ya Now' (#6)and 'The Bramble Bush' (#4). Lopez' popularity was in the wane by the seventies though far from disappeared, he issuing about 65 albums into the new millennium. In 1964 Lopez worked with Gibson Guitar to design the Trini Lopez Standard and Deluxe guitars, in production until 1971. Lopez also did a little acting, one example his role as one of 'The Dirty Dozen' in 1967. He played himself in 'The Phynx' (1970). Among Lopez' latest issues was 'Into The Future' in 2011. Per 1966 below, with the exception of 'Trini' tracks are from Lopez' LP, 'The Second Latin Album'.

Trini Lopez   1958

   The Right to Rock

Trini Lopez   1959

   Here Comes Sally

   It Hurts to Be In Love

   Nobody Loves Me

   Rock On

   Yes You Do

   I'm Just a Poor Little Schemer

Trini Lopez   1960

   Don't Treat Me That Way

   Jeanie Marie

   The Search Goes On

Trini Lopez   1961

   One Heart, One Life, One Love

Trini Lopez   1963



   If I Had a Hammer

       With telecast

   Kansas City

Trini Lopez   1964

   The Latin Album




Trini Lopez   1965

   Pretty Eyes


Trini Lopez   1966


   Sin Ti

   Spanish Harlem




Trini Lopez   1967

   The Blizzard Song

       Fresca promotion for Coca Cola

Trini Lopez   1968

   Crazy Arms

       LP: 'Welcome to Trini Country'

Trini Lopez   1999





Birth of Rock and Roll: Magic Sam

Magic Sam

Source: VK

Magic Sam (Born Samuel Maghett in 1937) was a Chicago blues guitarist, having left Mississippi with his family in 1950. After forming his first band in 1955, his first recording in 1957, age twenty, was 'All Your Love'. It was during that session that his bass player, Mack Thompson, renamed Sam Maghett to Magic Sam. About 1960 he was drafted into the Army, deserted and was given half a year in prison with a dishonorable discharge. He began touring the States, Great Britain and Germany during the early sixties. He was yet rising in stature when he died of heart attack in 1969, only 32 years of age. More Magic Sam in Blues 3.

Magic Sam   1957

   21 Days In Jail

   Love Me With a Feeling

Magic Sam   1958

   Look Watcha Done

Magic Sam   1963

   Feelin' Good

Magic Sam   1967

   I Don't Want No Woman

   I Wanna Boogie

Magic Sam   1968

   Magic Touch - Live At Sylvio's


   You Don't Love Me Baby

Magic Sam   1969

   All Your Love/Magic Sam's Boogie

       American Folk Blues Festival



Ricky Nelson was born Eric Hilliard Nelson in 1940 in Teaneck, New Jersey. He was the heartthrob darling of early rock and roll, what teen magazines with pages that unfolded into posters of idols to tack onto  bedroom walls were all about. Nelson began his professional career in 1949 at age nine on 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet' radio show. He then became a television star when the televised version began broadcasting in 1952. Nelson recorded his first single in 1957: 'A Teenager's Romance' A side, 'I'm Walking' B side. Churning out one high-charting song after another into the sixties, his last to reach Billboard's Top Forty was 'Garden Party' in 1972. His untimely death at age 45 in 1985, due to a plane incident in Dallas, put the whole nation on pause. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

Ricky Nelson   1957

   Be Bop Baby

   Bye Bye Love

     Filmed live 


   A Teenager's Romance

      First release   Side A

   I'm Walking

      First release   Side B

   You're My One and Only Love

Ricky Nelson   1959

   It's Late

Ricky Nelson   1960

   You Are the Only

Ricky Nelson   1961


   Travelin' Man

Ricky Nelson   1963

   Fools Rush In

Ricky Nelson   1967

   Big Chief Buffalo Nickel

Ricky Nelson   1972

   Garden Party

Ricky Nelson   1979

   Dream Lover


Birth of Rock & Roll: Ricky Nelson

Ricky Nelson

Source: Rick Nelson

Birth of Rock & Roll: Fabian


Source: Wikimedia Commons
Fabian Forte was born Fabiano Anthony Forte in 1943 to a Philadelphia cop. He was in high school and working at a pharmacy when Chancellor Records began grooming him to become a professional singer at $30 a week. His first vinyl release was 'Shivers'/'I'm In Love' in 1958, followed by an appearance on 'American Bandstand'. His first to rise to the Top Forty was 'I'm a Man' in 1959. He then pierced the Top Ten that year with 'Turn Me Loose' at No. 9. "Tiger', reaching No. 3 that year, was his last to chart so high. Fabian's first album was also released in 1959: 'Hold That Tiger'. Fabian figured his income to be about $250,000 a year, before graduating from high school in 1960. His heydays as a recording artist, however, were essentially over when he left Chancellor for Dot in 1963. Having already begun his career in film in 1959 with 'Hound-Dog Man', he had appeared in several more films before signing up with American International Pictures in 1965. No longer the Fabian he once was, he began billing himself as Fabian Forte in 1969. He returned to singing again in 1973, the same year he posed partially nude for 'Playgirl' magazine. In 1982 he stuck a district attorney on the same plane with a cigarette when he was asked to put it out. No charges. In 1985 he joined Frankie Avalon and Bobby Rydell in the formation of the Golden Boys, with which he has performed into the new millennium. Fabian yet gives shows regularly, he and his wife, Andrea, also working for 'Gladys Magazine'.

Fabian   1959

   Gonna Make You Mine

   Hound Dog Man

   Stop Thief

     'American Bandstand'


     'American Bandstand'

   Turn Me Loose

     'American Bandstand'

   Turn Me Loose

     Studio recording


Birth of Rock and Roll: John Fred & the Playboys<

John Fred & the Playboys

Photo: Johnnie Allan Archives

Source: Blues Art
John Fred & the Playboys were formed when Fred was fifteen in 1956. The group issued its first plate in 1958: 'My Love For You' bw 'Shirley'. He then appeared on the 'Alan Freed Show', but had to back off an invitation to 'American Bandstand' due to commitments to his college basketball team. The single, 'Mirror, Mirror (On the Wall)', was released the next year with 'To Have and to Hold' flip side. 'Down In New Orleans' bw 'I Love You' followed in 1961 with 'Good Lovin'' bw 'You Know You Made Me Cry'. Fred & the Playboys toiled into the sixties without a lot of success until the band became John Fred & the Playboy Band to distinguish it from Gary Lewis & the Playboys. The last Playboys release is thought to have been 'Outta My Head' bw 'Loves Come In Time' in 1966. Two Playboys albums were released in '66 and '67: 'John Fred and His Playboys' and '34:40 of John Fred and His Playboys'. Fred's later more successful career, yielding 'Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)', was with the Playboy Band. Per 1966 below, tracks are from the 1967 album, '34:40 of John Fred and His Playboys'.

John Fred & the Playboys   1958


John Fred & the Playboys   1959

   Mirror Mirror (On The Wall)

John Fred & the Playboys   1960

   You Know You Made Me Cry

John Fred & the Playboys   1964

   Dial 101


   You're Mad at Me

John Fred & the Playboys   1965

   Boogie Children

   How Can I Prove

   Wrong to Me

John Fred & the Playboys   1966

   Loves Come In Time

   Outta My Head

   Sun City



Birth of Rock and Roll: Joyce Harris

Joyce Harris

Photo: Domino Records

Source: Doo-Wop Blogg

Joyce Harris (aka Sinner Strong) was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1939. She began her recording career in 1958 as a duo with her sister, Judy. Those were 'He’s the One', 'Hey, Pretty Baby' and 'Rock and Roll Kittens' for Dot, Decca and Seville respectively. Judy appears in all the tracks below for year 1958. Harris first solos released apart from her sister were the next year with 'It’s You'/'The Boy In School'. She began using the name, Sinner Strong, in 1962. She ceased recording, however, in the early sixties. Between then and presently she has toured California, Las Vegas and the Gulf states. Residing in Sun, Louisiana, she yet performs as of this writing. More of Harris in Doo Wop under the Slades.

Joyce Harris   1958

   He's the One

   Nursery Rock

   Washboard Sam

   Rock and Roll Kittens

Joyce Harris   1960

   Got My Mojo Working

Joyce Harris   1961

   No Way Out

Joyce Harris   1963

   Don't Knock It

     As Sinner Strong



Rockabilly master Ronnie Hawkins managed to put together one of the most extraordinary ensembles in rock and roll, known as the Hawks, which upon leaving Hawkins in 1964 would soon reshape themselves as The Band. Hawkins released his first vinyl in 1958: 'Hey Bo Diddley' b/w 'Love Me Like You Can'. The Hawks' first record release in 1959 was 'Forty Days', drummer Levon Helm a member of the Hawks from their inception. That same year Hawkins cut his first LP, titled simply 'Ronnie Hawkins'. Bassist and fiddler, Rick Danko, and guitarist Robbie Robertson joined the Hawks in 1960, the same year Hawkins produced his two albums, 'Mr. Dynamo' and 'Folk Ballads of Ronnie Hawkins'. In 1961 Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel would join the Hawks, both keyboardists and horn players. Hawkins moved to Canada in 1964, affecting the formation of The Band which members preferred to pursue their careers in the States. Hawkins eventually came to reside in Peterborough, Ontario. A young Pat Travers joined Hawkins' band in 1974. In 1989 he reunited with early members of the Hawks (basically The Band) at a concert celebrating the leveling of the Berlin Wall. In 1992 he performed for the newly inaugurated President, Bill Clinton. He's also performed for several Canadian prime ministers and former president of Poland, Lech Walesa. Hawkins has since remained a favored adopted son in Canada, receiving an honorary doctorate from Laurentian University in 2005. Though plagued or recent with pancreatic cancer, Hawkins yet performs as of this writing.

Ronnie Hawkins   1958

   Hey! Bo Diddley

   Like Me Like You Can

Ronnie Hawkins   1959

   Forty Days

   Mary Lou

Ronnie Hawkins   1960

   Ruby Baby

   Hay Ride

Ronnie Hawkins   1963

   Who Do You Love

      Composition: Bo Diddley

   Bo Diddley

      Composition: Bo Diddley

Ronnie Hawkins   1964

   Mojo Man

   Suzie Q

      Composition: Dale Hawkins

Ronnie Hawkins   1972

   Lonesome Town


Birth of Rock & Roll: Ronnie Hawkins

Ronnie Hawkins

Source: Discogs


Jan and Dean (William Jan Berry born 1941 and Dean Ormsby Torrence born 1940) were a unique West Coast partnership that initially pursued doo wop in Los Angeles, out of which they developed the surf sound that the Beach Boys would find to be a magic carpet in the early sixties. Jan and Dean were originally the Barons, formed in high school (which group included future Beach Boy, Bruce Johnston). It was as the Barons that Jan and Dean recorded their first demos in the garage of Berry's parents' home (one track among them below). Jan and Dean released their first singles as Jan and Arnie in 1958 ('Jennie Lee' A side, 'Gotta Getta Date' B side). They would release 'Baby Talk' the next year as Jan and Dean. The pair scored continual high spots on Billboard and Cash Box into the sixties, until 1966 when Jan struck a parked truck with his Corvette in Beverly Hills. Resultant brain damage and partial paralysis required a year, during which time Jan learned to walk again and write with his left hand. The duo was working together again in 1967. Though their heydays were over they hardly dropped out of sight, remaining active until Jan's death in 2004. Dean continues to perform as of this writing.

Jan and Dean   1958

   Gotta Getta Date

      As the Barons   Demo

   Jennie Lee

      As Jan & Arnie

   Gotta Getta Date

      As Jan & Arnie

   Gas Money

      As Jan & Arnie

   Bonnie Lou

      As Jan & Arnie

   The Beat That Can't Be Beat

      As Jan & Arnie

   I Love Linda

      As Jan & Arnie

Jan and Dean   1959

   Baby Talk

      Live on 'American Bandstand'

Jan and Dean   1960


Jan and Dean   1963

   Surf City

      Composition: Brian Wilson

Jan and Dean   1964

   Drag City

   Deadman's Curve

Jan and Dean   1979

   I Get Around

      Filmed live with Papa Doo


Birth of Rock and Roll: Jan and Dean

Jan & Dean

Source: PDX Retro

  Lou Reed was born in 1942 in Brooklyn. He began his career as a teenager with electroconvulsive therapy for depression. He may have grooved his first vinyl with a doo wop group called the Shades, a couple of promos: 'Talkin' Guitar'/'All Day Long' circa 1958. Though not positively identified, the Jades, with which Reed recorded a number of songs in 1958, are thought to have originally been the Shades. (Since the presence of Reed on those recordings remain moot they aren't listed below. But they may be heard, at Dangerous Minds.) Howsoever, Reed's first vinyl issue was with the Jades in 1958: 'Leave Her For Me'/'So Blue' for Time Records. In 1962 he recorded a couple of solos as Lewis Reed, 'Your Love'/'Merry Go Round', released by Norton Records. Reed graduated from Syracuse University in 1964 with a bachelor's in English, the same year he moved to NYC, finding employment as a songwriter at Pickwick Records. He partnered with John Cale in a band called the Primitives that year as well, issuing 'The Ostrich'/'Sneaky Pete'. It was with Cale that he formed the Velvet Underground, christened such in November of 1965 after a book by Michael Leigh addressing abnormal sexual behaviors. The first four albums by Velvet Underground would find their way onto 'Rolling Stone' magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Cale left Velvet Underground in '68 and Reed in 1970, though reunions between its members would variously occur over the years. It was that year that Reed issued the album, 'Loaded'. Among Reed's latter reunions with Cale was the 1990 issue of 'Songs For Drella'. Reed died in October 2013 at his home in Southampton, New York. Per below, tracks by Velvet Underground are not included. Such may be found at Velvet Underground in Sixties American Rock.

Lou Reed   1958

   Leave Her For Me/So Blue

      With the Jades

Lou Reed   1962

   Merry Go Round/Your Love

     First solo recordings 

Lou Reed   1964

   The Ostrich/Sneaky Pete

     With John Cale and the Primitives

Lou Reed   1965

   Why Dont You Smile Now

      With John Cale and Dannie Burkes

Lou Reed   1970



Lou Reed   1972



Lou Reed   1973



Lou Reed   1974

   Sweet Jane

     Filmed live

Lou Reed   1984

   Live at Capitol Theatre

     Filmed concert in Passaic NJ

Lou Reed   1986

   Live at the Ritz

     Filmed concert in NYC

Lou Reed   1990

   Songs For Drella

     Filmed concert with John Cale

Lou Reed   1992


Lou Reed   1997

   Live at Shoreline Amphitheatre

     Filmed concert in Mountain View CA


Birth of Rock and Roll: Lou Reed

Lou Reed

Source: Mme Laurin

Birth of Rock & Roll: Ritchie Valens

Ritchie Valens

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Source: Napster

Ritchie Valens (Richard Valenzuela born 1941) was a natural in whom a lot of hope had been placed, first recording in July of 1958 as a high school student, such as 'Come On, Let's Go'/'Framed', released in 1958. A chicano from the Los Angeles region, those recordings gave him reason to quit school to pursue an already professional career. (Among those recordings in 1958 is a collection of tracks not released at that time, first made available by Ace on the 1992 album, 'Ritchie Valens - The Lost Tapes'.) Unfortunately Valens' was one of the briefest careers in music history. His next recordings, also released in 1958, were his last: 'Donna'/'La Bamba'. The kid who was expected to rocket to the big time was killed in February of 1959. Seems misfortune came dressed as a lucky coin toss, after which Ritchie hopped into a three-passenger plane that went down during a snow storm in Nebraska. Buddy Holly, Jiles Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson, were killed as well. (Sudden death via air transport hasn't been infrequent in the music industry. There is a list of such incidents at Listverse.)

Ritchie Valens   1958

   Come On Let's Go


   Oh Donna

   La Bamba


Birth of Rock & Roll: Bruce Channel

Bruce Channel

Source: From the Vaults
Bruce Channel was a rockabilly musician born in 1940 in Jacksonville, TX. In 1959 he composed 'Hey! Baby' with Margaret Cobb, which he performed for two years before recording it in 1961. 'Hey! Baby' went gold, but it's about his only tune that rang a bell, though his '68 release of 'Keep On' did well in the UK. Channel released his first titles in April 1959 for Teen Ager Records: 'Run, Romance, Run' bw 'Don't Leave Me'. Following that December were 'Will I Ever Love Again' bw 'Slow Down Baby' for King Records. 1960 saw the issue of 'Boy! This Stuff Kills Me' with 'Now Or Never', also for King. 'Hey! Baby' followed the next year with 'Dream Girl' on back. Channel wasn't a fan of touring, trading performing for songwriting in the seventies. Though enjoying some success in that capacity he's remained a peripheral figure to audiences in general, his name not well-known with 'Hey! Baby' now more than half a century in the past.

Bruce Channel   1959

  Don't Leave Me

  Run, Romance Run

  Will I Ever Love Again

Bruce Channel   1960

  Boy! This Stuff Kills Me

  Now Or Never

Bruce Channel   1961

  Dream Girl

  Hey! Baby

Bruce Channel   1962

  Hey! Baby


  Number One Man

Bruce Channel   1968

  Keep On


Bruce Channel   2003

  Hey! Baby

      Filmed live

Bruce Channel   2012

  Hey! Baby

      Filmed live



Born in 1941 in Spring Gulley, South Carolina, Chubby Checker made his first recording, 'The Class', in 1959. By that time rock and roll had affected a cultural zeitgeist something alike the world had not before seen. Its affects per dance alone were major, to which Checker made a huge contribution in 1960 with his cover of the 'The Twist'. Hank Ballard had first recorded 'The Twist' in 1959, but it was Checker who got the publicity on the Saturday night 'Dick Clark Show' in August 1960, then Dick Clark's daytime show, 'American Bandstand'. Checker himself gives an apt example of the twist below on the 'Dick Clark Show'. Despite the big noise 'The Twist' made, Checker's career as a big dog was limited. With one exception his last singles to reach the Top Twenty were in 1963, the Top Forty in 1965. Though remaining popular in Europe Checker was on the oldies circuit by the seventies in the States. Then, something not seen a lot, Checker came back nearly fifty years after the 'The Twist' in 2008 with 'Knock Down the Walls', reaching No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Singles. In 2013 he issued the single, 'Changes'. Checker yet performs on tour as of this writing. In 2014 Checker sued Hewlitt-Packard when it released an app called 'The Chubby Checker', which function was to estimate penis size by shoe size. As for Checker, he never never very chubby, the only thing fat about him being his wallet as of the early sixties. In June 2015 Checker became the highest paid vocalist in the world with earnings of 82 million dollars since June of 2014. His estimated net worth at 245 million (compared to considerably more successful Mick Jagger, as a musician anyway, at only well over 300 million) has been wrought via the stock market, real estate, Cover Girl endorsements, seven restaurants, and his own lines of vodka (Pure Wonderchecker), perfume (With Love from Chubby) and fashion (Chubby Checker Seduction). Checker yet tours as of this writing.

Chubby Checker   1959

  The Class

Chubby Checker   1960

  The Hucklebuck

  The Twist

    'Dick Clark Show'

  The Twist

       Studio version


Birth of Rock & Roll: Chubby Checker

Chubby Checker

Source: Live Internet/Kakula


Birth of Rock & Roll: Dick Dale

Dick Dale

Source: Slammie/Atomic Grog

There were three major contributors to the development of surf rock, which was the rock in America's airwaves while the Brits were doing beat and merseybeat in England, preparing to invade. Those were Jan & Dean, the Beach Boys and guitarist Dick Dale. Unlike Jan & Dean and all but one of the Beach Boys, Dale was actually a surfer, and the surfing experience was a major element in the music he created. Born in 1937 in Boston, Dale made his first recordings on his father's Del-Tone record label in 1958: 'Ooo-Whee-Marie' backed with 'Breaking Heart' and 'Stop Teasing' backed by 'Without Your Love'. But it was during an extended engagement in 1961 at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Balboa, California that he began making a name for himself. One reason for that, beyond obvious mastery of his instrument, was his tendency to blow amplifiers. Dale's was not the sort of guitar playing the world had heard before. He played electric guitar and his interest was to push its technical limits. (Indeed, he's even been called the 'Father of Heavy Metal', long before Deep Purple was blowing eardrums in Japan.) Another reason Dale began creating a sensation was his style, which he at one time described as "pulsation," similar to rapid drumming. Altogether, what Dale was performing at the Rendezvous Ballroom might most aptly be described as electrifying. "Stomps" at the ballroom, with a 3,000 person capacity, were routinely sold out to audiences which came to energize. Dale released the single, 'Let's Go Trippin'', in 1961. His first album, 'Surfer's Choice', was released by Del-Tone in 1962. Dale would have only a couple more years to work before fate coupled him with rectal cancer, removing him from the music industry for another decade. Having become a vegetarian in 1972, Dale began performing again in the seventies. Even as cancer has continued to plague Dale into the new millennium he yet tours the States as of this writing. Beyond music, Dale has spent decades practicing martial arts. Tracks below are in chronological order by year only, being alphabetical thereunder.

Dick Dale   1959


Dick Dale   1960

   Jesse Pearl

   The Fairest of Them All

   Jungle Fever

   St. Louis Blues

Dick Dale   1961

   Del-Tone Rock

   Let's Go Trippin'


Dick Dale   1962


   Surf Beat

Dick Dale   1963

   Riders In the Sky

   Surfin' the Wedge

    'Ed Sullivan Show'

Dick Dale   1964

   Nitro Fuel

Dick Dale   1965

   Live at Ciro's


Dick Dale   1975

   Those Memories of You

Dick Dale   1983

   The Tigers Loose


Dick Dale   1990

   Bonzai Washout

Dick Dale   2008

   Amazing Grace

    Filmed live at KEXP


Birth of Rock & Roll: Dr. John

Dr. John

Source: BAM

Born Malcolm John Rebennack in 1940, Dr. John recorded as Mac Rebennack until creating his Dr. John voodoo character in 1968. He first recorded in 1957 as a session guitarist for Ace Records where he would back such as Huey Piano Smith, Joe Tex, Jimmy Clanton and Frankie Ford (Morgus per 1959 below). Rebennack's first name release was 'Storm Warning'/'Foolish Little Girl' in 1959 for Rex Records. Rebennack traded guitar for piano about 1960 upon being shot in the finger during a scuffle at a gig in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1961 he began recording for AFO (All For One), 'Sahara'/'Good Times' among them. In 1965 Rebennack relocated to Los Angles where he did session fork for such as Sonny & Cher, Canned Heat and Frank Zappa. In 1968 Rebennack became Dr. John the Night Tripper, voodoo healer, releasing the LP, 'Gris-Gris', that year. Among Dr. John's more important issues was 'Dr. John's Gumbo' in 1972, a collection of New Orleans R&B. He followed that the next year with the equally significant 'In the Right Place', a collection of New Orleans funk. 1976 found Dr. John performing on The Band's 'Last Waltz'. In 1979 he collaborated on Professor Longhair's last album, 'Crawfish Fiesta'. In addition to his own work, Dr. John has been among the most elite of session musicians, far more than only in demand, but one of those special tastes with whom one makes appointments. Dr. John also worked in the film industry, writing and performing the score for 'Cannery Row' in 1982, for instance. In 1989 he toured with Ringo Starr, resulting in the album, 'Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band'. Dr. John yet actively tours as of this writing. Per below, tracks through 1962 were recorded as Mac Rebennack. All tracks for 1968 are from the album, 'Gris-Gris', Rebennack's premier as Dr. John.

Dr. John   1959

   Morgus The Magnificent

     With Morgus and the Three Ghouls

   Storm Warning

Dr. John   1960

   New Orleans

     With Big Boy Miles 

Dr. John   1961


Dr. John   1962

   One Naughty Flat

   The Point

   'Twas the Night Before Christmas

     With Huey Piano Smith

   'Twas the Night Before Christmas

     With Huey Piano Smith   Instrumental

Dr. John   1968

   Danse Fambeaux

   Danse Kalinda Ba Doom

   I Walk On Guilded Splinters

   Mama Roux

Dr. John   1969



Dr. John   1970





Dr. John   1971

   The Sun The Moon & Herbs


Dr. John   1972

   Dr. John's Gumbo


Dr. John   1973

   In the Right Place


Dr. John   1974

   Desitively Bonnaroo


Dr. John   2014

   Leverkusener Jazztage 2014

     Filmed concert



Birth of Rock & Roll: Roy Head

Roy Head

Photo: Mel Evans/Associated Press

Source: USA Today

Guitarist and vocalist, Roy Head , was born in 1941 in San Marcos, Texas. He formed the Traits with rhythm guitarist, Tommy Bolton, in 1957. That group made its first recordings in 1959: 'One More Time', 'Don't Be Blue', 'Live It Up', 'Yes I Do', 'Buffalo Bop' and 'Rick Tick Tock'. They released their first two albums in 1965: 'Roy Head and The Traits' and 'Treat Me Right'. Head formed the Roy Head Trio in 1966, disbanding the following year upon starting to pursue a solo career. 1966 saw the issue of 'Wigglin' and Gigglin'' and 'To Make a Big Man Cry'. (The Traits continued without Head, Dean Scott assuming lead. A young Johnny Winter was in the band when the Traits released 'Parchman Farm' and 'Tramp' in 1967.) During the seventies Head turned to country music. He yet performs as of this writing.

Roy Head   1959

   Live It Up

   One More Time

   Yes I Do

Roy Head   1960

   Summertime Love

Roy Head   1962

   Got My Mojo Working

Roy Head   1965

   The Door I Used to Close

   Treat Her Right

Roy Head   1966

   Harlem Shuffle

      With guitarist Johnny Winter

Roy Head   1970

   She's About a Mover

Roy Head   1977

   Angel With a Broken Wing

   Come to Me

Roy Head   1978

   Now You See 'Em, Now You Don't

Roy Head   2010

   Treat Her Right

      Live performance


  At the age of eight drummer Bobby Rydell won himself a spot as a regular on the Paul Whiteman radio show where he kept for three years. He thereafter drummed with various Philadelphia bands (whereat born in 1942), including Rocco and the Saints at age 16, of which Frankie Avalon, also from Philadelphia, was a member as a trumpet player. Rydell turned from drums to voice and released his first record, 'Kissin' Time', at age seventeen. He released 'We Got Love' in 1959, selling a million copies. 'Wild One' was released in early 1960, selling another million, then 'Swingin' School', selling yet another mil. Touring internationally by then (Australia 1960), Rydell's heydays were in the sixties. He would place in the Top Forty 34 times during his career. During the seventies and eighties Rydell concentrated on nightclubs and casinos in Las Vegas. In 1985 he got together with Frankie Avalon and Fabian to form the Golden Boys, with which he has performed into the new millennium. Rydell saw major trouble in 2012 with the double transplant of his kidneys and liver. He was performing again half a year later in January 2013. Visiting Australia in 2014, Rydell continues to tour internationally as of this writing.

Bobby Rydell   1959

   Kissin' Time

     'Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show'

   We Got Love

    'Saturday Night Beech-Nut Show'

Bobby Rydell   1960


     Television performance

   Wild One

Bobby Rydell   1961

   Good Time Baby

Bobby Rydell   1965


Bobby Rydell   1968

   The Lovin' Things


Birth of Rock & Roll: Bobby Rydell

Bobby Rydell

Source: Nostalgia & Now


Soul vocalist, Tina Turner, was boen Anna Mae Bullock in 1939 in Nutbush, Tennessee. After graduating from high school she and her elder sister, Ruby, liked to visit nightclubs in St. Louis (MO) and East St. Louis (IL). She soon met Ike Turner and became a backup singer in his band. Turner first recorded with Ike's Kings of Rhythm in 1958: 'Box Top', released in 1959. She went by the name, Little Ann, at the time. In 1960 Ike changed Little Ann's name to Tina Turner for the release of 'A Fool In Love'that year. She and Ike married in 1962. The Ike & Tina Turner equation took the sixties by storm, though their first gold album wasn't until 1971: 'What You Hear Is What You Get', recorded live at Carnegie Hall. It was also 1971 that Turner began to explore Buddhism, by which her upbringing as a Baptist would evolve much modified. Turner's first solo album, 'Tina Turns the Country On!', was released in April 1974. Though Turner separated from Ike in 1974 they worked together professionally for another year. She filed for divorce from Ike in July of '76. Though abuse was involved she claimed irreconcilable differences. Divorce proceedings were complete in 1978. She meanwhile released the album, 'Acid Queen', in 1975. Upon Turner's split from Ike she directed her career to Las Vegas in a cabaret venue.  She made television appearances and her first tour as a solo act in 1977, to Australia. September 1978 saw the issue of her third solo album, 'Rough', several months after her divorce from Ike was finalized earlier that March. Turner hasn't missed a step since, among the larger names in rock music, sharing stature alongside such as Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney. Notable in 1984 was the issue of her album, 'Private Dancer'. She continued into the nineties with an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Her last song to chart in the Top Ten was 'I Don't Wanna Fight' in 1993. But that was only one aspect of a career pursued nonstop through the nineties as well, that is, she rocked her way into the millennium such that she began it with the gold album, 'Twenty Four Seven', and a concert tour worth $100,000,00 in 2000. In 2005 her record sales had exceeded 180 million. Her last concert tour is thought to have been completed in 2009. As of this writing Turner is believed to reside in England, France and Switzerland at her convenience.

Tina Turner   1959

   Box Top

Tina Turner   1970

   Come Together

Tina Turner   1974

   I'm Movin' On

Tina Turner   1975

   Let's Spend the Night Together

   Whole Lotta Love

Tina Turner   1984

   Private Dancer

   What's Love Got To Do With It

Tina Turner   1985

   Private Dancer Tour

    Filmed concert

Tina Turner   1990

   Simply the Best

Tina Turner   1994

   I Can't Stand the Rain


Birth of Rock & Roll: Tina Turner

Tina Turner

Source: The Playhouse

  First formed as a duo in 1958 by bass guitarist Bob Bogle and rhythm guitarist Don Wilson, the Versatones became the beach rock band, the Ventures, in 1959 upon recruiting lead guitarist Nokie Edwards (bass at first) and drummer Skip Moore. (Moore left the band upon recording 'Walk, Don't Run' in 1960. His replacement, George Babbitt Jr., was too young to play clubs, thus was replaced by Howie Johnson until 1962, after which Mel Taylor waved the sticks.) The Ventures' first record release was 'Cookies and Coke' b/w 'The Real McCoy' in 1959. 'Walk, Don't Run' was the band's first album, released the following year (1960). The Ventures yet tour with original guitarist Nokie Edwards to this day, being especially popular in Japan. Later live recordings below feature guitarist Kayama Yuzo.

The Ventures   1959

   Cookies and Coke

   The Real McCoy

The Ventures   1960

   No Trespassing

   Walk, Don't Run

The Ventures   1961

   The Ventures

     Second album

The Ventures   1965

   Driving Guitars

The Ventures   1968

   Hawaii Five-O

   Music video

The Ventures   1969

   Hawaii Five-O/Light My Fire

   Telecast with Trini Lopez

The Ventures   1990


    Filmed live in Japan

The Ventures   1998


     Filmed live with Yūzō Kayama

   Wipe Out

     Filmed live with Yūzō Kayama

   Yellow Jacket

     Filmed live with Yūzō Kayama


Birth of Rock & Roll: The Ventures

The Ventures

Source: M Time/Crozhj


Seventy Years of 'Blueberry Hill'

Composition: Vincent Rose    Lyrics: Al Lewis & Larry Stock

Sammy Kaye Orchestra   1940

Gene Autry   1941

Glenn Miller Orchestra   1941

Fats Domino   1956

Elvis Presley   1957

Little Richard   1958

Pat Boone   1958

Duane Eddy   1959

Mose Allison   1959

John Barry   1960

Chubby Checker   1961

Louis Armstrong   1961

Skeeter Davis   1961

Cliff Richard   1962

The Lettermen   1962

The Loved Ones   1966

San Remo Golden Strings   1966

The Everly Brothers   1967

Led Zeppelin   1970

Loretta Lynn   1971

Jerry Lee Lewis   1973

Adriano Celentano   1977

Jah Wobble   1980

Link Wray   1982

Mud   1982

Fats Domino   1985

Yellowman   1987

Bruce Cockburn & Margo Timmins   1999

Elton John   2007

Vladimir Putin   2010



  We temporarily suspend this history of early rock and roll with the Ventures. If the musician you're seeking isn't on this page please see the history tree below.



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