Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Rocket 88

Rocket 88 ad

Quick! What was the first rock n' roll song?

If you said "Rock Around The Clock" (1954), you're off by at least four years. "Clock" was the first number one hit with all the hallmarks: blues roots, a strong backbeat, a distinctive melody, lyrics targeting a young audience. Early rock geeks argue on behalf of various jump blues and boogie-woogie songs from the 40s (and even earlier), but the smart money's on a 1950 recording, "Rocket 88," alternately credited to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats and some dude named Ike Turner (and the Kings of Rhythm). Turner's on piano (he was the actual ringleader even if who composed the song is somewhat disputed), Brenston's on vox and sax, Sam Phillips is at the controls. And this really is a song about a car. No double entendre or anything (just disregard the above ad). More factoids for the curious here.

Rocket 88 - Ike Turner and His Kings of Rhythm (or Jackie Benston and His Delta Cats)

From Black Daddies (iTunes), but also appears on Rhythm Rockin' Blues (Amazon).

Keep forgetting to mention: My favorite (non-music) blog these days is an unpretentious thing called The Outfit. A group effort by a cabal of Chicago crime writers, including famous folks Sara Paretsky and Kevin Guilfoile, the blog covers way more than Chicago and crime fiction. Stuff like great first sentences, judging books by their covers, presidential abuse of power and drinking at the Billy Goat Tavern. My favorite post so far is one of Guilfoile's and starts like this: Ian McEwan wanted to know how long it would take to hack off another man's arm. Intrigued?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Michael Williams said...

Good choice. Tuwa Baab wrote a great post in the spring about his candidate: 'Rock’n’roll began at the exact moment when Wynonie Harris added a back beat to Roy Brown’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight.”' He's long since taken down the MP3s, so I've put them up here.

(p.s. Hi Amy!)

3:44 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Hi Mike. Long time no hear. I have seen that post (and I think it's Tuwa's blogmate who wrote it). But yeah, there's tons of discussion on this issue. FWIW, Rocket 88 is the RnR Hall of Fame's choice (ok, yeah, it's prob worth nothing).

4:23 PM  

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