Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup has been called "The Father of Rock and Roll," and
indeed, his "Down Home" blues style was the forerunner to a musical
revolution. By the time Rock and Roll was a commercial success, he was
spent, though his recordings and compositions, such as THAT'S ALL RIGHT,
MY BABY LEFT ME, MEAN OLD 'FRISCO BLUES, ROCKIN' MAMA, and SO GLAD
YOU'RE MINE, stand as the foundation for the "new" rhythm music.
"Big" Joe Turner was a "Jump-Blues" jazz singer from Kansas City in the
'30s and '40s. The early '50s, however, provided him with a new career in
the post-war Rhythm and Blues scene. His contributions during the
developing years of Rock and Roll include: CHAINS OF LOVE, SHAKE RATTLE
AND ROLL, HONEY HUSH, FLIP FLOP AND FLY, CORRINE CORRINA, THE
CHICKEN AND THE HAWK, FEELIN' HAPPY, MIDNIGHT CANNONBALL, and
"The Genius" drew from all musical forms and funneled that experience,
via his soul, on to the surface of more landmark recordings than we can
name here: I GOT A WOMAN, HALLELUJAH I LOVE HER SO, DROWN IN MY OWN
TEARS, ROCK HOUSE, LONELY AVENUE, THE NIGHT TIME IS THE RIGHT TIME,
WHAT'D I SAY, THIS LITTLE GIRL OF MINE, GEORGIA ON MY MIND, HIT THE
ROAD JACK, RUBY, I CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU, and BORN TO LOSE.
Fats Domino started out playing around New Orleans for tips and went on
to sell more than 65 million records. The music that he wrote and sang
will stand as more than a cornerstone in the legacy of Rock and Roll: THE
FAT MAN, PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME, AIN'T THAT A SHAME, I'M IN LOVE
AGAIN, MY BLUE HEAVEN, BLUEBERRY HILL, I'M WALKIN' SICK AND TIRED, I'M
READY, I WANT YOU TO KNOW, and I'VE BEEN AROUND.
The Clovers, from Washington, D.C., were one of the most successful
Rhythm and Blues acts of the early "Doo-Wop" period. Their "street-corner"
harmonies won them many fans, awards and hit records, such as: ONE MINT
JULEP, LOVE LOVE LOVE, I PLAYED THE FOOL, BLUE VELVET, LITTLE MAMA,
and LOVE POTION #9.
Clyde McPhatter was a lead singer for the original Billy Ward and the
Dominos, resulting in the classics: HAVE MERCY BABY, and THE BELLS. In
1953, he formed The Drifters and hence came MONEY HONEY, HONEY LOVE,
WHITE CHRISTMAS, and SUCH A NIGHT, all heavily borrowed from a few
years later as Rock and Roll took form. Finally, as a solo performer, Clyde
gave us, in his lighter-than-air, gospel-influenced vocals: TREASURE OF
LOVE, WITHOUT LOVE, JUST TO HOLD MY HAND, ROCK AND CRY, LOVERS
QUESTION, LOVEY DOVEY, SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE, and LOVE PLEASE.
Bill Haley set out to be the finest yodeller in the country, only to find
himself and his group, the Comets, swept into the coming Rock and Roll
phenomenon. Bill Haley and the Comets influenced this musical "fad"
almost as much as it, in turn, influenced the group. Their CRAZY MAN
CRAZY has often been called the first Rock and Roll record, and ROCK
AROUND THE CLOCK is a legend. Also, there were SEE YOU LATER ALIGATOR,
BURN THAT CANDLE, ROCK THIS JOINT, R.O.C.K., SAINTS ROCK AND ROLL, DIM
DIM THE LIGHTS, SHAKE RATTLE AND ROLL, and RUDY'S ROCK.
Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers rode to popularity on the crest of the
first Rock and Roll wave with the self-penned WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN
LOVE? Frankie was 13 and had a high, girlish-sounding voice that proved
quite a hook for this fresh audience. After a good string of hits: I WANT
YOU TO BE MY GIRL, PROMISE TO REMEMBER, A.B.C.'S OF LOVE, I'M NOT A
JUVENILE DELINQUENT, Frankie left the Teenagers and hit with GOODY
GOODY, PAPER CASTLES, OUT IN THE COLD AGAIN, A PORTABLE ON MY
SHOULDER, and LITTLE BITTY PRETTY ONE.
Little Richard showed his peers and the world that "hard rockin'" music
was his repertoire, including many original compositions which became
the standard, solid foundation from which Rock and Roll was launched:
TUTTI FRUTTI, LONG TALL SALLY, SLIPPIN' AND SLIDIN', RIP IT UP, READY
TEDDY, LUCILLE, SEND ME SOME LOVIN', JENNY JENNY, KEEP A KNOCKIN' and
GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY.
Elvis Presley, by far the most dramatic figure in Rock and Roll, pulled it
all together at precisely the right time and a revolution, without end, was
born. Though strictly a performer, his
presence influenced most of what followed in Rock and Roll: THAT'S ALL
RIGHT, GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT, BABY LET'S PLAY HOUSE, MYSTERY TRAIN,
HEARTBREAK HOTEL, MY BABY LEFT ME, HOUND DOG, DON'T BE CRUEL, ALL
SHOOK UP, JAILHOUSE ROCK, TREAT ME NICE, ONE NIGHT and A BIG HUNK OF
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