Jimmie Rodgers was a talented performer who covered the original folk-
rock arena prior to the folk boom in 1959, and was perhaps one of the
performers who helped spark it. With ¬oh-ohs,║ finger snaps and accoustic
backgrounds, he updated folk, dressing up old folk songs in cat clothes. He
was also a talented composer and wrote such songs as IT'S OVER and
Jerry Lee Lewis was the living, breathing ¬ball of fire.║ His pumpin' piano
was Sam Phillips's fair-haired answer to Sun Records' loss of Elvis. He
came from the same country tradition that characterized much of early
Rock. He sang such all-time classic Rock and Roll hits as GREAT BALLS OF
FIRE and WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN' GOING ON. He was later able to make a
highly successful career in the Country and Western field.
Ricky Nelson was one of the most underrated musicians that ever picked
up a guitar. The heart and soul of Rock and Roll had its most loyal and
devoted proponent in Nelson, who helped define what Rock music was and
what it should be. He explored composing, country music, folk rock,
country rock, and jazz country, leaving many fine examples of each style,
among them: BE-BOP BABY, TRAVELIN' MAN, HELLO MARY LOU, and THAT'S
During Eddie Cochran's short yet brilliant career, he recorded SUMMERTIME
BLUES, SOMETHIN' ELSE, and C'MON EVERYBODY, three songs that perfectly
summed up American teen life. Cochran was
killed in a car accident at the age of twenty-one. His current release at
that time was THREE STEPS TO HEAVEN.
The Legend of Eddie Cochran
Was Jackie Wilson ¬The Black Elvis?║ Certainly few performers had a
more powerful voice or expended more energy. His uniqueness made his
recordings uncoverable by white artists looking for some sure-fire
material. He made each song all his own: ASK, NIGHT, WOMAN, A LOVER A
FRIEND and SAY I DO.
Along with his brother, Johnny, and later their sons Rocky and Billy, the
Burnettes were rockabilly's first family. In the mid-'50s, Johnny, Dorsey
and guitarist Paul Burlison formed the Rock 'n' Roll Trio, recording their
classic TRAIN KEPT A-ROLLIN'. The Trio disbanded in 1957, and Dorsey
went on to a successful career as a songwriter, with such hits as: TALL
OAK TREE and HEY LITTLE ONE.
Don Gibson comes from that Country and Western tradition that so many
early Rock and Rollers evolved from. Gibson was the biggest writer of pop
country hits in the '50s and '60s. His songs include OH LONESOME ME, I
CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU and WOMAN SENSUOUS WOMAN.
His real name was Harold Jenkins and he didn't much like the name Conway
Twitty, but after his IT'S ONLY MAKE BELIEVE sold a million copies in late
1958, he said that the name didn't really sound so bad. Other hits were:
DANNY BOY, HURT IN MY HEART, HEAVENLY, and I'LL TRY.
His real name was J.P. Richardson and he wrote and recorded CHANTILLY
LACE, a straight rock song which was rated the third most played record
in America in 1958. He was killed in the same plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.
The Platters were one of the first black groups to cross over to pop, and
they were the biggest selling group in the '50s. From 1955 to 1960, the
original Platters featered female singer Zola Taylor and had twelve Top
Twenty hits, including ONLY YOU AND YOU ALONG, THE GREAT PRETENDER,
YOU'VE GOT THE MAGIC TOUCH, YOU'LL NEVER KNOW, TWILIGHT TIME, SMOKE
GETS IN YOUR EYES, and HARBOR LIGHTS.
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