Updated 7 June 2016
This was the first post where I was searching for the earliest rocking blues songs – songs that could be considered rock & roll as well as blues. I finally found 20 songs of this type that I have included in my book, America’s Gift. Here are my first six from three years ago.
BLUESMUSE20. Fifty eight years ago last month, Bill Hayley’s 12-bar blues, ‘Rock Around The Clock’, turned the world onto rock & roll. While many people claim Ike Turner’s ‘Rocket 88’ was the first rock & roll record in 1951, the list below says differently.
The innovative black pianist from Chicago, Albert Ammons, first got America rocking in 1936. (See Boogie Woogie Stomp, May 2013 archive.) The latest early rock & roller to join the list is Memphis Slim, new at number 6.
So, are these the world’s first true rock & roll releases?
2. Roll ‘Em Pete, Big Joe Turner & Pete Johnson. Recorded in 1938, New York.
3. Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, The Andrews Sisters. 1940, Hollywood, Los Angeles. Was this prototype rock & roll? I later took this song out of the twenty earliest rock & roll songs featured in America’s Gift deciding that it wasn’t. It certainly was a form of jump blues though.
4. Strange Things Happen Every Day, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. 1944, New York.
5. That’s All Right (Mama), Arthur Big Boy’ Crudup. 1946, Chicago.
|John Chapman aka Memphis Slim|