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Deja Vu: Rock N Roll – The Early Years (Part 1)

This starts a new series taking us back to the beginning of what came to be known as Rock N Rock … the music we grew up listening too. Then we’ll journey forward in time as the Rock N Rock craze sweeps the nation creating the greatest cultural revolution ever known.

This was ‘our music’ … we owned it. Many tried to stop it, but couldn’t. It lived on. It grew. It spread far and wide … world wide! And, it stayed. Now over 50 years later (that’s over half a century) it continues on … still growing … still spreading. It is even being broadcast into outer space in hopes of communicating with other life in the universe … Yes, Rock N Roll is here to stay! Just as we always said it would.

In the first few parts of this series we’ll visit the early days of Rock N Roll … The Birth Of Rock N Roll … as it has been coined. These key musicans are the one’s who influenced ALL others who followed. They are the creators of Rock N Roll and the ones who popularized it against all attempts to stop it. Just listen to the early music of The Beatles, The Stones or any other artist or group who ever reached Super Star status … and you’ll see they all started there musical journeys playing the music of these early ‘fathers’ of Rock N Roll.

What we call Rock N Roll actually started in the early 1940s by primarily black musicians … it was called Rhythm and Blues. In the early 1950s Bill Haley took country swing and mixed in a little of the black rhythm and blues to create a new sound. It caught on. People liked it. But, back in those days white people didn’t listen to black music. The attitude was that white people of taste and breeding didn’t listen to that black trashy music as it was evil, it would corrupt the mind and soul. But, the sound was catching on, and a few DJ’s were starting to play music by Fats Domino and Chuck Berry. About this time Bo Diddley entered the picture adding the “BEAT” to rhythm and blues … and Rock N Roll was born. But, still not widely accepted in white society because it was still black music. Until a 19 year old kid walked into Sun Records one day. A poor white kid from the wrong side of the tracks born in a 2 room shack that could sing and play … black R & B … Rock N Roll. He ‘bridged’ the ‘gap’ between black R & B music and white society … his name was Elvis. At the same time Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around The Clock’ was made the theme song for the movie ‘Black Board Jungle’ … Rock N Rock took off like nothing before in the history of music as Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley and Elvis – shook the nation like it had never been shook before or since … Rock N Roll was here to STAY!

Enjoy these first parts of the series, as there is not a Rock N Roll song you’ve ever listened to that can’t be traced back to the roots of Rock N Roll by these early founding fathers of “The Beat” …

These early days of Rock N Roll are before most of us had even entered our teenage years. I was only 11 years old, living in San Diego, CA when Rock Around The Clock hit the charts in 1954. I remember when Black Board Jungle was playing at the movie theater. My friends and I all told our parents we were going to see another movie … but, were the first in line for Black Board Jungle at a different theater. It ROCKED! We wanted more Rock N Roll music. After that every Saturday we all took the bus to downtown San Diego to visit the only record store that sold Rock N Roll records … generally spending our entire weekly allowance. I still have some of those records in my collection.

What are your first recollections of Rock N Roll?

How old were you?

Where were you living at the time?

What was the first Rock N Roll movie you saw?

What was your first impression of Rock N Roll?

As always, please leave you comments below.

Bob

4 comments to Deja Vu: Rock N Roll – The Early Years (Part 1)

  • Randy Seely

    I think my early exposure to Rock N Roll as a kid formulated what became a 30-year career in radio and tv. My earliest recollections of ‘upbeat’ music…not necessarily Rock N Roll…involve music from Les Paul & Mary Ford (’51-’52, How High the Moon, Hold that Tiger, et al…) My dad was always playing music when I was a kid. Later–mid ’50’s, we were in France– Elvis, Little Richard, Bill Haley, Buddy Knox, The Coasters. The first RnR flick I can remember seeing was something with Alan Freed and a laundry list of then-big artists. I still love rock music at the tender age of 62…still listening to groups like AC/DC,ZZ Top,the Stones,Deep Purple, the Doobie Brothers (without Michael McDonald, thank you!):) groups that, had those early RnR artists not paved the way for, would not be doing what they’re doing today. By the way, I’m also into Jazz and Blues — which, I suppose, is an indicator that my musical tastes have come full circle! Enjoy your weekend, SK’s! Randy

  • Admin

    Yes, I know what you mean Randy. It is hard to define exactly when RnR actually started as it seemed to evolve from many different directions beginning in the ’40s until they all converged in the early to mid ’50s becoming RnR.

    As I’m typing this I’m listening to “Those were the days” on a PBS radio station out of Chicago. They are playing post-WWII ’40s and early ’50s music, mixed in with the old Radio Shows.

    Somewhere packed away in boxes I’ve got a Demo copy of the first LP Pink Floyd ever recorded, a few years before they became popular. I remember when I first got it and would play it, my friend would say, “who is that, what is it” … LOL … the world wasn’t quite ready for them yet, I suppose.

    Now that you mention it Randy, I recall that same movie, but danged if I can recall the name of it.

    Back in my youth, when I had delusions of becoming the next Super Star, I got pretty heavy into playing blues guitar toward the end … I stopped playing 30+ years ago tho …

    I think Roy is still playing Jazz guitar when he is in the mood.

    Thanks for sharing Randy. Brings back memories for sure!

    Bob

  • frank

    About a year ago I saw an old movie on T.V. called “Go, Johnny Go”!

  • Admin

    Thanks Frank, that triggered my memory.

    Alan “Moondog” Freed produced three RnR movies:
    – Rock, Rock, Rock
    – Go, Johnny Go!
    – Don’t Knock The Rock

    I’ll include more about them with the next Deja Vu: Rock N Roll video.

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