Rock'n'Roll and Rockabilly Nostalgia

While surfing the net we came across some awesome vintage footage and thought it may be great to share this stuff - so we created this page. The page is dedicated to the stand-out moments, and performers, of rockabilly and rock'n'roll music. We intend to feature new artists each month - so send in your ideas, links to film clips, or great quotations.

Artist Month/Year Uploaded Title of Entry Brief Description
Chuck Berry November 2009 Chuck Berry: the man who shaped Rock'n'Roll Wikipedia bio and three Youtube video clips
Burnette, Johnny May 2009 Johnny Burnette - "You're Sixteen" Vintage Youtube video clip and links.
Cash, Johnny July 2009 Johnny Cash: Man in Black Biog plus three vintage Youtube video clips
Cochran, Eddie December 2008 Eddie Cochran: one of the first Rock'n'roll singer-songwriters Biog plus two vintage youtube film clips, quote and link to Wikipedia.
RocknRoll Dancing 1950s March 2009 Rock'n'Roll Dancing and Gear Two Youtube video clips from the period and text from Wikipedia.
Haley, Bill January 2009 Bill Haley: "Father of Rock'n'Roll Bio pic from Wikipedia, youtube vintage film clips including an extended documentary of era.
Holly, Buddy October 2009 Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper Biopic and vintage footage
Jackson, Wanda October 2008 Wanda Jackson: Queen of Rockabilly Vintage youtube film clip, one 2008 Wintersun clip with Itchy Fingers (Perth Rocks), link to Wikipedia, article "Wanda Jackson Queen of Rock" and reference to documentary "Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice".
Lee, Brenda February 2010 Brenda Lee: "Little Miss Dynamite" Wikipedia bio and Youtube vintage clips
Lewis, Jerry Lee November 2008 Jerry Lee Lewis: Singing for the Lord, or the Devil? Biog plus two vintage youtube film clips, quote and link to Wikipedia, link to official Jerry Lee  website.
Little, Richard September 2009 Little Richard: "the architect of Rock'n'Roll" Wikipedia and youtube clips
Martin, Janis November 2008 Janis Martin: the Female Elvis Biog, youtube recent footage and links to relevant sites.
Orbison, Roy August 2009 Roy Orbison: singer songwriter musician Wikipedia and vintage youtube clips.
Perkins, Carl June 2009 Carl Perkins - King of Rockabilly Wikipedia extract and youtube clips
Presley, Elvis February 2009 Elvis Presley: "King of Rock'n'Roll" Youtube vintage film clips
Rhythm and Blues and Rock'n'Roll January 2010 Rhythm and Blues and Rock'n'Roll Youtube footage of "Shake, Rattle and Roll" by Big Joe Turner, Bill Hayley and The Comets, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis.
Richard, Cliff March 2010 Cliff Richard: With a Hit Record in Every Decade Wikipedia bio and Youtube vintage clip "I Love You"
Riley, Billy Lee December 2009 Billy Lee Riley: Playing Red-hot Rock'n'Roll Wikipedia Bio and Youtube footage - "Red-hot" and "Flyin' Saucers Rock'n'Roll"
Frank "Sugarchile" Robinson August 2009 Frank "Sugarchile" Robinson doing "Caladonia". Youtube vintage film clip
Thompson, Hayden November 2008 Hayden Thompson: Party Tonight Vintage film clip - youtube - including some good outfits and dancing. Sent in by Alan Anderson.

 

Month/Year Feature of the Month Video Links
October 2008

 

Wanda Jackson: Queen of Rockabilly

Wanda Jackson is often called the Queen of Rockabilly, or the first female rockabilly/rock'n'roll singer.

When you listen to the gusto with which she performed, and the edgy content and style, and look at this in terms of the other top performers of the day, you can appreciate what a revolutionary she was, and how important she is to the history of rockabilly and rock'n'roll. While listening to these clips think about "Stupid Cupid", "Lipstick on Your Collar" and "Vacation", other hit tunes of the day.

Click here for the hyperlink to Wikipedia's entry on Wanda Jackson.

Click here for Wanda Jackson: Queen of Rock website including reference to the documentary "Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice".

Follow this link for "Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice" documentary: http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=m84c-v78_T0

See Wanda @ Wintersun 2008 - with Itchy Fingers

Wanda Jackson on Youtube - vintage footage

 "Hard-Headed Woman"

"Mean Mean Man"

 

November 2008

 

Jerry Lee Lewis: Singing for the Lord, or the Devil?

"His mother enrolled him in Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie, Texas, secure in the knowledge that her son would now be exclusively singing his songs to the Lord. But Lewis daringly played a boogie woogie rendition of "My God Is Real" at a church assembly that sent him packing the same night. Pearry Green, then president of the student body, related how during a talent show Jerry played some "worldly" music. The next morning, the dean of the school called both Jerry and Pearry into his office to expel them both. Jerry then said that Pearry shouldn't be expelled because "he didn't know what I was going to do." Years later Pearry asked Jerry "Are you still playing the devil's music?" Jerry replied "Yes, I am. But you know it's strange, the same music that they kicked me out of school for is the same kind of music they play in their churches today. The difference is, I know I am playing for the devil and they don't.""

Extract from Wikipedia.

Click here for the hyperlink to Wikipedia's entry on Jerry Lee Lewis.

Click here for hyperlink to the official Jerry Lee Lewis website.

Follow this link to the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame entry on Jerry Lee Lewis - including his debut at 14 years of age with "Drinking Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee":

http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/jerry-lee-lewis

Catch this extra vintage Rockabilly video clip sent in by Alan Anderson -

Hayden Thompson - Party Tonight:

Jerry Lee Lewis on youtube - vintage footage

"Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On"

"Great Balls of Fire"

 

November 2008 Catch this month's extra feature suggested by - Kris and Pete from Melbourne

 Janis Martin: the Female Elvis

Janis Martin was one of the few women working in the male-dominated rock & roll music field during the 1950s....She was born in 1940 in Sutherlin, Virginia. Before she was six years old, Martin was already singing and playing the guitar, and credited her influences from the Country Music singers Eddy Arnold and Hank Williams. She was soon a fixture in talent shows and other contests, and won most of them. She soon started appearing on a local radio show WDVA Barndance in Virginia at the young age of 11. When she was in her mid-teens, she started appearing alongside other Country singers, like Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, The Browns and Jim Reeves.....

A demo of her version of Will You William was sent to RCA to have the song appraised. When RCA got the song, they were more impressed with the singer and then the song. She was immediately called to come to RCA for a recording session. At only age 15, Martin was signed to her first record company, RCA Records. This was only two months after Elvis Presley signed on with them.

In 1956, Martin released her debut record under RCA, called "Will You Willyum", backed by her own composition, "Drugstore Rock'n Roll". The song, became the biggest hit of her career, and the record sold 750,000 copies. The song was not just a pop/rock & roll hit, but also a Country hit..... Soon, Martin was performing on America's most well-known shows, like American Bandstand, The Today Show, and the Tonight Show. She also appeared on Country music's Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, becoming one of the youngest performers to ever appear there. She was awarded by Billboard Most Promising Female Vocalist that year.

Elvis Presley and RCA records were so impressed with Janis' delivery of a song on stage, she was given the nickname The Female Elvis, which stuck with her the rest of her career. Presley in fact sent his wishes and a dozen red roses to Janis when she appeared in Miami, Florida, when she appeared at the RCA Records convention down there to be introduced to other RCA officials around the country and the world....

Martin continued recording straight-up rock & roll, as well as Country material, that ended up being successful on both charts, like the songs "My Boy Elvis", "Let's Elope Baby", cover of Roy Orbison's song "Oooby Dooby", and "Love Me to Pieces", along with "Will You Willyum", which was a Top 40 Pop hit.....

Martin died on September 3, 2007, having earlier been diagnosed with terminal cancer and grief, having lost her only son Kevin Parton in January 2007.

Extracted from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janis_Martin.

Also well worth seeing: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=78499207 and

http://www.history-of-rock.com/janis_martin.htm

Jerry Lee Lewis & Linda Gail Lewis - Jackson (1973)

Janis Martin Green Bay 2005 "Alright Baby"

December 2008

Eddie Cochran: one of the first Rock'n'roll singer-songwriters

Eddie Cochran co-wrote more than 50 songs, played in three movies and had seven top 100 USA hits. Considering he died at 21 years of age this was a very significant life achievement. A great website to learn about Eddie Cochran is: http://www.eddiecochran.info/Biography/Biography.htm

 

Extract from Wikipedia or follow this link to read all about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_Cochran

In 1956, Boris Petroff asked Cochran if he would appear in the musical comedy film The Girl Can't Help It. He agreed and sang a song called "Twenty Flight Rock" in the movie. In 1957, Cochran starred in his second film, Untamed Youth and also had his first hit, "Sittin' in the Balcony," one of the few songs he recorded that was written by another songwriter (John D. Loudermilk). "Twenty Flight Rock" was written by AMI staff writer Ned (Nelda) Fairchild. AMI granted Cochran a co-writer credit, but no royalties, a common arrangement by which publishers move songs from demos to commercial recordings.

However, his most famous hit, "Summertime Blues" (co-written with Jerry Capehart), was an important influence on music in the late 1950s, both lyrically and musically. (The song, released on Liberty recording #55144, charted #8 on August 25, 1958.) Cochran's brief career included only a few more hits, such as "C'mon Everybody", "Somethin' Else", "My Way", "Weekend", "Nervous Breakdown", and his posthumous UK number one hit "Three Steps to Heaven."

On Saturday, April 16, 1960, at about 11:50 p.m., while on tour in the United Kingdom, 21-year-old Cochran died in a traffic accident in a taxi (a Ford Consul, [reg. no. RBO 869], not, as widely quoted, a London Hackney carriage) traveling through Chippenham, Wiltshire, England on the A4. The taxi crashed into a lamp post on Rowden Hill, where a plaque now commemorates the event (no other car was involved). He was taken to St. Martin's Hospital, Bath, but died at 4:10 p.m. the following day[2] .....

Eddie Cochran is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Cypress, California.[6] A posthumous album, My Way, was released in 1964. One of the first rock & roll artists to write his own songs.

Eddie Cochran on youtube - vintage footage

"Summertime Blues"

"C'mon Everybody"

 

January 2009 Billy Haley: "Father of Rock'n'Roll"

Extract from Wikipedia: In 1953, a song called "Rock Around the Clock" was written for Haley (Dawson 2005). He was unable to record it until April 12, 1954. Initially, it was relatively unsuccessful, staying at the charts for only one week, but Haley soon scored a major worldwide hit with a cover version of Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle and Roll", which went on to sell a million copies and became the first ever rock 'n' roll song to enter British singles charts in December 1954 and became a Gold Record. Haley and his band were important in launching the music known as "Rock and Roll" to a wider, mostly white audience after years of it being considered an underground genre. When "Rock Around the Clock" appeared behind the opening credits of the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle starring Glenn Ford, it soared to the top of the American Billboard charts for eight weeks, launching a musical revolution that opened the doors for the likes of Elvis Presley. The single is commonly used as a convenient line of demarcation between the "rock era" and the music industry that preceded it; Billboard Magazine separates its statistical tabulations into 1890-1954 and 1955-present. After the record rose to number one, Haley was quickly given the title "Father of Rock and Roll," by the media, and by teenagers that had come to embrace the new style of music.I

"Rock Around the Clock" was the first record ever to sell over one million copies in both Britain and Germany and, in 1957, Haley became the first major American rock singer to tour Europe. Haley continued to score hits throughout the 1950s such as "See You Later, Alligator" and he starred in the first rock and roll musical movies Rock Around the Clock and Don't Knock the Rock, both in 1956. His star was soon surpassed in the USA by the younger, sexier Elvis, but Haley continued to be a major star in Latin America, Mexico, and in Europe throughout the 1960s.

Also see: http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/bill-haley from the Rock and roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

 

Youtube Documentary "Rock'n'Roll - the early days Bill Haley to Elvis" - including "Rock Around the Clock", "That's Alright Mama" and others.

 

Bill Haley on Youtube vintage film clips

"Rock Around the Clock"

"40 Cups of Coffee"

 

February 2009 Elvis Presley: "King of Rock'n'Roll"

Links worth a look:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvis_Presley

http://www.elvis.com/

 

Youtube vintage flim clip Elvis "Hound Dog"

Elvis Presley Youtube vintage film clips

"Jail House Rock"

"Blue Suede Shoes"

March 2009

Rock'n'Roll Dance

Take a look at these film clips - some great moves!!

We hear a lot of discussion by dancers and musos regarding what is authentic Rock'n'Roll/Rockabilly gear. Some suggest that Rock'n'Roll gear is circular skirts with petticoats and halter-neck dresses for girls, and bright coloured "Toucan"-style suits for guys; and that Rockabilly gear includes tight, straight skirts or dresses (preferably black or red) or pedal-pushers for girls, and jeans rolled up, a chain and fitted Bonds-stylet-shirts for guys.

Take a look at these vintage film clips. A wide range of gear was worn by Rockers, and the era of Rock'n'Roll dancing covered a number of years, during which there were a wide variety of fashion trends.

The clothing styles for these dance forms was largely fossilized by the competition dance scene, and does not truly reference the period. Note the entry below from a 1950's dance book - Rock'n'Roll "leaves much scope for personal expression and interpretation".

What was great about Rock'n'Roll was it was a rebellion against what came before, against stagnant and fossilized forms ... let's not drag it into stagnation - it was about personal expression, freedom, interpretation, your individual take on moves rather than doing-them-the-right-way. To keep Rock'n'Roll as a living dance genre, not a museum piece, it needs to remain flexible, not frozen.

 

Bit of Rock'n'Roll Dance History from Wikipedia

During the development of the musical genre rock and roll, dances to go with the music were also created. From swing, which came into being around 1920, Lindy Hop emerged, the first partner dance ever to feature acrobatic elements. Lindy Hop was modified around 1940 to suit faster music, creating the style known as boogie woogie. With rock and roll music coming into fashion around 1955, its adherents converted boogie woogie to the even more athletic rock and roll dance.

A 1959 dance book describes "ROCK-AND-ROLL" as "performed without undue tension, the body and legs being flexible, so that there may be a physical rhythmic expression of co-ordination with the beats of music." "...a dance which leaves much scope for personal expression and interpretation in style, movement, rhythm, and even in the manner in which the figures are constructed."

 

       

Vintage Dance Video Footage from Youtube

1962 Rock'n'Roll Dancing

 

Dancing 1958

 

April 2009 Bob Seger

"His iconic signature song "Old Time Rock and Roll" was named one of the Songs of the Century in 2001. With a career spanning five decades, Seger continues to perform and record today. Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004". Wikipedia

 

One of the best rock'n'roll songs - Bob Seger "I Love that Old Time Rock'n'Roll"

 

Bob Seger Youtube - vintage footage

"I Love that Old Time Rock'n'Roll"

 

May 2009 Johnny Burnette - "You're Sixteen"

Johnny Burnette was a Rockabilly pioneer in Memphis, Tennessee and with his older brother Dorsey Burnette and a friend named Paul Burlison was one of the founder members of The Rock and Roll Trio.

Burlison was an electrician and pioneered the electric guitar effect known as the "rumble" in evidence on Burnette's earlier first hit "Train kept a'Rollin" achieved by leaving a capacitor loose in its fittings.

(Extracted from http://www.last.fm/music/Johnny+Burnette)

Also see Wikipedia.


 

 

Johnny Burnette on Youtube - vintage footage

"You're Sixteen"

June 2009 Carl Perkins - King of Rockabilly

Carl Lee Perkins (April 9, 1932 - January 19, 1998) was an American pioneer of rockabilly music who recorded most notably at Sun Records Studio in Memphis, Tennessee beginning in 1954. An outstanding performer, his contribution to rock and roll music is still heard to this day, especially through his fine compositions and guitar playing. His best known song is "Blue Suede Shoes."

According to Charlie Daniels, "Carl Perkins' songs personified the rockabilly era, and Carl Perkins' sound personifies the rockabilly sound more so than anybody involved in it, because he never changed." [1] Perkins' songs were recorded by artists (and friends) as influential as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and Johnny Cash, which further cemented his place in the history of popular music.

Called the King of Rockabilly, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll, the Rockabilly, and the Nashville Songwriters halls of fame; and was a Grammy Hall of Fame Award recipient. Extracted from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Perkins

Below a great Youtube boogie dance video clip.

 Carl Perkins on Youtube - vintage footage

 

 "Matchbox"

July 2009 Johnny Cash: The Man in Black

"Country music patriarch Johnny Cash, the "Man in Black," has walked the line between rock and country since his early days as a rockabilly singer". From: http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/johnnycash

Johnny Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 - September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter and one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Primarily a country music artist, his songs and sound spanned many other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll (especially early in his career), as well as blues, folk and gospel.

Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice, the "chicka-boom" freight train sound of his Tennessee Three backing band, his demeanor, and his dark clothing, which earned him the nickname "The Man in Black". He traditionally started his concerts with the introduction "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash".

Much of Cash's music, especially that of his later career, echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption. His signature songs include "I Walk the Line", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Ring of Fire", "Get Rhythm" and "Man in Black". He also recorded humorous songs, such as "One Piece at a Time" and "A Boy Named Sue", a duet with June Carter called "Jackson", as well as railroad songs such as "Hey Porter" and "Rock Island Line." Extracted from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Cash

Official website: http://www.johnnycash.com/

 

Johnny Cash on Youtube - vintage footage

"Ring of Fire"

 "Folsom Prison"

August 2009

 

Roy Orbison: singer songwriter musician

Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 - December 6, 1988) was an American singer-songwriter and musician, well known for his complex compositions and dark emotional ballads. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly / country & western band in high school until he was signed with Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success was with Monument Records in the early 1960s where 22 of his songs placed on the Top Forty, including "Only the Lonely", "Crying", "In Dreams", and "Oh, Pretty Woman". His career stagnated through the 1970s, but several covers of his songs and the use of one in a film by David Lynch revived his career in the 1980s. He joined the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne and released an album in 1988. He died of a heart attack at the age of 52, at the zenith of his resurgence.

Orbison was a natural baritone, but since 1961 writers have speculated that he had a three or four-octave range.[1] The combination of Orbison's powerful, impassioned voice and the complex musical arrangements in his songs led many in rock and roll to refer to his music as operatic, calling him the "Caruso of rock".[2][note 1] Performers as disparate as Elvis Presley and Bono stated his voice was, respectively, the greatest and most distinctive they had ever heard.[3] When men in rock and roll in the 1950s and 1960s portrayed a defiant masculinity, many of Orbison's songs instead conveyed a quiet, desperate vulnerability. He experienced tragedies in his life including the death of his first wife and his children on separate occasions. He was known for performing while standing still and solitary, wearing black clothes and dark sunglasses which lent an air of mystery to his persona.

Orbison was initiated into the second class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, initiated by longtime admirer Bruce Springsteen. The same year he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone listed Orbison as #37 in their list of The Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2002, Billboard magazine listed Orbison at #74 in the Top 600 recording artists.[4] Rolling Stone rated Orbison at #13 in their list of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in 2008. From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Orbison

http://www.biography.com/articles/Roy-Orbison-9429190

Clip worth watching. Frank "Sugarchile" Robinson doing "Caladonia".

Roy Orbison on Youtube - vintage footage

"Only the Lonely"

"Pretty Woman"

September 2009 Little Richard: "the Architect of Rock'n'Roll"

Rev. Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), known by the stage name Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter and pianist. He is considered the key figure in the transition from rhythm and blues to rock 'n roll in the 1950s. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame web site entry on Richard observes that "he claims to be 'the architect of rock and roll,' and history would seem to bear out Little Richard's boast. More than any other performer - save, perhaps, Elvis Presley, Little Richard blew the lid off the Fifties, laying the foundation for rock and roll with his explosive music and charismatic persona. On record, he made spine-tingling rock and roll. His frantically charged piano playing and raspy, shouted vocals on such classics as "Tutti Frutti", "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" defined the dynamic sound of rock and roll."[1]

Although he began his recording career in 1951, Penniman's reputation rests on a string of groundbreaking hit singles recorded from 1955 through 1957, which not only helped lay the foundation for rock and roll music,[1] but also influenced generations of rhythm & blues, rock and soul music artists. Little Richard's injection of funk during this period, via his saxophone-studded mid-1950s road band, The Upsetters,[1] also influenced the development of that genre of music. He was subsequently honored by being one of seven of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and was one of only four of these honorees (along with Ray Charles, James Brown, and Fats Domino) to also receive the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award.

Little Richard's early work was a mix of boogie-woogie, rhythm & blues and gospel music, but with a heavily accentuated back-beat, funky saxophone grooves and raspy, shouted vocals, moans, screams, and other emotive inflections that marked a new kind of music. In 1957, while at the height of stardom, he became a born-again Christian, enrolled in and attended Bible college, and withdrew from recording and performing secular music.[2] Claiming he was called to be an evangelist, he has since devoted large segments of his life to this calling.[3]

Since releasing his original recordings in the mid-1950s, Little Richard has received significant praise from many of the major icons of rock and roll music for being a primary influence on them and a pioneer of the genre (see Influence). Extracted from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Richard

Also: Good data and set of links on info on Little Richard. Not the official website. Run by a serious fan.

http://www.littlerichard.com/

 

Little Richard Youtube video clips

 "Ready Teddy"

"Lucille"

"Long Tall Sally"

October 2009 Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper

These three Rockers died in the tragic 1959 airplane crash in Clear Lake, IA.

Buddy Holly (Charles Hardin Holley) had an incredibly short time at the top prior to his death, yet he had an enduring and significant impact on all the music that followed.

Richie Valens had just begun his recording career with "Donna" and "La Bamba". Richie was just 17 when he died. He was the first Hispanic rock star.

The Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson) started as a DJ on KTRM radio. He hit the big time with his record with "Chantilly Lace" just before the fatal plane crash.
 

 

Good site with a lot of information about Buddy, his last concert - The Winter Dance Party - in Clear Lake Iowa, and many great video clips:

http://data.desmoinesregister.com/holly/index.php

 

Youtube vintage footage The Big Bopper "Chantilly Lace"

Youtube vintage footage Buddy Holly playing "Oh Boy" on The Ed Sullivan Show 1958

November 2009 Chuck Berry: the man who shaped Rock'n'Roll

Chuck Berry is one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's website, "While no individual can be said to have invented rock and roll, Chuck Berry comes the closest of any single figure to being the one who put all the essential pieces together."[1] Cub Koda wrote, "Of all the early breakthrough rock & roll artists, none is more important to the development of the music than Chuck Berry. He is its greatest songwriter, the main shaper of its instrumental voice, one of its greatest guitarists, possessing the clearest diction, and one of its greatest performers."[2] John Lennon said: "If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'."[3]

Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986. Extracted from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Berry

 

Youtube footage Chuck Berry "Reelin' and Rockin'"

Vintage Youtube footage Chuck Berry

"Oh Baby Doll"

"Johnny B Goode"

December 2009 Billy Lee Riley: Playing Red-hot Rock'n'Roll

Extract from Wikipedia (click on Wikipedia to read whole text):

Born in Pocahontas, Arkansas, the son of a sharecropper, Riley learned to play guitar from black farm workers. After 4 years in the Army, Riley first recorded in Memphis, Tennessee in 1955 before being lured to Sun Studios by Sam Phillips. He recorded "Trouble Bound" for Jack Clement and Slim Wallace. Sam Phillips obtained the rights and he released "Trouble Bound" b/w "Rock With Me Baby" on September 1, 1956 (Sun 245). His first hit was "Flyin' Saucers Rock and Roll" b/w "I Want You Baby" released February 23, 1957 (Sun 260) after which he recorded "Red Hot" b/w "Pearly Lee" released September 30, 1957 (Sun 277) both with backing piano by Jerry Lee Lewis.

"Red Hot" was showing a lot of promise as a big hit record, but Sam Phillips pulled the promotion and switched it to "Great Balls Of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis. The record was pulled without a lot of sales. He had other Sun recordings and they, likewise, did not have a lot of sales as his promotion had stopped.

Considered good looking and with wild stage moves, Riley had a brief solo career with his backing band "The Little Green Men". Riley and his Little Green Men were the main Sun studio band. They were Riley, Roland Janes, J.M. Van Eaton, Marvin Pepper, and Jimmy Wilson, later joined by Martin Willis.

In 1960, he left Sun, and started Rita Record label with Roland Janes. They produced the national hit record "Mountain Of Love" by Harold Dorman. He later started two other labels Nita and Mojo.

In 1962, he moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session musician with Dean Martin, the Beach Boys, Herb Alpert, Sammy Davis Jr. and others, as well as recording under various aliases.

In the early seventies, Riley quit music to return to Arkansas to begin his own construction business. In 1978 "Red Hot" and "Flyin' Saucers Rock 'n' Roll" were covered by Robert Gordon and Link Wray, which led to a one-off performance in Memphis in 1979, the success of which led to further recording at Sun Studio and a full-time return to performing.

Rediscovered by Bob Dylan in 1992, who had been a fan since 1956, Riley played rock and roll, blues and country-blues.

His album Hot Damn! (Capricorn, 1997) was nominated for the Grammy.

He was injured falling on a slippery department store floor in 2005, requiring two surgeries as a result. In 2006, he released a country CD, Hillbilly Rockin' Man.

The Rockabilly Hall of Fame reported in summer 2009 that Riley was in poor health, battling stage 4 colon cancer, which caused his death on August 2, 2009 in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Many musicians feel Billy Lee Riley was one of the really great movers and shakers of early Rock'n'Roll, one of Sun Studios shining lights.

Youtube footage Billy Lee Riley

"Red Hot"

"Flyin' Saucers Rock'n'Roll"

 

January 2009

Rhythm & Blues and Rock'n'Roll

R&B was one of the music genre that spawned Rock'n'Roll. So it seemed like an interesting idea to juxtapose R&B and RnR versions of a single song in order to illustrate the differences in the genre.

Big Joe Turner "Shake, Rattle and Roll" R&B version.

Bill Hayley and The Comets "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

 

Youtube Vintage Footage

 

 

 

Jerry Lee Lewis "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

Elvis "Shake, Rattle and Roll"

 

February 2010 Brenda Lee: "Little Miss Dynamite"

Extracted from Wikipedia (click on Wikipedia for full article)

Brenda Mae Tarpley (born December 11, 1944), better known as Brenda Lee, is an American performer who sang rockabilly, pop and country music with equal conviction and power; and had 37 US chart hits during the 1960s, a number surpassed only by Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis.[1] She is best known for her 1960 hit "I'm Sorry," and 1957's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," a perennial US holiday standard for 50 years.

At 4 ft 9 inches tall, she received the nickname Little Miss Dynamite in 1957 after recording the song "Dynamite"; and was one of the earliest pop stars to have a major contemporary international following.

Lee's popularity faded in the late 1960s as her voice matured, but she continued a successful recording career by returning to her roots as a country singer with a string of hits through the 1970s and 80s. She is a member of the Rock and Roll, Country Music and Rockabilly halls of fame, and currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

"Jambalaya"

 

Youtube Vintage footage of Brenda Lee

"Sweet Nothings"

"One Step at a Time"

March 2010

Cliff Richard: With a Hit Record Every Decade

Extracted from Wikipedia (click on Wikipedia for full article).

Sir Cliff Richard OBE (born Harry Rodger Webb on 14 October 1940[1]) is an Indian born British Anglo-Indian singer-songwriter and entrepreneur.

With his backing group The Shadows, Richard dominated the British popular music scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s, before and during The Beatles' first year in the charts. A conversion to Christianity and subsequent softening of his music led to his having more of a pop than rock image. He never achieved the same impact in the United States despite several chart singles there, but he has remained a popular music, film, and television personality in the United Kingdom and he retains a following in other countries.

During six decades, Cliff Richard has charted many singles, and holds the record (with Elvis Presley) as the only act to make the UK singles charts in all of its decades (1950s2000s). He is the only singer to have had a number one single in the UK in five consecutive decades, doing so from the 1950s through to the 1990s. On the British charts, Richard has had more than 130 [single], albums and EPs make the top 20, more than any other artist.[2] He has sold more than 250 million records.[3]

 

 

"I Love You"

 

 

  Fats Domino

Extract from Wikipedia

Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino (born February 26, 1928) is an American R&B and rock and roll pianist and singer-songwriter.

Antoine was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Imperial Records era (19491962)

Domino first attracted national attention with "The Fat Man" in 1949 on Imperial Records. This song is an early rock and roll record, featuring a rolling piano and Domino doing "wah-wah" vocalizing over a fat back beat. It sold over a million copies and is widely regarded as the first rock and roll record to do so.

Fats Domino then released a series of hit songs with producer and co-writer Dave Bartholomew, saxophonists Herbert Hardesty and Alvin "Red" Tyler and drummer Earl Palmer. Other notable and long-standing musicians in Domino's band were saxophonists Reggie Houston, Lee Allen, and Fred Kemp, who was also Domino's trusted bandleader. Domino finally crossed into the pop mainstream with "Ain't That a Shame" (1955), which hit the Top Ten, though Pat Boone characteristically hit #1 with a milder cover of the song that received wider radio airplay in a racially-segregated era. Domino would eventually release 37 Top 40 singles, "Whole Lotta Loving" and "Blue Monday" among them.

Domino's first album, Carry on Rockin', was released under the Imperial imprint, #9009, in November 1955 and subsequently reissued as Rock and Rollin' with Fats Domino in 1956.[1] Combining a number of his hits along with some tracks which had not yet been released as singles,[1] the album went on under its alternate title to reach #17 on the "Pop Albums" chart.[2]

His 1956 up tempo version of the 1940 Bobby Cerdeira, Al Lewis & Larry Stock song, "Blueberry Hill" reached #2 in the Top 40, was #1 on the R&B charts for 11 weeks, and was his biggest hit. "Blueberry Hill" sold more than 5 million copies worldwide in 1956-57. The song had earlier been recorded by Gene Autry, and Louis Armstrong among many others. He also hit singles between 1956-1959, including "When My Dreamboat Comes Home" (Pop #14), "I'm Walkin'" (Pop #4), "Valley of Tears" (Pop #8), "It's You I Love" (Pop #6), "Whole Lotta Loving" (Pop #6), "I Want to Walk You Home" (Pop #8), and "Be My Guest" (Pop #8).

Fats appeared in two films released in 1956: Shake, Rattle & Rock![3] and The Girl Can't Help It.[4] On December 18, 1957, Domino's hit "The Big Beat" was featured on Dick Clark's American Bandstand.

Domino continued to have a steady series of hits for Imperial through early 1962, including "Walkin' to New Orleans" (1960) (Pop #6) co-written by Bobby Charles and "My Girl Josephine" (Pop #14) from the same year. After Imperial Records was sold to outside interests in early 1963, Domino left the label: "I stuck with them until they sold out", he claimed in 1979. In all, Domino recorded over 60 singles for the label, placing 40 songs in the top 10 on the R&B charts, and scoring 11 top 10 singles on the pop charts. Twenty-two of Domino's Imperial singles were double-sided hits.

 

Youtube vintage footage

"I'm in Love Again" (1956)

 

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