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Let's Have A Party

Let's Have A Party

Welcome to my first blog entry! Let’s celebrate by listening to something that is suitable for this amazing occasion; Let’s have a Party by Wanda Jackson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ksBcV-qrgo (posted by DaveMUSICALMENTE). Jackson’s voice is so soulful, throaty and her ‘whooo’, is celebratory and gets everyone in the party mood. 

To start my blog let me now introduce you to something that was legendary. This genre of music would influence many artists and bands for decades to come. Who can guess it?... Anyone? …Yes, indeed it was rock ‘n’ roll. 

 

Rock 'n' roll music started as music made by African-American musicians in the 1950s and was a bit like speeded-up electric blues with bass and drums added.  The music, which was ‘cool’ and a little bit dangerous or edgy, was broadcast on hundreds of radio stations across the country. Its transgressive styles were soon copied by young white musicians in the USA and Europe and it formed the basis of a new and rebellious youth culture which began to challenge racial and sexual boundaries in the USA and, later, in Europe too.

Now imagine hearing the following on a radio for the first time. Here are some lyrics, directly from me to you to the tune of a Buddy Holly song “You’re The One”:

 

Who were the starters of this new sound? 

There’s no single answer hangin’ around.

Was it Berry, Lee Lewis or Holly

Who started off this new sound?

 

There was Elvis of a French kind

He was lean and off his mind.

There were others who played that kind

That kind of rock ‘n’ roll!

 

So come on down and listen to them

Take a pew and pay homage them

They were legends back then

Of beautiful rock ‘n’ roll!

 

Who were the starters of this new sound? 

There’s no single answer hangin’ around.

Was it Berry, Lee Lewis or Holly

Who started off this new sound?

 

So, strap yourselves in and enjoy some of my favourite rock ‘n’ roll songs:

 

Chuck Berry’s first charting single in the US from 1955 called Maybellene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjrQWU2EcsA (posted by lovestheclassics69). This song came from the legendary Chess Records, which was well-known for producing blues records in Chicago aimed especially at the African-American community. Berry’s flamboyance and popularity persuaded Chess to produce rock ‘n’ roll records. Rock 'n' roll was according to one blues legend, 'the child of the blues'. Here is Muddy Waters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZveMYqEqJyI (posted by firedrich). 

 

Meanwhile in the UK, the mean-sounding legend, Cliff Richard, hit the charts in ’58 with ‘Move It’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLba5Ld4VhE(posted by Miloš 01). This has echoes of an early Elvis Presley record. The cover of the record with its dark background and the picture of a brooding Cliff Richard gives listeners a first impression of the sound that can be heard, something dark and rebellious. The backing melody is sharp and full of angst, and gets people up on the dance floor and moving provocatively.

 

Jerry Lee Lewis is firing up the piano for this ace rock ‘n’ roll number, Herman the Hermit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF_nWn3rZsE&list=RDzF_nWn3rZsE&start_radio=1(posted by KennethRockingDaddy). This song was one of a later batch of rock ‘n’ roll songs. Loose cannon Lewis was trying to cash in on previous success but by '65 he had lost all credibility.

 

Rock 'n' Roll would be nothing without an anointed King. The perfect figure, metaphorically and physically, was Elvis Presley. His waxed up hair and pristinely cut suit sitting on his muscular body was a turn on for all the women. Here we have the King telling us to stay off his blue suede shoes (posted by Yelserp22). 

 

Within 5 years or so of Berry’s first hit single, rock ‘n’ roll is no longer important: Buddy Holly had died in a plane crash and Elvis was drafted into the army and times were changing. The civil rights movement emerged and the USA became embroiled in a long war in Vietnam which produced a new kind of 'protest' movement with its own associated musical styles. We will look at that in a later blog entry.

 

Let’s pull the curtain down for now on this legendary party. Soon, the curtain will come up again for the 'King', Elvis!

 

Thank you for reading and I look forward to your comments! God bless rock ‘n’ roll!

Write a comment

Comments: 3
  • #1

    Bogi (Thursday, 09 May 2019 22:01)

    Very good summary, like it!

  • #2

    Tamás Bradford (Friday, 10 May 2019 06:27)

    Thank you Bogi! Your comment is very much appreciated

  • #3

    Hannah Broughton (Wednesday, 22 May 2019 09:37)

    Very interesting! Great post :)