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ROCK & ROLL TURNS 50 ! ! !

 
 
Setanta
 
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 11:01 am
On NPR today, they are reporting that the first rock and roll song was recorded in New York, fifty years ago, April 12, 1954--Rock Around the Clock. They are interviewing a member of the original Comets, Marshall somebody, who says that the "A" side they were recording was "Thirteen Women and One Man in Town," which they had already rehearsed and arranged. He says they spent two and a half hours in the studio on that, and had just 35 minutes left, when, without rehearsal, and no arrangement, the A & R man told them to: "Do that rock thing you do." Billy Haley had been a country singer previously. The song did not take off until 1955, however, when it was used in the soundtrack of the movie The Blackboard Jungle. Marshall says he was driving around about a year after they recorded Rock Around the Clock, and he heard it on the radio, much to his surprise. As he began tuning around the dial, he heard it a dozen more times in a few minutes, and then he knew that he better find the other band members because they had a hit on their hands.

Bill Haley died in 1981. Marshall and the other members of the Comets still tour, and are doing a European "Fifty Years of Rock and Roll" tour this summer.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 11:17 am
Re: ROCK & ROLL TURNS 50 ! ! !
Thanks, Setanta, for mentioning this!


Setanta wrote:
Marshall and the other members of the Comets still tour, and are doing a European "Fifty Years of Rock and Roll" tour this summer.


The are already touring: since March (until May, I think) all over Germany.

[Oh, "Europe" it said :wink: ]


Some readings on Rock 'n Roll (and it's birth), suggested by a friend, who is musicologist:
Richard Aquila, That Old Time Rock & Roll, New York, 1989
Arnold Shaw, The Rockin' 50s, New York, 1974
Carl Belz, The Story of Rock, New York, 1969
Charlie Gillett, The Sound of the City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, New York, 1970
Paul Friedlander, Rock and Roll: A Social History, Boulder, 1996
Donald Clarke, The Rise and Fall of Popular Music, New York, 1995
Nik Cohn, Rock from the Beginning, New York, 1969
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 11:20 am
We don't care what people say
Rock 'n' Roll is here to stay
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SealPoet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 11:25 am
The first musical genre to be defined more by it's recording than by it's performance.

I'm willing to concede that this statement is not an absolute, but think about this... Bach recorded his music by writing notes on paper. The Beatles recorded their music in the studio. We know how to play Bach, but we don't know how Bach played Bach. But now and forever, any performance of a Beatles tune will be compared to the original.

In the long run, Rock and Roll may indeed die... done in by it's own ponderous recorded history.

(But not in my liftime...!)
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 11:37 am
That's a fine tune, "Rock Around the Clock." I suppose it's as good a starting point as any, if we want to date the official start of rock music. Sounds a bit quaint now and more like rockabilly than what we think of as rock, but hey, Haley was clearly on to something!
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 11:50 am
Haley was a country artist in his early days.
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kev
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 05:53 pm
Classical music was born in 1750 and lasted until about 1810 a period of around 60 years, rock has been here for 50 years and shows no evidence of going away, Long live rock!
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 12 Apr, 2004 08:43 pm
Mozart was born in 1756, and i rather think that it was his work, and that of Haydn, which really defined what classical music was. Haydn grew up in the Roccoco, and Mozart was a child performer near the end of that. Haydn expanded symphonies to four movements, lengthed the duration of movements to explore themes, added horns to the previously nearly-all-strings simphonia concertant, experimented with the assignment of tempos to the movements. Most importantly, perhaps, for the popularization of music--he invented the string quartet. This made "chamber pieces" accessible to wider audiences who could afford low subscription rates, and gave musicians more opportunities. Haydn also began a practice which is notable mostly for its rarity before his time, which was the writing of works which would feature an instrument, although not a sonata or a concerto. He did this from his natural affection for others, and many of his "Ezsterhazy" period works referred to members of the household, or featured the performance of a musician popular in that often insular community. Mozart stepped into this now rapidly evolving environment with what was possibly the greatest recording ability the world has ever known, in that he apparently heard the music in his head, and could not write as fast as he heard. That accomplishment, given the size of orchestras then, even though smaller than today, was nothing short of perhaps unique genius. Many witnesses attest to this, not the least of which was Constanza, who said that he "wrote in great haste," and that he never blotted or marked out passages--they seemed to flow complete from his pen.

I would not put the beginning of the classical era any earlier than 1770 or there about. Although the Romantic era was a long way off, Beethoven wrote two symphonies in 1802 and straddled both eras. The Second symphony shows all the best features of the composition as he had learned it from Haydn. The Third Symphony (first publicly performed in 1803, i believe) was the herald of "new" music, such as would not be common until the "heart" of the Romantic era; that symphony also sounded the death knell of the classical era, although no one could have known.

If the Beatles are still popular enough that one can hear broadcasts of their music two hundred years hence (as Mozart's is still broadcast to this day), then i'll be impressed (although, of course, i won't be here)--rather i would be impressed, were i able to know it. Then, perhaps, one will be justified in saying rock and roll will never die.

I was very taken with SP's discursus on the subject of recording, very much to the point.
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skruff
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 05:21 pm
Rock & Roll before 1954
Some would argue that the first Rock & Roll song was produced in 1945
The Honeydripper by Joe Liggins
For sure Bill Monroe's We're Gonna Rock,We're Gonna Roll (1948) was a Rock & Roll song and John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillen (1948) sure sounds more R & R that some of the songs carrying that label today!
Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks version of Guitar Boogie (1948) was more R & B but Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee by Stick McGhee (1949) was R&R and covered later by many R & R groups through the Seventies
Jimmy Preston's Rock The Joint (1949) turned off his Country fans, and left him a pauper BUt there should be no doubt that Fats Domino's 1950 rendition of The Fat Man is pure. Muddy Waters did Rollin' and Tumblin' in 1950 and later that year Hank Snow may have been the first cross-over artist with I'm Movin' On The new generation had it's own music, and the Country stations refused to play Arkie Shibley's Hot Rod Race, saying that it was corrupting the morals of the young. I remember my mother turning off Jackie Brenston with His Delta Cats, because my brother and I seemed to excited by "Rocket 88" 1951
Dominoes: Sixty Minute Man (1951) sounds like rock to me, and two years before the Birth of Rock and Roll Bill Haley and the Saddlemen sang Rock The Joint (1952) The dominoes had another rock hit with Have Mercy Baby (1952) why would this song be anything but Rock and Roll
and Lloyd Price's Lawdy Miss Clawdy (1952) would have been a number one sensation if it was written and preformed by white entertainers
Another example of the racism of the times was Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thorton's version of Hound Dog (1953) as was Big Joe Turner: Honey Hush (1953) Finally, a year before the "aniversity of R&R The Crows sang Gee I defy anyone to tell me this song is different than the style called R&R one year later.

For you folks who were not around then This was a time when "Colored" bathrooms, water fountains, and seating on busses still was the norm. Listening to "colored music" in the south was something to be ashamed of, and playing "Colored" music on mainstream radio was an act that could lose a disc jockey his job.

Alan Freed (10 10 WINS) out of New York City, lost his job and his livelihood when he allowed Frankie Lyman (of Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers) an African-American to dance with a white girl on his show. ....and this was in New York!

Be careful of these early fifties dates when examining the history of anything.... The racism in those days is something everyone would like to forget..... But for music lovers, especially those into early Rock and Roll, most of the songs above are available on KaZaA or Doctor Records in Orono Maine This is not an advertisement as I have no affiliation (except customer) with either of these distributers.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 05:25 pm
I'd never deny the common origins of R & B, R & R and Rockabilly. You'll note my post simply referred to an NPR program. Having lived through the 1950's, i'll simply note in regard to racism that, with the young at least, it was meaningless with regard to musical taste; and, that for anyone living in the 1950's, as the Soviets used to say: "There's no truth in the News, and no news in the Truth."
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Apr, 2004 05:52 pm
That's true, set. The youngsters didn't care what color their singing idols were. That's why we could have Chuck Berry, Richie Valens and Buddy Holly sharing equal billing and air time.
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skruff
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 10:23 am
"with the young at least, it was meaningless with regard to musical taste"

Maybe


Taste can not be developed if "The establishment" who are owners of the airwavs and monitors at FCC choose not to give listeners a true choice.

If you lived through the fifties you'll remember the "Rock & Roll riots" in Philly, Brooklyn, and Chicago. These "get togethers" were viewed by the McCarthyites as "communist influenced attempts to destroy the morals of American Youth.
Therefore they sent their agents to disrupt them.

It's laughable today, but careers were wrecked, people were imprisoned and radio stations lost their licenses because the black civil rights movement (which included Jackie Robinson AND Little Richard) was viewed as being sopnsored by the KGB.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Apr, 2004 10:48 am
You overrate the importance of the McCarthy fiasco. The "red scare" was shoved down our throats constantly, but for the young then, it was one of those roll-your-eyes, there go the parents with that commie crap again. I won't deny that there was some reaction by "the establishment," but the harm you allege was in isolated incidents, and cannot be any means be reasonably extrapolated to a blanket description of social reaction to R & R. We were aware of the racism, and kids in the South (for example) whose local stations would not broadcast "Elvis Presley's n*gger music" could still tune in to WLS in Chicago, or any other of a great many powerful broadcast stations. Those most affected by such reactions were in the South, although there was some unpleasantness in the North as well. Basically, though, juke boxes in those days had R & R, R & B, Rockabilly, Hillbilly and Cowboy (ancestors of C & W), Big Band--usually every style of music then popular would be found on the small town juke box, in a diner or in the tavern. The actual "segregation" of music only begins to occur in the late 1980's, when the rush to guarantee some market share lead stations to adopt programmed music in one specific genre. I rather think you're falling for the fallacy of the enumeration of favorable circumstances. Books, magazine and newspaper articles, or scholarly articles might be written about who suffered then because of negative reactions to the music, or its association with certain causes--but you're not going to find books or articles which list all of those who pursued careers without harassment, all the radio stations and juke boxes with the full range of popular music, all the people who were never imprisoned. Since you only read about the heartaches, it might be easy to ascribe to it a greater importance than it assumed in our lives at the time. Newspapers commonly do not have headlines such as: "Blacks Pursue Daily Lives in Town Without Harrassment" or "Rock and Roll Concert Enjoyed by All without Incident."
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skruff
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 01:34 pm
That is simply untrue
..and you are not the only person who was there (if indeed you were)

New York radio stations (starting with 10 - 10 WINS) went to an exclusive R&R format in the mid fifties. WABC and WMCA soon followed. WLIB on Long Island ran an exclusive "Black" or "Soul" format begining in 1965 The first song this station played was "Can't help myself" by the 4 Tops and all through the 60's WJRZ was the only Country Western station broadcasting to the New York City market.

To deny the racism and biggotry available (not just in the South) is to deny the all white faced TV shows like Leave it to Beaver, Ozzie and Harriet, and and Andy of Mayberry (Check out the truth by watching cable's TVland version of 50's America. Hell in those days, Amos and Andy passed for black entertainment.

..and You haven't addressed the issue of Frankie Lyman and Alan Freed

Here follows a cut from the Boston Rock&Roll museum's website:

"1957 saw rock 'n' roll rise into national prominence as Philadelphia's American Bandstand, hosted by Dick Clark, began its national broadcast on August 7,1957 on ABC. Alan Freed, also, hosted a television show, which subsequently was cancelled when he dared to allow Frankie Lyman, a black singer, dance with a white woman on national T.V.
Due to Freed's Continuing dedication to black originals rather than white performers' cover versions, many racists in the music business disliked him and forced him to become an outcast who ultimately suffered tragic consequences."

Freed was 10 10 WINS top DJ ... NEW YORK CITY (thats where the liberals lived) in other areas of the Country things were much worse.

I don't bring this up other than to point out that Elvis "nigger music" as you call it was music stolen from legitimate black preformers some whom you will never know, because the McCarthite establishment locked them out!

For reference:
http://www.dirtywater.com/museum/original/chapter3.html

Now I personally believe that Rock & Roll was instrumental in the fall of the blatent fifties style discrimination, but to deny that this discrimination existed (on the airwaves, or in the FCC) is to "cleanse history of one of it's darkest chapters...
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 02:24 pm
As someone who was around in the '50s, but too young to be fully aware of the sociopolitical events of the time, I feel somewhat reluctant to enter this fray. Having said that...

There's no question that the racism of the period affected how pop music was presented. There were white versions of "race" records. Presley may have been the first to bridge that gap, but it's clear that many (most) black artists were ripped off mercilessly, both financially and in terms of receiving credit for their music.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Apr, 2004 04:52 pm
Not to confuse what adults did with what the fans did. There are plenty of race tinted episodes in rock history, but, I think set means that the fans of rock by and large were free of such behavior. Sure, Jesse Belvin was probably murdered by racists, but mostly the older folks created those situations.
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skruff
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Apr, 2004 05:06 am
"Older folks created...."

As they usually do!
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 06:17 pm
My Generation - The Who

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

Why don't you all f-fade away (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
And don't try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm not trying to cause a b-big s-s-sensation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
I'm just talkin' 'bout my g-g-generation (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby

People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Just because we g-g-get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin' 'bout my generation)
Yeah, I hope I die before I get old (Talkin' 'bout my generation)

This is my generation
This is my generation, baby
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SealPoet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 06:41 pm
(Joanne... have you seen Roger and Pete lately? They're gettin' old... )
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JoanneDorel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 07:15 pm
Old and fat, yes indeedy they are human after all.
0 Replies
 
 

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