Saturday, 21 November 2009

The First Rock and Roll Song

It is hard to say which song or record was the first actual piece of Rock and Roll. Some folks (including myself) argue Rolling Stone couldn’t have been more wrong when they claimed Elvis Presley’s “That’s All Right Momma” was the first Rock and Roll track. Elvis himself recognized that he was by no means the creator of the style he would come to represent to white audiences, and he argued “A lot of people seem to think I started this business, but rock 'n' roll was here a long time before I came along. Nobody can sing that kind of music like colored people. Let's face it: I can't sing like Fats Domino can. I know that.”

The phrase “Rock and Roll” was used as far back as 1916, when the discount record label Little Wonder released a track by an unnamed vocal quartet titled "The Camp Meeting Jubilee.” Take a listen.

Others argue Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “Strange Things Happening Everyday” was the first Rock and Roll creation. Hear for yourself.

I feel that if there was a specific track that could be called the first Rock and Roll record, I would apply the honor to Roy Brown’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight.” A true gem of a song, and worthy of the praise it receives.

So where did Rock and Roll officially begin? Provide us with the track and artists that you think kick started the whole thing in the comments section.


  1. I think this is one of those questions that doesn't have any definite answer. Rock N Roll seems to have just been a natural progression for pop music, something that was bound to happen because of the then current trends among blues and country records. I really do believe it'd be impossible to pinpoint one single record as being the catalyst to the sound or one single performer as being the creator of something so monumental.

  2. All true Judas. At the heart of the discussion is whether Rock and Roll is a musical pattern, a rhythm, an attitude…if there isn’t an agreement on what we are even measuring, there can surely not be a discussion on when and where it started.

    It is fun to go back through early music that is now classified as rock and roll however.

  3. well, a complicated subject, and I would argue that rock and roll is a specifically white response to black music - however, the first rock and tune? Maybe Good Morning Little School Girl? A very different kind of (subjective) blues lyric; also, the two beat which Elvis picked up on in That's All Right (related to the clave? Or to the classic country 2 beat? If clave, then think of New Orleans, and it's early r&b rythms) -