History of Rock Music Essay

Rocket 88 by Jackie Breston and his Delta Cats
Rocket 88 by Jackie Breston and his Delta Cats (1951) is the first song I listened to. This record was recognized in 1991 by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the first ever Rock music to be recorded. The signature sound of a distorted guitar was what qualified it as the first Rock and Roll song. The interesting fact about this song is that the distorted guitar sound happened accidentally after the amp of the guitar got ruined as the band was traveling to record the song (Esmonde par. 3). I found this recording surprising and confusing with regards to whom it was attributed to. Some people attribute the song to Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm and others to Jackie Breston. However, further research revealed that Jackie Breston was a member of Ike Turner’s band as a saxophonist.

The song describes a car, the Oldsmobile christened “Rocket 88.” This model was the fastest car at the time and had grown famous for dominating at the NASCAR races. Breston was credited for having written this song and went ahead to admit that he got the idea for the song from an earlier song called the Cadillac Boogie from 1947 (Esmonde par. 5). Ike Turner played the piano for the band in this song. The accident that ruined the amplifier to distort the guitar sound is sometimes believed to have resulted from rainwater. However, in other accounts, the amplifier was considered to have fallen from the car. Whatever ruined the amplifier resulted in the birth of a new genre of music that would achieve massive popularity and success. The new genre introduced new elements to Rock music.

Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets
This song has some feel-good beats. It was considered the first rock song that ushered in the rock era. Listening to it felt like a good break from the rhythm and blues that had been recorded earlier on. I believe that this song gave the rock genre its name. The song was recorded in 1954 by Bill Haley and his band, the Comets. It was also the first rock song ever to top the charts. The song was written by Max Freedman and James Myers (Chilton par. 6). The success enjoyed by Bill Haley from the hit could not be replicated in the later years and songs because Elvis Presley stole his thunder with the new approach to Rock Music.

Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino
Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino was written and recorded in 1940 (Williams par. 2). By then, it was a rhythm and blues genre song. I found this song to be too slow to be considered part of the rock genre. Besides, it was composed and recorded much earlier before Rock genre came into existence. I also came across a rendition by Elvis Presley in 1957 when he did a rendition of the song as a rock song. One significant difference between the two versions of the song is that the initial one by Fat Dominos is very slow while Elvis Presley’s rendition is rather racy. The fast beats of the rock and roll music initially offended the listeners in America, but Elvis somehow managed to appeal to them with his musical charm. The White population fell in love with rock music because of Elvis (Williams par. 10).

Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry
This song by Chuck Berry sounded like a fusion of country music electric sounds and blues. The guitar is played in a manner that is similar to most of the rock songs. The application of different tones and sounds for the guitar makes this song unique and exciting to the ear. The song celebrates the success of a poor lad, Johnny, who has managed to overcome poverty and destitution thanks to the guitar and his talent. The setting of this hit was in 1958, a time during which the rock and roll music offered poor but talented musicians a path to prosperity and wealth pursuing their dreams. Further, it was at a time when the content in the songs was mature compared to the music that came later on.

Lucille by Little Richard
The song, recorded in 1957, is a total embodiment of rock and roll regarding the vocals. Little Richard yells and howls severally in the song, as is characteristic of most rock and roll musicians. The song is a story about a lady, Lucille, who has left her man. The yelling, howling, and elongation of words in a high-pitched voice sounds like became characteristic of later rock and roll heavy metal musicians. The percussion, surprisingly, is very smooth. When considering this song, it is easy to consider Little Richard as having inspired heavy metal rock music that was introduced several years afterward. The energy has high energy to it exciting the senses in the process.
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Work Cited
Chilton, Martin. “Rock Around The Clock: How Bill Haley’s Song Became A Hit.” The Telegraph. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 May 2018. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/artists/rock-around-the-clock-how-bill-haleys-song-became-a-hit/
Esmonde, Benny. “Rocket “88” – Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats 1951.” Song Analysis. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 May 2018. https://bennyesmonde.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/rocket-88-jackie-brenston-his-delta-cats-1951/
Williams, Stereo. “Fats Domino’S Low-Key Brilliance: A Rock And Roll Pioneer, Criminally Overlooked.” The Daily Beast. N.p., 2017. Web. 26 May 2018. https://www.thedailybeast.com/fats-dominos-low-key-brilliance-a-rock-and-roll-pioneer-criminally-overlooked