December 21, 2015

148 The Treniers “Rockin’ on Sunday Night” 1952

Twins Claude (1919-2003) and Cliff (1919-1983) “developed a unique sound and…style of performance—involving everything from a cappella shrieking to acrobatics to football formations…The Treneirs’ Okeh records contains some of the best rock ‘n’ roll to be heard in the early fifties (Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll).

December 14, 2015

147 Roy Hall (1922-1984) and his Cahutta Mountain Boys “Dirty Boogie” 1951

“By the time Roy turned twenty-one, he knew that he was the best drunken piano-player in Big Stone Gap (Virginia).” He organized a band and recorded for a small record producer in Detroit. He left the band and opened his own music bar joint in Nashville (Unsung Heroes of Rock ‘n’ Roll).

146 Moon Mullican (1909-1967) “I’ll Sail My Ship Alone” 1950

Moon Mullican “developed his musical skills on a pump organ his father purchased…Impressed by pianists who performed in local juke joints, Mullican developed a distinctive two-finger right-handed piano style that became his trademark” (The Handbook of Texas Music). He was called The King of Hillbilly Piano Players and “became the Grand Ole Opry's first singer-pianist” (Rich Kienzle, album cover of Moon Mullican Seven Nights To Rock). 

December 8, 2015

145 Dean Martin (1917-1995) “That’s Amore” 1953

Born Dino Paul Crocetti, boxed under the name Kid Crochet, sang his first gig as Dino Martini (The Encyclopedia of Popular Culture). The song was featured in the Martin and Lewis comedy, The Caddy, and in the 1987 film, Moonstruck

Dean Martin “That’s Amore”

144 Bill Haley (1925-1981) and his Comets “Crazy Man, Crazy” 1953

“when you consider that Haley had been making rock & roll records since 1951, and playing to audiences of teenagers…his claim to have discovered the music doesn’t seem at all preposterous” (Bill Haley The Daddy of Rock and Roll).

143 Bill Haley (1925-1981) and the Saddlemen “Rock the Joint” 1952

“Its freak success moved Bill Haley away from hillbilly music and into recording rhythm and blues songs.” Haley said, “Here I was with the sideburns, cowboy boots and almost ten years of promoting myself as a country and western singer” (What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record).

142 Billy Ward (1921-2002) and his Dominoes “Have Mercy Baby” 1952

“thanks to Clyde McPhatter (1932-1972) whose career began in a gospel ensemble, ‘Have Mercy Baby’ was born in the black church. The title could just as easily have been replaced with ‘Have Mercy, Jesus’ (What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record).

141 Ivory Joe Hunter (1914-1974) “I Almost Lost My Mind” 1950

“the Texas-born Hunter was sneaking elements of country music into his jazzy ballads and jump blues as far back as the 1940s. By doing so he was helping to lay the groundwork for the cross-cultural musical revolution that would one day be named rock 'n' roll” (Contemporary Musicians). 

December 1, 2015

140 The Clovers “One Mint Julip” 1952

“It was an early ‘drinking’ hit, and an attempt at a social statement, as well as one of the first vocal group record hits to spotlight a tenor sax solo.” The writer, Rudy Toombs, “provided Ruth Brown with her first major hit, ‘Teardrops from My Eyes’” (What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record).

The Clovers “One Mint Julip” 

139 Hank Snow (1914-1999) and his Rainbow Ranch Boys “I’m Movin’ On” 1950

“It was the first major train song hit set to a boogie rhythm… ‘I’m Movin’ On’ became a sort of unofficial marching song among the U.S. troops in Korea” (What Was the First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record).

138 Muddy Waters (1913-1983) “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” 1950

“the song that most profoundly broke away from the country blues and set the standard of the rockin’ Chicago blues of the ‘50s…with Waters’s amplified bottleneck guitar serving as a second, responsive ‘voice’ from start to finish” (What Was the first Rock ‘n’ Roll Record).

137 Roy Brown (1925-1981) and the Mighty Men “Hard Luck Blues” 1950

He started his career as a gospel singer and boxer. Destitute, “Brown tried in vain to sell a song he had written to the great blues shouter Wynonie Harris.” Instead, Brown recorded his own “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (1947), which was so popular that Harris changed his mind about the song. Brown’s success led to a number hits such as “Hard Luck Blues” (The Encyclopedia of Popular Music).  

136 Paul Williams (1915-2002) and his Hucklebuckers “Huckle-Buck” 1949

William played in a Ford factory band during World War II. He named the tune after a new dance craze, the Hucklebuck: “Partners start from squat position facing each other and work their way up to a standing position while they, according to the song, ‘Wiggle like a snake, waddle like a duck’” (Ebony, Aug. 1961).