No Chuck Berry is Not THE Father of Rock and Roll

The idea that anyone started Rock and Roll is a mistake.  There were lots of fathers (and even a few mothers ) of the post WW2 music that upset parents as their kids turned away from the Hit Parade and big band music and moved to what were sometimes called Jungle Rhythms (lots of racism then too).  

Something was in the air, as it always is with all artistic change. By the time Chuck Berry hit the scene the new music was already born.  And it was a larger, broader music than just Chuck Berry, so included plaintive love songs and echoes from the America song book.  

The thread started in the 1940s but by 1952-3 it was pretty much fully formed. 

Here are a group of songs (from what is sadly called Doo-Wop) that have been considered the first Rock and Roll Record.  

Gee is from 1953.  A good copy of a 45 would be worth money.  

Gee - The Crows

I Won’t Come To Your Wedding - The Wrens

That’s My Desire, -  The Flamingos

Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight - The Spaniels

Earth Angel - The Penguins

Oh - and then there is Faye Adams, Shake a Hand.  I'll let you look that up. Look up Alan Freed too.  

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Comment by koshersalaami on March 19, 2017 at 10:02am

And Little Richard?

Comment by koshersalaami on March 19, 2017 at 10:04am

There's something else that distinguishes Chuck Berry:


Comment by Terry McKenna on March 19, 2017 at 10:05am

The point was that there is no first. But Little Richard was just a shade too young.

Comment by Terry McKenna on March 19, 2017 at 10:07am

Kosh:  if you were listening to records in NYC you would have heard as many Saxophone solos as Guitar solos.  But this is really not about first.  Just to remember that there were lots of folks who are long dead who, had Berry died first, would have received accolades as last man standing.  

Hell, Roy Orbison was an influence.  

Comment by JMac1949 Today on March 19, 2017 at 10:12am

Little Richard: Dr. Hudson's Medicine Show in 1948, performing "Caldonia," first recorded by Louis Jordon in May 1945. He recorded a sanitized version of "Tutti Frutti" for radio air play in 1955 - only three takes.

Comment by koshersalaami on March 19, 2017 at 10:19am


Sax is partially my point. Springsteen consciously brought it back. But instrumentally rock turned first and foremost into a guitar-driven genre, and Berry has an enormous amount to do with that. Look at Amy's list again with that in mind. Beatles, Stones, Heartbreakers, News, E Street Band. Of course they look to Berry. Maybe E Street Band least, but what does Bruce play?

Comment by Terry McKenna on March 19, 2017 at 10:24am

Sorry, no point at all for me.  It depends where you join up.  By the late 1960s I was not listening to current rock all that much (college and then grad school).  Yes, the Beatles listened to Chuck Berry.  They loves Angel Baby too.  (Rosie and the Originals).   If you hung with folks older than me (so up to early 70s,) there center point is different from yours.  And in 20 years, those who are 40 now will have an entirely different center.  

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 19, 2017 at 10:26am

sax was vital   as was guitar   still, rock and roll was at its core abt drums/rhythm/beat     that's why buddy was told not to play 'jungle music' in amarillo

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 19, 2017 at 10:28am

Oh, okay...  

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Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 19, 2017 at 10:28am

and, of course, about 3 or 4 basic, repeating chords


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