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 Safe Bet's Amy on March 19, 2017 at 9:15am

Yeah, I can see where your vast church choir experience can let you know more about who and what he was than people like John Lennon, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, Bo Diddley, Huey Lewis, Bruce Springsteen, Carole King, Tom Petty, etc., etc., etc... WHO ACTUAL KNEW AND WERE INFLUENCED BY HIM.

(^^THAT ^^ was sarcasm, btw...  I know you don't get that it was unless it is explained)

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on March 19, 2017 at 9:19am

BTW, "Shake a Hand" was big band and gospel...  what is was NOT was rock & roll.  Nice try though.

Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 19, 2017 at 9:24am

well, there were a lot of parents of rock and roll.  there's a tendency - and this is in order to sell someone or product - to label and exalt and particularly in the case of music and rock and roll and gospel and jazz and the progression from pop to this melding of gospel, blues and pop, there were a lot of graduating steps - it was derivative along a good deal of regional down home interpretation, so what was happening in the south wasn't exactly the same as what was happening on the west coast or the east coast, etc.  

Comment by Terry McKenna on March 19, 2017 at 9:25am

Sorry Amy.  It depends upon where you get on board.  You obviously got on board later.  Answer not who influenced the folks like  Tom Petty et al, but who influenced Alan Freed to have a "rock and roll" show in Cleveland in 1951?   Who influenced Chuck Berry?   If you listened to Alan Freed, he played Shake a Hand as rock and roll.  

Comment by Terry McKenna on March 19, 2017 at 9:27am

Amy: I have a hard time recognizing sarcasm, because I generally think ill of most people, and can believe they really are mean spirited assholes. Sometime I am disappointed and they turn out to be ok.

Comment by Foolish Monkey on March 19, 2017 at 9:27am

rock and roll was - in a way - the same as what happened when the whole "british invasion" thing happened...because I saw both happen - it suddenly CAME UPON THE LISTENING PUBLIC via the airwaves but the music had been evolving and developing for years, and musicians who had been around for a long time, suddenly were recognized as important voices.  

Comment by Terry McKenna on March 19, 2017 at 9:33am

Thanks FM. Old enough to remember Alan Freed in WINS this piece is not meant to disparage Berry, but to remember those whose light as gone out. One more song to remember, Work With Me Annie https://youtu.be/ZW7gAc96Gmc

Comment by JMac1949 Today on March 19, 2017 at 9:38am

Chuck Berry: "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958)

Jerry Lee Lewis: "Crazy Arms" 1956 honky tony sold 300,000 copies in the South, but it was his 1957 hit "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" that shot Lewis to fame worldwide. He followed this with "Great Balls of Fire."

"Big Mama" Thornton: First to record Leiber and Stoller's "Hound Dog", in 1952.

Rock and Roll wasn't born, it evolved out of country western, rhythm and blues, swing, and honky tonk.

Comment by Terry McKenna on March 19, 2017 at 9:43am

Thanks J Mac. Music was far more regional. In the northeast, we heard Bill Haley and the Comets - whose first hits were in 1953. Here is Crazy Man Crazy, https://youtu.be/CBWF2m6K7sQ and if you ever heard Clyde McPhatter discuss his career, he loved Frank Sinatra.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on March 19, 2017 at 9:54am

While I think WHO's ON FIRST?  Qs are pretty meaningless, you and I wholly bond over DooWop and Old Street Corner R&B.

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