Miscellaneous Rumbles

The Day The World Heard Rock ‘n’ Roll

1

July 8th, 1954. Memphis DJ Dewey Phillips plays 19 year old local boy Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" on his "Red, Hot & Blue" radio show. The music world changed forever.

2

I've always wondered----is there any relation between Sam Phillips and Dewey Phillips, or is it just coincidence?

3

The music world changed forever. -- NitroG

Until February 9, 1964. At which time, it once again changed forever.

4

I've always wondered----is there any relation between Sam Phillips and Dewey Phillips, or is it just coincidence?

– wabash slim

Just coincidence. The two weren't related.

5

No family relation between Sam and Dewey Phillips.

6

Of course, without Elvis, that Sullivan show would never have happened. We wouldn't be having this discussion...that's the thing that really amazes me. Just how different would our world be if That's Alright Mama had never been played?

7

Of course, without Elvis, that Sullivan show would never have happened. We wouldn't be having this discussion...that's the thing that really amazes me. Just how different would our world be if That's Alright Mama had never been played?

– Deed Eddy

If it hadn't have been Elvis, would some other rocker have come along? If the Beatles hadn't have come along, might there have been another group with the same ideas that would have come along? It is fun to think about.

8

If it hadn't have been Elvis, would some other rocker have come along? If the Beatles hadn't have come along, might there have been another group with the same ideas that would have come along? It is fun to think about.

– Ric12string

Bay City Rollers.

9

You are a sick man!

10

If it hadn't have been Elvis, would some other rocker have come along? If the Beatles hadn't have come along, might there have been another group with the same ideas that would have come along? It is fun to think about.

– Ric12string

Undoubtedly. I'm sure there was more than one person doing what Elvis did - he just had everything in the right place at the right time. I'm sure another Sister Rosetta Tharpe fan would have come along and done it sooner or later ;)

11

Rhythm & Blues washed white equals Rock & Roll.

12

Elvis was a once in a lifetime thing. He was an original. Everything since then is just an attempt at a copy.

14

Timing is everything. Had it not been, we would have had to wait longer and the the world would be different.

15

I have to add in Ike Turner's Rocket 88 in 1950, as well as Ray Charles and Jerry Lee Lewis. Being a piano player, they had far more influence on me. Instead of another Paderewski, my folks got Boogie Woogie.

16

What about Bill Haley?

Certainly Rocket 88.

Songs like that (The Fat Man?) laid the foundation but something new was needed though no-one realised except Sam P.

What Elvis brought to the party was youth, attitude, a certain rebelliousness, sex and teen aspiration: that was all new.

17

Youth has always been rebellious, with attitudes and rampant hormones. It led to things in the last century like syncopated music, jazz, jitterbug, zoom suits and so on. The ancient Greeks had to deal with those damn kids---and had to get them off of the lawn! Today, the kids have competitive vaping and rap. It's going downhill.

18

Some "historians" (self-proclaimed??) credit Bill Haley's 1952 recording of "Rock The Joint" ("We're Gonna Rock This Joint Tonight") as the first rock and roll song.

19

Elvis was one of a few tipping points, but man, did he tip. Lot of guys advanced the cause afterwards, right up through the sixties. Wish I was there.

20

I don't think there is a definitive answer to when rock and roll got started and what song or who started it. We would have had rock and roll had there never been an Elvis, however it may have been a passing fad. Maybe not. We'll never know. One thing for sure, rock and roll, and the music scene in general was forever changed as soon as the Elvis explosion happened. Girls didn't know how to faint, and scream, and absolutely go out of their minds until Elvis came along. Uncle Sam decided he needed Elvis' services right when he was at the very top. The momentum was gone when he came back and it was never the same again. There were other huge names besides Elvis, but there was never a doubt that he was the King. These so called country stars draw bigger crowds than Elvis did, but Elvis got the ball to rolling and it's a whole different landscape nowadays. No one ever thought about having stadium concerts back in those days. I remember when Elvis came to Oklahoma City in 1958, the Municipal Auditorium was the biggest venue in town, and it held 7,500 people. It sold out and when the concert was over, there were still thousands of screaming fans outside, so Elvis did another concert and filled it up again. There was still thousands outside that couldn't get in, but a man can just do so much.

My point is that rock and roll was a big deal in the 60's and later because of Elvis. Had there never been an Elvis to stir the pot to begin with, the excitement wouldn't have been there for everyone to build on.

That's my opinion, and it ought to be yours.

21

Interesting that even with 20/20 hindsight we cannot truly attest to a definitive answer. Elvis was so obviously the catalyst, yet all the elements were there waiting for a prophet, that is, a white prophet, to ignite the flame. The crucible of what we have since called rock and roll, already contained within it, the Rhythm and Blues of the deep South, the fierce and rebellious energy of the early Baby Boomers, the sense and sentimentality of the American Midwest, the infectious dance rhythm of the big band era, and the unstoppable drive of post war optimism. An alchemical explosion was inevitable.

Elvis was indeed the high priest of that explosion, but it was a fortuitous moment in time for him as well. He was both a producer and a product of his era. And as much as anyone of his tribe of international youth, he was carried along on the very same tide which he helped to create and shape. Now, in it's long subsided wake, We can only observe it's effect on us all. But I doubt very much if any of us will ever truly understand it's total impact. At best, we can only stand in awe of those who, like Elvis, rode the crest at the very forefront of that incredible wave...

22

Girls didn't know how to faint, and scream, and absolutely go out of their minds until Elvis came along. (Richard Hudson)

Beg to disagree, Richard. That stuff actually started when Frank Sinatra first hit the scene followed (to a lesser degree - ?) by Johnny Ray.

I totally agree, however, that Elvis had the biggest impact for launching rock and roll to its highest level. Before Elvis -- in spite of Bill Haley, Fats Domino, etc. -- most of the radio time was devoted to the likes of Pat Boone, The Ames Brothers, (et al).

24

Sinatra's legacy will never die. Many say he is the greatest entertainer of all time, and I certainly couldn't disagree with that. The term that I see most in referring to the young ladies' reaction to him was swoon. I have seen film clips of those reactions, and the comparison of that to the young girls' reaction to Elvis is hardly distinguishable, in my opinion.

There was a wonderful documentary last night on my local PBS TV station featuring the life and works of Jimmy Van Heusen, who was one of Sinatra's foremost songwriters. Four Oscars and an Emmy is not a bad life's work. Sinatra's command of the stage and the way he delivered a song will never be equaled. Again, that's my opinion. That and five bucks will buy you a grossly overpriced cup of coffee at Starbucks.

Another very important point to the conversation is that segregation was still alive and well back in the 50's, and even on into the 60's. Little Richard's name should be mentioned more when we talk about early rock and roll, but he didn't get the air time by the white disc jockeys simply because of the color of his skin. Again, on my local PBS station a couple of nights ago, there was a re-run of a special that ran just after Katrina in NOLA, featuring Antoine "Fats" Domino. Fats Domino did get his share of air time back in the day, but he had that unique ability to appeal to both black and white audiences. Little Richard's style was more in your face, and much of the white establishment didn't like it. What really stuck out to me about the Fats Domino concert, and incidentally it was an absolutely incredible concert, was the fact that all, as in every one, of the musicians on stage was black, but the audience was exclusively white. The venue was packed to standing room only, but they were all white. This was just a few years ago. Amazing, huh? Fats Domino, at almost 80 years of age at the time, still had the same stage energy, he still sounded the same, and the charisma and stage presence that he always had was still there. Just goes to show, when you got it, you got it. Fats has still got it.

I love talking about the music of the 50's. That was the time of the birth of rock and roll, and the big bands were still popular too. We had the best of both worlds. Music has never been the same since. Yeah, you guessed it. That's my opinion, and...

EDIT: - to say that perhaps I mis-spoke in my last paragraph that the 50's was the time of the birth of rock and roll. That birth time is still up to conjecture, but the 50's was undoubtedly the time when rock and roll came to the forefront, and was given a name.


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