Rockabilly / Tear It Up! 1954 – 1959


1954 - 1956


1 ELVIS PRESLEY / Blue Moon Of Kentucky / Single B Side July 1954

2 ELVIS PRESLEY / Good Rockin’ Tonight / Single A Side September 1954

3 MALCOLM YELVINGTON / Drinkin’ Wine Spodee O Dee / Single A Side January 1955

4 ELVIS PRESLEY / Milkcow Blues Boogie / Single B Side January 1955

5 CARL PERKINS / Movie Magg / Single A Side March 1955

6 ELVIS PRESLEY / I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone / Single A Side April 1955

7 MARTY ROBBINS / Maybelline / Single A Side August 1955

8 ELVIS PRESLEY / Mystery Train / Single A Side August 1955

9 SID KING & THE FIVE STRINGS / Sag, Drag And Fall / Single A Side October 1955

10 CARL PERKINS / Gone Gone Gone / Single A Side October 1955

11 HASIL ADKINS / She Said / Single A Side November 1955

12 ELVIS PRESLEY / Lawdy Miss Clawdy / Elvis Presley March 1956

13 BUDDY HOLLY / Love Me / Single A Side April 1956

14 JACK EARLS / Crawdad Hole / Single A Side April 1956

15 JANIS MARTIN / Drugstore Rock’n’Roll / Single A Side April 1956

16 ELVIS PRESLEY / My Baby Left Me / Single B Side May 1956

17 JOHNNY BURNETTE & THE ROCK’N’ROLL TRIO / Tear It Up / Single A Side May 1956

18 ROY ORBISON & THE TEEN KINGS / Go Go Go / Single A Side May 1956

19 CURTIS GORDON / Draggin’ / Single A Side May 1956

20 JOE CLAY / Sixteen Chicks / Single B Side May 1956

21 GENE VINCENT & HIS BLUE CAPS / Woman Love / Single B Side June 1956

22 JOHN CARROLL & HIS HOT ROCKS / Wild Wild Women / Single A Side June 1956

23 EDDIE BOND / Slip, Slip, Slippin’ In / Single A Side June 1956

24 GENE VINCENT & HIS BLUE CAPS / Race With The Devil / Single A Side August 1956

25 CHARLIE FEATHERS / Can’t Hardly Stand It / Single B Side October 1956

26 JOHNNY BURNETTE & THE ROCK’N’ROLL TRIO / Honey Hush / Single B Side October 1956

27 EDDIE COCHRAN / Skinny Jim / Single A Side October 1956

28 RIC CARTEY / Oooh Eeee / Single A Side November 1956

29 SPARKLE MOORE / Skull And Crossbones / Single A Side November 1956

30 HAL WILLIS / My Pink Cadillac / Single A Side November 1956

31 CARL PERKINS / Dixie Fried / Single A Side November 1956

32 GENE VINCENT & HIS BLUE CAPS / Bop Street / Blue Jean Bop November 1956

33 JANIS MARTIN / Let’s Elope Baby / Single B Side December 1956

34 CHARLIE FEATHERS / One Hand Loose / Single A Side December 1956


1957 - 1959


1 JOHNNY BURNETTE & THE ROCK’N’ROLL TRIO / Lonesome Train / Single A Side January 1957

2 BILLY LEE RILEY / Flying Saucers Rock’n’Roll / Single A Side February 1957

3 SONNY BURGESS / Ain’t Got A Thing / Single A Side March 1957

4 GENE VINCENT & HIS BLUE CAPS / Cat Man / Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps April 1957

5 JOHNNY HORTON / The Woman I Need / Single A Side April 1957

6 EDDIE COCHRAN / Mean When I’m Mad / Single A Side June 1957

7 JOHNNY POWERS / Long Blonde Hair, Red Rose Lips / Single A Side June 1957

8 JIM FLAHERTY’S CARAVAN / Real Gone Daddy / Single A Side June 1957

9 GENE VINCENT & HIS BLUE CAPS / Lotta Lovin’ / Single A Side July 1957

10 BUDDY HOLLY / Rock Around With Ollie Vee / Single A Side August 1957

11 EDWIN BRUCE / Rock Boppin’ Baby / Single A Side September 1957

12 EDDIE COCHRAN / Twenty Flight Rock / Single A Side November 1957

13 JOHNNY BURNETTE & THE ROCK’N’ROLL TRIO / Rockabilly Boogie / Single A Side December 1957

14 JERRY LEE LEWIS / Mean Woman Blues / Single B Side December 1957

15 LEE TRAMMELL / Shirley Lee / Single A Side January 1958

16 EDDIE COCHRAN / Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie / Single A Side January 1958

17 DWIGHT PULLEN / Sunglasses After Dark / Single A Side March 1958

18 RICKY NELSON / Believe What You Say / Single A Side March 1958

19 JIMMY LLOYD / I Got A Rocket In My Pocket / Single A Side May 1958

20 KENNY SMITH / I’m So Lonesome Baby / Single A Side June 1958

21 ERSEL HICKEY / Goin’ Down That Road / Single A Side July 1958

22 WANDA JACKSON / Mean Mean Man / Single A Side August 1958

23 EDDIE COCHRAN / Nervous Breakdown / Single A Side August 1958

24 THE COLLINS KIDS / Whistle Bait / Single A Side August 1958

25 STEVE CARL / Curfew / Single A Side August 1958

26 RONNIE SELF / You’re So Right For Me / Single A Side September 1958

27 KIP TYLER & THE FLIPS / She’s My Witch / Single A Side November 1958

28 JACKIE MORNINGSTAR / Rockin’ In The Graveyard / Single A Side April 1959

29 RONNIE HAWKINS / Forty Days / Single A Side May 1959

30 JEFF DANIELS / Switch Blade Sam / Single A Side May 1959

31 JACK SCOTT / The Way I Walk / Single A Side June 1959

32 RITCHIE VALENS / Ooh My Head / Ritchie Valens August 1959

33 RONNIE DAWSON / Rockin’ Bones / Single A Side September 1959

34 BOBBY & TERRY CARAWAY / Ballin’ Keen / Single A Side October 1959

35 DANNY DELL & THE TRENDS / Froggy Went A Courtin’ / Single A Side November 1959

36 THE PHANTOM / Love Me / Single A Side December 1959


   When Sam Phillips released ‘That’s All Right’ backed with Bill Monroe’s pastoral classic ‘Blue Moon Of Kentucky’, what followed was the heyday of rockabilly and Sun Records. Rockabilly was fast and aggressive: simple, snappy drumming, sharp guitar licks, wild country piano, the sound of kids who came from all over the South to make records for Phillips and his imitators. Rockabilly came and went and even with Elvis’s Sun singles, all the rockabilly hits put together sold a lot less than Fats Domino’s. But it was more important than sales alone. Rockabilly fixed the crucial image of rock’n’roll: the sexy, half crazed teen, standing on stage singing his guts out. Maybe more importantly, the image was white. Rockabilly was the only style of rock’n’roll that proved white boys could be as strange, exciting, scary and free as the black man ruling the airwaves.

   While it lasted, rockabilly was a place of freedom, a place to take chances. The music was ominous, funny, kicking up rhythm and bursting with exuberance, determination and urgency, full of self conscious novelty and experiment. Most of the first rock’n’roll styles were variations on black forms that had taken shape before the white audience moved in and forced those forms to turn their way; rockabilly was self contained, a world of its own, and as authentically new as any music could be.

   I read a story from a fifties comic that captured the spirit of rockabilly as well as any record. ‘There were these Southern farm boys, long, lean, tough and good humoured. They would flash pictures of Gene Vincent, and Johnny Burnette and Elvis, kick raccoons to death with their bare feet, rustle sheep, chase Indian girls into the bushes, and make it into town on a Saturday night to watch the razor fights. In a small country town they were the epitomy of youth, easy to idolize; one night they got drunk, drove their car to the railway tracks, and got themselves blown to pieces by the night train to Memphis. They were 17 years old’.

   That was rockabilly. But it was also squeaky Charlie Feathers, a hillbilly singer of no special talent or even much drive, trekking up to Cincinnati after rejections from Sun for the chance to yell “Aw, turn it loose!” and then disappear. Rockabilly was genuinely crazy backwoods boy Hasil Adkins, who recorded himself on a primitive tape recorder only to be acclaimed thirty years on. Rockabilly was the Collins Kids, sixteen year old Lorrie, and her brother Larry who was just fourteen.

     “Maybe someday your name will be in lights”, Chuck Berry promised all these young rockers, but most never got past the “maybe”! But there was a price for all that unexpected vitality and flash. Carl Perkins, still billing himself ‘The King of rock’n’roll’ on the thin line of one hit and a score of failures, slipped into alcohol; Jerry Lee Lewis spectacularly fell from grace after marrying his thirteen year old cousin; Gene Vincent found himself exiled to England, and died of a bleeding ulcer before he was forty. Chasing after Elvis’s pot of gold, Eddie Cochran, Johnny Burnette and Buddy Holly died in land, sea and air accidents. Most simply vanished and were forgotten – if they were lucky to have been known at all. They fell back into the predictability of country music, or the day to day sameness they’d fought so hard to escape. All they left behind was rock’n’roll, and an audience that over fifty years on is still acting out their fantasies and seeking revolution and excitement in their ghosts.


August 2008