Rock’n’Roll / Mystery Train 1953 – 1956

 

1953 - 1955

 

1 BILL HALEY & HIS SADDLEMEN / Crazy Man Crazy / Single A Side February 1953

2 THE CROWS / Gee / Single A Side March 1953

3 BIG MAMA THORNTON / Hound Dog / Single A Side April 1953

4 JOE TURNER & HIS BLUES KINGS / Honey Hush / Single A Side September 1953

5 THE DRIFTERS / Money Honey / Single A Side October 1953

6 JOE TURNER & HIS BLUES KINGS / Shake, Rattle And Roll / Single A Side April 1954

7 BILL HALEY & HIS COMETS / Rock Around The Clock / Single A Side May 1954

8 THE CHORDS / Sh-Boom / Single A Side June 1954

9 THE CLOVERS / Your Cash Ain’t Nothing But Trash / Single B Side June 1954

10 ELVIS PRESLEY / That’s All Right / Single A Side July 1954

11 THE PENGUINS / Earth Angel / Single A Side October 1954

12 THE CHARMS / Hearts Of Stone / Single A Side October 1954

13 RAY CHARLES / I Got A Woman / Single A Side December 1954

14 LAVERN BAKER & THE GLIDERS / Tweedle Dee / Single A Side December 1954

15 ETTA JAMES / The Wallflower / Single A Side February 1955

16 LITTLE WALTER & HIS DUKES / My Babe / Single A Side February 1955

17 ROY HAMILTON / Unchained Melody / Single A Side March 1955

18 NAPPY BROWN / Don’t Be Angry / Single A Side April 1955

19 ELVIS PRESLEY / Baby, Lets Play House / Single B Side April 1955

20 JOE TURNER & HIS BLUES KINGS / Flip Flop And Fly / Single A Side June 1955

21 BO DIDDLEY / Bo Diddley / Single A Side June 1955

22 CHUCK BERRY / Maybelline / Single A Side July 1955

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

24 ETTA JAMES / Good Rockin’ Daddy / Single A Side August 1955

25 FATS DOMINO / All By Myself / Single A Side September 1955

26 THE ELDORADOS / At My Front Door / Single A Side September 1955

27 CHUCK BERRY / Thirty Days / Single A Side October 1955

28 LONNIE DONEGAN / Rock Island Line / Single A Side November 1955

29 THE CADILLACS / Speedoo / Single A Side December 1955

30 LITTLE RICHARD / Tutti Frutti / Single A Side December 1955

 

1956 - 1959

 

1 ELVIS PRESLEY / Heartbreak Hotel / Single A Side January 1956

2 CHUCK BERRY / Downbound Train / Single B Side February 1956

3 CARL PERKINS / Honey Don’t / Single B Side February 1956

4 LITTLE RICHARD / Slippin’ And Slidin’ / Single B Side March 1956

5 THE CLEFTONES / Little Girl Of Mine / Single A Side March 1956

6 THE TEENAGERS / Why Do Fools Fall In Love? / Single A Side March 1956

7 EDDIE BOND / Rockin’ Daddy / Single A Side March 1956

8 ELVIS PRESLEY / Trying To Get To You / Elvis Presley March 1956

9 FATS DOMINO / I’m In Love Again / Single A Side April 1956

10 JOHNNY CASH / Get Rhythm / Single A Side May 1956

11 JOHNNY BURNETTE & THE ROCK’N’ROLL TRIO / You’re Undecided /

Single B Side May 1956

12 GENE VINCENT & HIS BLUE CAPS / Be Bop A Lula / Single A Side June 1956

13 RONNIE SELF / Pretty Bad Blues / Single A Side June 1956

14 ELVIS PRESLEY / Don’t Be Cruel / Single B Side July 1956

15 LITTLE RICHARD / Rip It Up / Single A Side July 1956

16 LITTLE WILLIE JOHN / Fever / Single A Side July 1956

17 SHIRLEY AND LEE / Let The Good Times Roll / Single A Side August 1956

18 BILL DOGGETT / Honky Tonk Part One / Single A Side August 1956

20 CHUCK BERRY / Brown Eyed Handsome Man / Single B Side August 1956

21 BRENDA LEE / Bigalow 6-200 / Single A Side September 1956

22 FATS DOMINO / Honey Chile / Single B Side September 1956

23 LITTLE RICHARD / She’s Got It / Single A Side September 1956

24 YOUNG JESSIE / Hit, Git And Split / Single A Side September 1956

25 GENE VINCENT & HIS BLUE CAPS / Who Slapped John? / Single B Side September 1956

26 JOHNNY BURNETTE & THE ROCK’N’ROLL TRIO / Train Kept A Rollin’ /

Single A Side October 1956

27 LAVERN BAKER & THE GLIDERS / Jim Dandy / Single A Side October 1956

28 MICKEY AND SYLVIA / Love Is Strange / Single A Side November 1956

29 SCREAMING JAY HAWKINS / I Put A Spell On You / Single A Side December 1956

30 THE DEL VIKINGS / Come Go With Me / Single A Side December 1956

31 BUDDY HOLLY / Modern Don Juan / Single A Side December 1956

32 TAB HUNTER / Young Love / Single A Side December 1956

 

   Until rock’n’roll came along, honky tonk, rhythm and blues and Tin Pan Alley thrived in their own musical ghettos, each with their own charts. Sometimes, of course, they would intertwine but mostly they ran independently. These were the ingredients that made rock’n’roll happen. Between them they would have been enough to start a major craze, but what made rock’n’roll more than a craze, more like a social revolution, was nothing to do with music.

  For thirty years, in both America and Britain, most working class kids had come out of schools with a built in sense of defeat. They might be headed for some dead end job, sent off to win wars, or end up on the dole. Whatever happened, they weren’t going to have any fun. By comparison, the fifties were lush - lots of decent jobs, no wars and loads of money. The only snag was that teenagers had absolutely nothing to spend that money on. They had no clothes of their own, no music, no tribal identity. They had finally made it through to the Promised Land only to find it barren. And so they went wild!

  The moment of maximum revolt always comes just when things are starting to get better. When kids had nothing to do, somehow they accepted it. As soon as life got easier they began to riot. Eventually, almost as a direct result, they began to be recognized as a separate entity, an all new market for businessmen to exploit. Predictably, kids bought anything put in front of them – motorbikes, jeans, hair oils, milkshakes and, most of all, music. The one snag was that record companies had no idea what they wanted. And that’s why Bill Haley happened. An ageing, chubby, country trouper, he had listened hard to the biggest selling R&B hits, copied the beat, and watered down the lyrics. He struck gold with ‘Crazy Man Crazy’, the first national rock’n’roll hit, and then ‘Rock Around The Clock’. Originally his records sold almost as a joke, and despite being pretty shit, the press took them up, called them anti music, and suddenly they were just what teenagers wanted, big generation symbols and a social phenomenon.

  What rock’n’roll really needed though was a universal hero and rallying point, someone young and shareable. Obviously Fat Bill didn’t measure up. Equally obviously Elvis did. He was just nineteen when he cut ‘That’s All Right’, and it was the big bang of everything, period. It was edgy, raw and cut like a scythe. Above all, it was the sexiest thing anyone had ever heard.  

  Early in 1956, Elvis was signed by RCA Victor and made ‘Heartbreak Hotel’. Rock’n’roll went global and raised the most prolonged teen hysteria ever. It really was as fast, simple and complete as that. In essence, rock’n’roll was very simple music. All that mattered was the noise it made, its drive, its aggression, its newness. Only boredom was taboo. The lyrics were mostly non-existent, simple slogans, one step from gibberish. It wasn’t just stupidity; it was a secret teen code adults couldn’t understand.

   Little Richard for instance, was all anyone ever needed to know about rock’n’roll. The message went; ‘Tutti frutti all rootie, awop lop a loo bop, a lop bam boom’. As a summary of what rock’n’roll was really all about, that was a master class. The first couple of years were the best. For thirty years you had to be white, sleek, polite and phony to make it. From 1955, you could be black, purple, delinquent or diseased, just so long as you had excitement.

 

July 2008.