This is a post on behalf of RockingMitch
I have compiled this list to attempt to show the many strands of music which came together to stand under the banner of “Rock & Roll”. Louis Jordan and Joe Turner are from the early days, before the term was used generally. Most of the rest comes from a bit later when the way to ask a young lady to dance consisted of “‘Ello, doll. Ow abaht lending me your frame for the struggle?”
There are many other artists I could (and probably should) have included such as Bill Haley, Little Richard, Link Wray etc., but these will do for now. Mitch
1: Louis Jordan – Blue Light Boogie. On the crossover between R & B and jazz.
2: Joe Turner with Fats Domino & The Dave Bartholomew Band – Love My Baby.
3: Fats Domino – Whole Lotta Lovin’. The piano on this was played by Alain Toussaint as Fats was touring and only had time to put the vocals on the already cut music track.
4: The Coasters – Down In Mexico. One of their first under that name, having had personnel changes from the Robins. The Coasters moved with writers Leiber & Stoller to New York to be on Atco, an Atlantic subsidiary. Originally issued on L & S’s Spark label which Ahmet Ertegun had bought up for Atlantic.
5: Frankie Ford – Sea Cruise. One of my favourite “cheery” tunes. This was made by Huey Smith & The Clowns and the vocal was done by Smith’s regular frontman, Bobby Marchan (who also made a living as a female impersonator), Smith reckoned it would get more exposure on “Dick Clark’s American Bandstand” if a photogenic white boy fronted it. So, Marchan’s vocals were removed, and Frankie Ford was put on.
6: Gene Vincent – Blue Jean Bop. Gene’s 2nd gold disc which sold better in the UK, reaching no. 12 (5 places higher than “Be-Bop-A-Lula”) on our chart, but didn’t break into the US top 50. God sings!
7: The Everly Brothers – Claudette. Written and first done by Roy Orbison, and dedicated to his wife, this was the B-side of “(All I Have To Do Is) Dream”.
8: Jerry Lee Lewis – High School Confidential. “The Killer” at his finest from a much forgotten movie of the same name.
9: Eddie Cochran – Pretty Girl. One of the late, great Eddie’s best.
10: Merrill E Moore – Rock, Rockola. Bridging country hop & rock and roll, Merrill recorded without much sales success for Capitol. Great piano.
1: Moon Mullican – Granpa Stole My Baby. Along with Sid King, Moon shared vocal duties with Boyd Bennett & His Rockets. He was an inspiration to Jerry Lee.
2: Larry Williams – Bad Boy. Larry was himself Rock & Roll’s bad boy, making, as he once said, more money from drug dealing and running prostitutes than he ever did from music, despite gaining 4 gold discs.
3: Esquirita – Believe Me When I Say (Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Here To Stay). S. Q. Reeder was a fixture on the New Orleans gay scene. He taught Little Richard to play piano and, despite the rest of America hardly knowing him, he was a huge star in France.
4: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You. Rock & Roll’s greatest nut case. Jalancey ‘Jay’ Hawkins, who was a former Golden Gloves boxing champ, got roaring drunk, along with the session men, and cut this classic.
5: Screamin’ Lord Sutch – Dracula’s Daughter. My old mate, Dave, was Britain’s best known loon. An erstwhile politician, he became better known for that than his records. Ritchie Blackmore on lead for this.
6: Danny & The Juniors – At The Hop. The group practised there vocals in the back of one of the band’s Buick. Danny (Rapp) had to be bailed out of jail to get to the recording session. Sadly, he was plagued by insecurity and committed suicide in 1983.
7: Gene Vincent – I’m Going Home (To See My Baby). Cut at Abbey Road and backed by Sounds Incorporated. (Surely Gene deserves two.)
8: The Crickets – Oh Boy. One of Buddy & The Crickets best known early tracks. For copyright reasons, Buddy’s name wasn’t on the label.
9: Chuck Berry – Carol. No list would be complete without a track from one of Rock & Roll’s greatest poets.
10: Duane Eddy – Peter Gunn. Let’s end with an instrumental. Sax player, the aptly named Jim Horn and on piano, doing his first pro job in music, Leon Russell.