Monday, March 14, 2011

Sixty years ago

Sixty years ago on March 5, 1951, an accident changed music forever when a band from Clarksdale, Mississippi drove to Memphis for an audition with Sam Phillips. The band Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats began experimenting with ways to produce a decent sound. Their amp became loose and fell from the roof of the car during the trip. They stuffed some paper into the amp and Sam chose to emphasize this during the recording. The song “Rocket 88” a reference to the popular Oldsmobile car was recorded and by June was at #1. This song has been claimed to be the first rock and roll song. It raucous, unbridled energy certainly foreshadowed much that was to follow. Later Sam Phillips discovered Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and others. To learn more about Sam Phillips try the book “Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Colin Escott, which is a history of, Sun Studios or the new biography “Sun King, the life and times of Sam Phillips” by Kevin Crouch. We also have the song “Rocket 88” on the CD “Memphis celebrates 50 years of rock and roll”.

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