27 May, 2020

The King of Rock and Roll: Not Elvis

Posted by Socrates in Bill Haley, music, rock music, Socrates at 11:18 am | Permanent Link

(Above: Bill Haley)

I like Elvis Presley, but he wasn’t “The King of Rock and Roll” music. (And forget Chuck Berry, who is called “The Father of Rock and Roll” by many people: he came along in 1955, after Elvis).

Those two titles belong to Bill Haley. Indeed, Haley enjoyed a number of “firsts” in rock and roll, including “First rock ‘n’ roll star to write his own music.”

Not only did Bill Haley and the Comets arrive on the scene in 1951/1952 (before Elvis arrived in 1953/1954), but, importantly, Haley’s music was not based on negro rhythm and blues like the rest of the popular rock acts (the only exception to that is Buddy Holly). Haley’s new sound was called “rockabilly” [1][2].

Haley-as-the-king-of-rock (and Holly to a lesser extent) is sort of a “game-changer” because he means that rock and roll wasn’t Black-based (at first, until White people like the Rolling Stones came along and “re-Blacked” rock and roll — which was really easy for Mick Jagger, heh-heh-heh).


[1] Haley’s first original song, “Crazy Man, Crazy” (1953) “was the first rock and roll song to be televised nationally when it was used on the soundtrack for a 1953 television show starring James Dean.” — Wikipedia

[2] “Bill Haley and the Comets were the first rock and roll performers to appear on the CBS television musical variety program The Ed Sullivan Show, or Toast of the Town on Sunday, August 7, 1955” — Wikipedia

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