Some time in the mid-1990s I went to write about the rival Elvis impersonators of Streatham.
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Here’s my final contender for the earliest rock’n’roll song. And I think it’s the winner. (more…)

Sam Phillips is arguably the single most important name in the history of rock’n’roll music. (more…)

I’m sure everyone has heard Hound Dog by Elvis. I’m equally sure most have never heard the original, recorded by Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton four years earlier in 1952.
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Released in 1951, this is the tune that a considerable consensus of people – mostly old white people – believe to be the first rock’n’roll song. (more…)

I have to confess that while I know plenty of music by John Lee Hooker, I didn’t even know the name of his equally talented cousin. (more…)

Here’s another of the songs that shaped rock’n’roll, by one of the most flamboyant characters – and greatest guitarists – of that postwar era. (more…)

Here’s a hard-rocking instrumental by a guitarist who must surely have been a major influence on Chuck Berry.
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Well this is pure filth. And the last thing you’d expect from a god-fearing gal raised in the church. But there you are: Dinah Washington was one of a kind. (more…)

Any appreciation of the roots of rock’n’roll has to include jump blues pianist and singer Floyd Dixon – the self-appointed “Mr Magnificent.” (more…)