I know that there are plenty of arguments as to why we could never isolate one single song as the first rock and roll song ever. And those arguments are more than welcome…if and only if they lead us to identifying the song.
It was in revisiting the American Graffiti soundtrack (thanks to mikeydread’s first Main Stage post) that got me thinking about this again. The common wisdom when the movie came out, at least as relayed to me by my father, was that Bill Haley & The Comets‘ Rock Around the Clock was the first rock and roll song ever.
Since that time I’ve read claim to many others. Following are just some of them:
1916 (because it uses the phrase rockin’ ‘n rollin’)
1949 (by Jimmy Preston, this is Haley’s 1952 cover followed by Rock Around the Clock)
1951 (Ike Turner, this is Haley’s cover from the same year)
Is it one of these? Another?