Leaving out first-generation rock ‘n rollers whose earliest recordings may have predated the blossoming of rock ‘n roll and leaving out novelty goofs on the genre by pre- or barely-rock artists like Pat Boone and his heavy metal album, what pre-rock ‘n roll musicians tried their hand at making an outright rock ‘n roll record?
Muddy Waters‘ Electric Mud album springs to mind. It’s pretty bad, but it’s a wholesale rockified take on a well-established bluesman’s sound. I would think other blues artists who were being celebrated by 1960s rock ‘n roll kids made rock albums to some extent or another, but some old bluesman doing almost what he’d already done with the backing of The Yardbirds or Canned Heat isn’t really what I have in mind. Those records weren’t really the artist’s move into rock ‘n roll as much as they were sponsorship for a move into the rock ‘n roll bins of record stores.
Already established blues legends moving into rock ‘n roll must have been a fairly natural shift, as would some established country artists rocking up their sound, but I’m most curious to know whether the likes of a jazz musician or Big Band singer—someone from a genre that’s not considered a direct antecedent of rock ‘n roll—tried his or her hand at rock ‘n roll. Frank Sinatra dueting on a pre-rock or pre-rock style song with Bono doesn’t count.
Or if one doesn’t come to mind, let your imagination run wild. Which pre-rock musician would you have most liked to hear cut a real rock ‘n roll record, in a style of your choosing? Put the musician in a time machine, if you’d like, and speculate on the style of rock ‘n roll that may have best fit Nat King Cole, for instance.
I look forward to your comments.