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HISTORY OF ROCK N ROLL — Music Legends Elvis Presley biography


This page is dedicated to providing the site visitor with quality Elvis Presley biography information, pictures and articles for your entertainment. The contents of this Elvis Presley biography site is written by a fan for his fans.

Elvis Presley Inspirations for his Rock’n’Roll music
When Elvis began putting together his collection of music for his comeback, he was able to reflect on many years of a great range of popular American music, including his own and that of other’s.

Article also continues below for more information about Elvis Presley’s Star sign And Fame

Elvis Presley √ Voice Characteristics
find out more about his remarkable voice with comments from his fans in their survey replies to me and more.

The Sun Recordings By Elvis Presley
Read here to find out more about his studio recordings including lyrics and much more.

Elvis Presley — An American Phenomenon
with comments from his fans in their survey replies to me read more here.

"Elvis And Me: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
Elvis and Me is a 1985 American biography written by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, the former wife of singer Elvis Presley. The book tells of their meeting on an American army base in Germany and their subsequent relationship.

"Elvis sightings: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
Elvis sightings are a recurring phenomenon in which people claim to see American singer and rock star Elvis Presley, who is reported to have died in August 1977.

"Elvis Presley: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
Elvis Aron Presley (January 8, 1935 — August 16, 1977), known as the king of rock and roll, was an American singer, who had a profound effect on world culture.

"Elvis Presleys Start To Fame: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
Elvis charted more songs on Billboard's Hot 100 than any other artist. (149) Elvis spent more weeks at the top of the charts than any other artist. (80)

"An American Trilogy By Elvis Presley: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"An American Trilogy" is a song arranged by country songwriter Mickey Newbury and made popular by Elvis Presley. Presley began performing the song in concert in 1972≈a February recording was released by RCA as a single.

"My Happiness: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"My Happiness" is a popular and country music song. It was written by Betty Peterson Blasco and Borney Bergantine in 1933. The song was most popular in 1948, with a number of hit versions, the biggest of which was by Jon and Sondra Steele, with major hits as well for The Pied Pipers, Ella Fitzgerald, and The Marlin Sisters.

"Elvis Presley The Sun Sessions: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
The Sun Sessions is a compilation of Elvis Presley recordings at Sun Studios in 1954 and 1955. It was released in 1976. It features most of the tracks recorded by Sam Phillips, the head of Sun Studios.

"Always on My Mind: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Always On My Mind" is a song originally recorded by Brenda Lee and released on June 12th, 1972, with music and lyrics by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson Thompson.

"A Little Less Conversation: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"A Little Less Conversation" is a song written by Mac Davis and Billy Strange and was originally recorded by Elvis Presley for the movie Live a Little, Love a Little in 1968. It was released by RCA Victor as a single (the B-side being "Almost in Love"), but the release was only a moderate success, indicative of the diminishing returns Presley's movie recordings were exhibiting at the time.

"A Big Hunk o' Love: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"A Big Hunk o' Love", a song sung by Elvis Presley, was recorded on June 10, 1958 in RCA's Nashville, Tennessee studio, while Presley was on leave from the U.S. Army. It was released as a single A-side on June 23, 1959. Its B-side was "My Wish Came True". It was Presley's twelfth number-one hit, and it reached number four in the United Kingdom. The song was recorded in four takes, the released version is actually spliced from takes three and four.

"Peace In The Valley Gospel Song: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Peace in the Valley" is a 1939 song written by Thomas A. Dorsey, originally for Mahalia Jackson. The song became a hit in 1951 for Red Foley and the Sunshine Boys. It was the first Gospel recording to sell one million copies. The Red Foley version was a 2006 entry into the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry.
The list of other artists who have performed the song is lengthy, with other popular renditions by Elvis Presley (with backing by The Jordanaires), Johnny Cash from his At San Quentin live album, Loretta Lynn, Screaming Trees, as a b-side to their "Dollar Bill" single, and most recently Faith Hill for a concert special.

Fabric Poster


Below are some of the most famous musicians in Rock and Roll, Hillbilly and modern pop music that all influenced and inspired Elvis.

"The Guitar in the History of Rock Music: autobiography music legend
Since rock music was born, the guitar has played a central role in it. It has defined rock so much, that we take rock guitar for granted. But what are the roots of rock, and why is the guitar the emblematic symbol of this genre?

Part of the answer lies in that it is such a readily accessible instrument, and rock and the genres that shaped it were certainly not the music of the elite. But let's take a closer look at the history of the instrument in 20th century popular music.

Buddy Holly autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936√February 3, 1959), better known as Buddy Holly, was an American singer, songwriter, and a pioneer of Rock and Roll.

Bill Haley autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
If ever there was an anthem to rock and roll it was the song "We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock" performed by Billy Haley and His Comets. The songs powerful refrain and driving beat ushered in a new style for a new era in popular music.

Chuck Berry autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
Charles Edward Anderson Berry (born October 18, 1926), better known as Chuck Berry, is an American guitarist, singer and composer. Berry was born in St. Louis, Missouri and was one of the first members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1986).

Brenda Lee autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
Brenda Lee, real name Brenda Mae Tarpley (born December 11, 1944), was an American teen idol and country singer from Lithonia, Georgia.

Carl Perkins autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
Carl Perkins, who wrote the hit song ``Blue Suede Shoes'' that helped lift Elvis Presley to stardom, and who became a legend himself as one of the founders of rock and roll, died at age 65.

"The Jordanaires: autobiography music legend
The Jordanaires are an American singing group formed in 1948 in Springfield, Missouri. The group formed in 1948, with members Bill Matthews (first tenor), Bob Hubbard (second tenor/lead), Bill's brother Monty Matthews (baritone), Culley Holt (bass), and pianist Bob Money. BR>

John Lennon autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
John Lennon was a singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer, author, actor, filmmaker, artist, and political spokesman, and one of the greatest figures in postwar popular music.

Ray Charles autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
A keyboard virtuoso and powerful vocalist, Ray Charles was one of the most influential black musicians of the 20th century. His revolutionary addition of high-energy gospel vocals to R&B; was, to a large degree, responsible for the development of soul music.

Ritchie Valens autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
February 3rd, 1959, a young boy with superstar potential was killed. Ritchie Valens was just seventeen years old and although still in his first year as a recording artist, had already made a name for himself in the music industry.

BILL HALEY picture "Elvis In Concert: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
Elvis In Concert is a 1977 TV special starring Elvis Presley. It was Elvis' third TV special, following Elvis (aka The '68 Comeback Special) and Aloha From Hawaii. It was filmed during Presley's final tour in the cities of Omaha, Nebraska on June 19, 1977 and Rapid City, South Dakota on June 21, 1977. It was shown on CBS in October 1977. It is one of the few videos of Elvis which remain unlikely to ever be released for home viewing and is only available in bootleg form.

"Gospel Music roots of Elvis Presley and his inspiration: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
Ironically, for all the controversy surrounding his early career, Elvis Presley's roots in religious music ran deep.

In Tupelo, Mississippi, Vernon and Gladys Presley were what was disparagingly referred to as poor white trash from the "wrong side of the tracks" at the east end of town.

"The Blackwood Brothers: autobiography music legend
The Blackwood Brothers Quartet is a famous American gospel music singing group. They formed in 1934 in the midst of the Great Depression when preacher Roy Blackwood moved his family back home to Mississippi. His brothers Doyle and James (only 15 at the time) already had some experience singing with Vardaman Ray and Gene Catledge. Adding Roy's 13-year-old son R. W. Blackwood to sing baritone, the brothers began to travel and sing locally. By 1940, they were affiliated with Stamps-Baxter to sell songbooks and were appearing on 50,000-watt radio station KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa.

"Elvis Presley Musical milestones: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
During his lifetime, Elvis Presley:

∙ recorded 104 singles that hit the Top 40 of the Billboard pop chart. (An additional 47 Presley singles charted in the #41-100 region of the charts; Presley's total of 151 chart hits is easily the most for any performer of the rock era.)

"Stamps Quartet: autobiography music legend
A series of significant events in the 1920s launched a legendary name in United States in gospel music. It all started in 1924 when VO Stamps formed the VO Stamps School Of Music. Stamps' brother Frank formed the first Stamps Quartet around the same time. Then in 1926, VO partnered with JR Baxter to form the Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Company. They would become the most successful publisher of shape note hymn books in the United States. VO Stamps also formed a quartet of his own.

"Sweet Inspirations: autobiography music legend
The Sweet Inspirations were founded by Cissy Houston, mother of Whitney Houston, and sister of Lee Warrick (herself the mother of well-known sisters Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick). Emily and Lee were members of The Drinkard Singers, a family group that had the distinction of recording the first gospel album to appear on a major label: A live recording from The Newport Jazz Festival in 1959. The line-up included Judy Guions (who later became Judy Clay), Marie Epps, Larry Drinkard, Nicholas Drinkard, Ann Moss, Lee and Emily.

"J. D. Sumner: autobiography music legend
John Daniel "J. D." Sumner (November 19, 1924 — November 16, 1998) was an American singer and songwriter. "J.D." Sumner was born in Lakeland, Florida. Sumner was inspired to become a bass singer at the age of four after hearing Frank Stamps perform. He began developing his talent from that moment.

"Elvis Presley — Performs Heartbreak Hotel: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Heartbreak Hotel" is a rock and roll song by Elvis Presley, with Bill Black (bass), Scotty Moore (guitar), and D.J Fontana on the drums as the main supporting musicians. Recorded in January 1956, the song introduced Presley to the American national music consciousness. It was released as a single with the b-side song "I Was The One" on January 27, 1956.

"Elvis Presley — If I Can Dream: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
The song "If I Can Dream", made famous by Elvis Presley, was a large part of his foray into gospel music. He used his rock and roll style and appeal to bring messages with meaning to him to his fans.

"Hound Dog: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Hound Dog" is a twelve-bar blues written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and orignally recorded by Willa Mae "Big Mama" Thornton. Other early versions illustrate the differences among rhythm and blues, country, and rock and roll in the mid 1950s.

"Elvis Presley √ Green, Green Grass of Home: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Green Green Grass of Home" (Claude "Curly" Putman Jr.) is a country song originally made popular by Tom Jones in 1966. (It had been recorded earlier that year by Jerry Lee Lewis, without success.) Since then it has been a popular cover song, recorded, for example, by Elvis Presley in 1975, by Johnny Cash on his 1968 Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison album, Kenny Rogers on his self-titled album, Kenny Rogers, in 1977, Porter Wagoner, and also by Stompin' Tom Connors on his album Stompin' Tom Connors, 'LIVE' at the Horseshoe in 1971.

"Gerry & the Pacemakers: autobiography music legend
Gerry & the Pacemakers was a British rock and roll group during the 1960s, and one of the few groups to initially challenge The Beatles in popularity. Like the Beatles, they came from Liverpool and were also managed by Brian Epstein.

"Frank Stamps: autobiography music legend
Stamps, Frank Howard(1896 — 1965)
Frank Stamps was a native of Upshur County, Texas. He served in World War I, and then attended the Vaughan School of Music. When his brother, V. O. Stamps, formed a music company in 1924, Frank organized the Frank Stamps Quartet as a promotional group to represent the company’s songbooks.

"Eddy Arnold: autobiography music legend
Eddy Arnold (May 15, 1918) is an American country music singer who is second to George Jones in the number of individual hits on the country charts but, according to a formula derived by Joel Whitburn, is the all-time leader in an overall ranking for hits and their time on the charts. From 1945 through 1983 he had 145 charted songs, including 28 Number 1 hits.

"Tina Turner: autobiography music legend
Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock on November 26, 1939) is a Grammy Award-winning American pop/rock singer, Buddhist and occasional actress.Born in Nutbush (now Brownsville, Tennessee), of African American, Navajo, and Cherokee ancestry. At age 16, she moved to St. Louis, Missouri and became well-known for her high energy performances with The Ike and Tina Turner Revue during the 1960s and 1970s.

"Dionne Warwick: autobiography music legend
Dionne Warwick (born December 12, 1940 in East Orange, New Jersey, as Marie Dionne Warrick) is an American singer best known for her work with Hal David and Burt Bacharach as songwriters.

"Blue Moon: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
Cover of sheet music for Blue Moon arranged by Jeff Funk, scored by SATB choir, and published by Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. "Blue Moon" is a classic popular song. It was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934, and has become a standard ballad

"Dusty Springfield: autobiography music legend
Dusty Springfield, OBE (April 16, 1939 √ March 2, 1999) was a British popular singer whose career spanned more than forty years. She achieved her most notable success during the 1960's.

"Elvis Presley — Can't Help Falling in Love: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Can't Help Falling in Love," by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, is a pop song based on "Plaisir d'amour" by Jean Paul Egide Martini. It was rewritten for the 1961 film Blue Hawaii, starring Elvis Presley.

"Elvis Presley — Don't Be Cruel: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Don't Be Cruel" is a song by Otis Blackwell, which was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1956. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2004 it was listed number 197 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"Elvis Presley — In the Ghetto: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"In the Ghetto" is a song written by American singer-songwriter Mac Davis and made popular by rock and roll singer Elvis Presley. The song was released in 1969 as a 45 rpm single with Any Day Now as flip side.

"Elvis Presley — Jailhouse Rock: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Jailhouse Rock" is a song written by Leiber and Stoller that first became a hit for Elvis Presley. The song was first released as a 45rpm single on September 24, 1957, to coincide with the release of Presley's motion picture, Jailhouse Rock.

"Christmas Song Lyrics performed By Elvis Presley: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
Great Christmas time favorites, enjoy the season with the lyrics to your favorite Elvis Presley Christmas song. Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane), I’ll Be Home For Christmas, and more.

"Elvis Presley — Suspicious Minds: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Suspicious Minds" was a song performed most notably by Elvis Presley, and was widely regarded as the single that jumpstarted his career after his successful '68 Comeback Special. It was Elvis's eighteenth number-one single in the United States. Rolling Stone later ranked it #91 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

"Elvis Presley — That's All Right (Mama) : King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"That's All Right (Mama)" is the name of the first single released by Elvis Presley. It was recorded in July 1954, and released on July 19, 1954. "That's All Right (Mama)" was written by Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup.

"D. J. Fontana: autobiography music legend
Dominic Joseph Fontana (born March 15, 1931 in Shreveport, Louisiana) is an American musician best known as the drummer for Elvis Presley. Nicknamed "D.J.," he was employed by the Louisiana Hayride to be an in-house drummer on its Saturday night radio broadcast.

"Elvis Presley — Blue Moon of Kentucky: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Blue Moon of Kentucky" is a bluegrass song, written by Bill Monroe in 1947 and recorded by his band, The Blue Grass Boys. The song has since been recorded by Patsy Cline, Elvis Presley, Ronnie Hawkins, LeAnn Rimes, Paul McCartney, Boxcar Willie, Carl Perkins, Ray Charles and others.

"Mahalia Jackson: autobiography music legend
Jackson grew up in the "Black Pearl" section of the Carrollton neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana, and began singing in a Baptist church. In 1927 she moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she sang with The Johnson Brothers, one of the earliest professional gospel groups.

"Engelbert Humperdinck autobiography music legend
Arnold George Dorsey (born May 2, 1936 in Madras, India) is a well-known pop singer of the 1950s-present.

"Creedence Clearwater Revival: autobiography music legend
The band started out as The Blue Velvets, formed by John Fogerty, Doug Clifford, and Stu Cook in El Cerrito, California in the late 1950s.

"Paul McCartney: autobiography music legend
Paul McCartney (1964)Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE (born June 18, 1942) is a British singer, musician and songwriter, who first came to prominence as a member of The Beatles.

"Tom Jones: autobiography music legend
He rose to fame in the mid-1960s, with an exuberant live act which included wearing tight breeches and billowing shirts, in an Edwardian style popular amongst his peers at the time. Jones was awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist for 1965.

"Little Richard: autobiography music legend
Little Richard (born Richard Wayne Penniman, December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist, and an early pioneer of rock and roll

"John Denver: autobiography music legend
John Denver (December 31, 1943 √ October 12, 1997), born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., was an American folk singer/songwriter and folk-rock musician who was one of the biggest selling artists of the 1970s. In his lifetime, he recorded and released 289 songs, 140 of which he wrote.

"Yoko Ono: autobiography music legend
Yoko Ono on the cover of her album FlyYoko Ono Lennon (born February 18, 1933) is a Japanese musician and artist who has lived most of her life in the United States.

"Elvis Presley Performs Can't Help Falling in Love: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
"Can't Help Falling in Love" is a pop song based on "Plaisir d'amour" by Giovanni Martini that was re-written for the 1961 film "Blue Hawaii", starring Elvis Presley, by George Weiss, Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore. During the course of the following 45 years or so, it has been recorded by numerous other artists, most notably by the UK group UB40 in the early 1990s.

"Scotty Moore: autobiography music legend
(born December 27, 1931 near Gadsden, Tennessee) is a legendary American guitarist and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Scotty Moore learned to play the guitar from family and friends at eight years of age. Although underaged when he enlisted, Moore served in the United States Navy between 1948 and 1952.

"Lionel Richie: autobiography music legend
Lionel Sandrasinghi Richie, Jr. (born June 20, 1949 in Tuskegee, Alabama) is an American R&B; singer, songwriter, composer, and occasional actor who got his start as the front man for the Commodores, a nationally popular Motown band during the 70's. They had several hits such as Easy, Three Times A Lady, and probably the Commodores' most famous hit, Brick House.

"Simon And Grafunkel: autobiography music legend
Bridge Over Troubled Water is an album by Simon and Garfunkel (their fifth and final studio album) released on January 26, 1970. The album reached number 1 on Billboard Music Charts' pop albums list. It won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, as well as for Best Engineered Recording, while its title track won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in the Grammy Awards of 1971.

"Bill Black: autobiography music legend
(September 17, 1926 √ October 21, 1965) was an American musician.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee. In July of 1954, Bill Black played bass ('slapped/rockabilly' upright double) with guitarist Scotty Moore while Elvis Presley sang "That's All Right (Mama)" in a Sun Studios session in Memphis that is considered a seminal event in the history of Rock and Roll.

"Darlene Love: autobiography music legend
Darlene Love (born Darlene Wright on July 26, 1938 in Los Angeles, California) is an American popular music singer.

She began her singing with her local church choir. While still in high school she was invited to join a little-know "girl group" called The Blossoms, who soon began recording for producer Phil Spector.

"Elvis-Aloha From Hawaii: King of Rock'n'Roll autobiography
Aloha from Hawaii is an Elvis Presley music concert broadcast on the NBC television network on January 14, 1973.

The first-ever such performance to be broadcast live via satellite, Presley taped a January 12th rehearsal concert as a fail-safe in case anything went wrong with the satellite broadcast.

"George Harrison:
George Harold Harrison, MBE (February 25, 1943 √ November 29, 2001) was a popular British guitarist, singer, songwriter, record producer, and film producer, best known as a member of The Beatles. Harrison was the lead guitarist of The Beatles. During the band’s extremely successful career, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were its main songwriters.

"B B King:
B. B. King
Riley B. King aka B. B. King (born September 16, 1925) is a well known American blues guitarist and songwriter. He is among the most respected electric guitarists. One of King's trademarks is naming his guitars "Lucille", a tradition that began in the 1950s. Born in Itta Bena, Mississippi, King spent much of his childhood sharing time living with his mother and his grandmother and working as a sharecropper.

"Ed Sullivan:
Edward Vincent Sullivan (September 28, 1901 √ October 13, 1974) was an American entertainment writer and television host, best known as the emcee of a popular TV variety show that was at its height of popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. Sullivan was originally a newspaper sportswriter and theater columnist for the New York Daily News.

"Johnny Cash:
John R. Cash (February 26, 1932 √ September 12, 2003) was a vastly influential American country music singer, guitarist and songwriter.

Cash was known for his deep, distinctive voice, the boom chicka boom sound of his Tennessee Three backing band, and his dark clothing and demeanor, which earned him the nickname "The Man in Black." He started all his concerts with the simple introduction: "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."

"Dolly Parton:
Dolly Parton, 2005Dolly Parton (born January 19, 1946) is an American country singer, songwriter, composer, author and actress.

She was born Dolly Rebecca Parton in Sevierville, Tennessee, the fourth of twelve children born to Robert Lee Parton and Avie Lee Owens, and grew up "dirt poor" in a rustic one-room cabin in the Smoky Mountains, also described as a "run-down farm" near Locust Ridge.

"The Jackson 5: autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
The Jackson 5 (also spelled The Jackson Five or The Jackson 5ive, abbreviated as J5, and later known simply as The Jacksons) were an American popular music quintet from Gary, Indiana.

The group, active from 1962 to 1990, regularly played from a repertoire of R&B;, soul, funk, and later disco.

"Charley Pride:
Charley Frank Pride (born March 18, 1938 in Sledge, Mississippi) is a former Negro League baseball player who became one of the only African Americans to have a successful career in modern country music. Pride was one of eleven children born to desperately poor sharecroppers.

"The Monkees:
The Monkees were a four-man musical band created to be the stars of an American television series of the same name, which ran on NBC from 1966 to 1968. The Monkees were formed in 1965 in Los Angeles, California and disbanded in 1970. At their peak they were one of the most popular musical acts of their time.

"Sammy Davis, Jr.:
Sammy Davis, Jr. (December 8, 1925 √ May 16, 1990) was an American "all-around" entertainer. He danced; sang; played vibraphone, trumpet, and drums; did impressions; told jokes; and acted. He was born in Harlem, New York City to Elvera Sanchez, a Puerto Rican woman, and Sammy Davis, Sr., a black man, who were vaudeville dancers.

"Jimi Hendrix:
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix (27 November 1942, Seattle, Washington √ 18 September 1970, London, England) was an American musician, songwriter and guitarist, widely hailed by fans and music critics. Hendrix is considered one of the most influential electric guitarists of all time.

"Neil Young:
Neil Young with guitar (from the 1991 Weld tour)Neil Percival Kenneth Robert Ragland Young, better known as Neil Young (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has become one of the most respected and influential musicians of his generation.

"Sonny And Cher:
Sonny and Cher were an American rock and roll duo, made up of husband and wife team Sonny Bono and Cher in the '60s and '70s. They were the first hippies with mainstream appeal, although Bono's hippiedom may have been for promotional purposes only.

"Andy Williams:
Andy Williams (born Howard Andrew Williams in December 3, 1927) is an American pop singer from Wall Lake, Iowa. He first performed in a children's choir at the local Presbyterian church.

Williams and his three older brothers Bob, Dick, and Don, formed a quartet, the Williams Brothers, in the late 1930s, and they performed on radio in the Midwest, first at WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, and later at WLS in Chicago and WLW in Cincinnati.

"Fred Astaire:
Fred Astaire (May 10, 1899 √ June 22, 1987), born Frederick Austerlitz in Omaha, Nebraska, was an American film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer and actor. He is particularly associated with Ginger Rogers, with whom he made ten films.<

"Glen Campell:
Glen Campbell (born April 22, 1936) is an American pop-country singer, best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as for hosting a television variety show.

Campbell is a native of Delight, Arkansas and began playing the guitar as a youth without ever learning to read music. By the time he was eighteen, Campbell was touring the south as part of the "Western Wranglers".

"Shirley Jones:
Shirley Mae Jones (born March 31, 1934 in Charleroi, Pennsylvania of Welsh descent) is a singer and actress, perhaps best known for her starring role as "Shirley Partridge", the widowed mother of 5 children, in the television series The Partridge Family, in which, ironically she played the mother of David Cassidy, who was her real-life stepson.

"James Brown:
James Joseph Brown (born May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina) is an African American entertainer, having worked as a singer, songwriter, and record producer during his career.

Brown, recognized as one of the most influential figures in 20th century music, was a prime influence in the evolution of gospel and rhythm and blues into soul and funk, a genre he is associated with as its primary founder.

"The Rolling Stones:
The Rolling Stones are a British rock and roll band who rose to prominence during the mid-1960s. The Rolling Stones were original in weaving together various strands of American composition into a new form of popular music, and have been called "The World's Greatest Rock & Roll Band".

"Jerry Lee Lewis:
Jerry Lee Lewis (born September 29, 1935) is an American rock and roll singer, songwriter, and pianist, as well as an early pioneer of the rock and roll movement. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

"Jerry Lee Lewis Part 2:
Jerry Lee Lewis (born September 29, 1935) is an American Rock and Roll pioneer piano player.

Born in Ferriday, Louisiana, he was, like Elvis Presley, brought up singing the Christian gospel music of integrated southern Pentecostal churches. He began playing the piano at a very early age in his church, and in 1950 he attended a fundamentalist bible school in Texas but was expelled for misconduct, including playing rock and roll versions of hymns in church.

"Jerry Lee Lewis Part 3:
Born in Ferriday, Louisiana, he early showed a natural talent at the piano. His parents, though poor, took out a loan to buy him a piano, and within a year he had developed his mature style of playing.

"Annette Funicello:
Annette Funicello (born October 22, 1942) was one of Walt Disney's most popular Mouseketeers.

Born in Utica, New York to an Italian-American family, she took dancing and music lessons as a child and was discovered by Disney while performing in Swan Lake. Her family moved to southern California when she was an adolescent.

"Barbra Streisand:
Barbra Streisand (born April 24, 1942) is an iconic Jewish American singer and film actress, producer, and director. She was born Barbara Joan Streisand in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York then moved to another area in Brooklyn where she was educated at Beis Yakov School and Erasmus Hall High School. Her father died when she was only 15 months old, and she had a lifelong turbulent relationship with her stepfather.

"Bill Hayley And His Comets:
Bill Haley and his Comets was a rock and roll band of the 50s led by guitarist Bill Haley, one of the earliest groups of white musicians to record rock and roll bring it to the attention of white America and the rest of the world. Haley was a country performer who converted to rock and roll almost before there was such a thing.

"Dinah Shore:
Dinah Shore (born Frances Rose Shore, February 29, 1916 √ February 24, 1994) was an American singer, actress and talk show host. She first became famous as a "girl singer" during the Big Band era, then went on to become a movie star. She is best known as the host of a long-running series of popular TV variety programs

Big Bopper: autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
The Big BopperBorn Jiles Perry Richardson, October 24, 1930 in Sabine Pass, Texas. His family moved to Port Arthur when he was very young.He attended public schools, and played football in high school. Jape graduated at Beaumont High School in 1949, While he was in college, he found a job at a radio station in Beaumont, Texas.

Fats Domino autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
Fats Domino, born Antoine Domino (born February 26 1928 in New Orleans, Louisiana), is a classic R&B; singer. He was the best-selling African-American singer of the 1950s and early 1960s.

Roy Orbison autobiography Rock’n’Roll music legend
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Now did you ever wonder how ROCK ▒N’ ROLL got started in the first place? Read on for some ideas

"Will the creator of modern music please stand up?"

It wasn't Bill Haley. It wasn't Elvis. And it didn't happen in 1954. Who did make the first ever rock'n'roll record? Alexis Petridis investigates.

Friday April 16, 2004
The Guardian

Ike Turner: wrote Jackie Brenston's 1951 single, Rocket 88 — widely regarded as the first rock'n'roll record.

In the Newcastle offices of Britain's longest-running rock'n'roll magazine, Now Dig This!, editor Tony Cajiao lets out a hollow chuckle.

"It's like who shot JFK," he says. "It's one of those debates that's going to go on forever. It's one of those questions that there's no answer for.

It would be nice for me to tell you that the first rock'n' roll record ever made was by Fred Bloggs, but it's an impossible thing to do. You're never going to get a definitive answer."

So it would appear. I have spent the past few weeks in search of the first rock'n'roll record and I am more confused than ever.

I have spoken to expert journalists, septuagenarian former record company bosses and, in one notable case, a British rock'n' roll DJ so old he can clearly remember when teddy boys were forced to beat up other teddy boys because no one had invented mods yet.

Along the way, I have been ignored by Ike Turner, heard a variety of genuinely tragic tales about forgotten musical pioneers and discovered a bizarre link between the lost world of late-1940s rhythm and blues and Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining.

Nevertheless, I am ready to admit defeat. And to think it once appeared so straightforward.

I was spurred into action by the fact that 2004 has been widely proclaimed as rock'n'roll's Golden Jubilee year: the 50th anniversary of the release of Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock and the recording of Elvis Presley's That's Alright Mama.

This seems a triumph of marketing over the truth. As every pub quiz bore knows, neither Rock Around the Clock or That's Alright Mama can genuinely claim to be the first rock'n'roll record.

They were simply the first white artists' interpretations of a sound already well-established by black musicians almost a decade before.

It was a raucous, driving, unnamed variant of rhythm and blues that came complete with lyrics that talked about "rocking" — a term that previously had been used by gospel singers to denote spiritual rapture, but developed more earthy connotations in the postwar world.

However, attempting to define the moment where rhythm and blues turns into rock'n'roll has led me into a sea of bewildering arguments and counter-arguments. Some of these have involved minutely detailed descriptions of snare drum accents and eight-to-the-bar boogie-woogie rhythms.

They are the kind of discussions that could, in the parlance of the day, turn even the coolest cat into a real gone daddio in a matter of seconds.

The most widely held belief is that the first rock'n'roll single was 1951's Rocket 88, written by Ike Turner, sung by Jackie Brenston (the saxophone player from Turner's backing band The Kings of Rhythm), and recorded by Sam Phillips, who later went on to found Sun records and discover Elvis Presley.

"I've had this argument with many many people over the years, but when people talk about rock'n'roll, my own personal view would be Rocket 88," says Wildcat Pete, who has been a rock'n'roll DJ since his schooldays in the mid-50s, and has the sort of phlegmatic manner that presumably comes with a lifetime spent playing records to audiences of baying teds.

"Why? Nobody knows why. It's a chicken and egg situation." Some, however, feel that Rocket 88's reputation may have more to do with Sam Phillips's vociferous later claims he had discovered rock'n'roll long before he discovered Elvis than with its actual sound.

Despite featuring a distorted guitar and a lyric which, in true rock'n'roll style, conflates the power of the singer's car with his virility, it apparently lacks those all-important snare accents.

My attempts to get the notoriously volatile Ike Turner to talk about snare accents, or indeed anything else, meet with failure. I track him down to Memphis, but he won't come to the phone. "It's all kind of dependent on whether he's in a good mood," explains one of his managers.

Like most people who have read his former wife Tina's biography, I have an inkling of what Ike Turner might be like when in a bad mood. I decide not to press the issue.

In any case, if Turner is not willing to speak about the roots of rock'n'roll, there are plenty of others who are, particularly on the internet.

There is, for example, an optician from New York who maintains a website that exists largely to lambast those who dare claim Rocket 88 deserves its pioneering status.

"The reason Rocket 88 has the tradition of being the first rock'n'roll record is the same reason the Brooklyn Bridge has been so marketable over the years," it insists. "There's one born every minute."

Another website pushes the case for New Orleans singer Roy Brown and his singles Good Rocking Tonight — the first record to pun on the gospel term "rocking" — and its follow-up Rocking at Midnight, recorded in 1947 and 1948 respectively.

It claims that Elvis Presley stole so shamelessly from Brown that when he came face to face with him backstage, a mortified Presley immediately wrote Brown a cheque on the first thing that came to hand: a brown paper bag.

There are others that cheerlead for Wynonie Harris, whose 1948 cover version of Good Rocking Tonight was much faster than Roy Brown's original, or claim the title belongs to Rock and Roll, a particularly raucous R&B; track recorded in 1948 by a Detroit boxer-turned-saxophonist called Wild Bill Moore.

Former Mojo editor Paul Trynka, who spent two years in the mid-1990s travelling around the deep South, interviewing aged musicians for a book on the blues, notes that "a lot of black musicians I spoke to would say that Louis Jordan was the first rock'n'roller".

I then discover a book published in America in the 90s, which comes to the disheartening conclusion that any one of 50 records could be candidates for the coveted title.

Finally, I come across a website for a US radio station called WFMU, which seems to suggest that the first rock'n'roll record was something released on a wax cylinder in 1899 called All Coons Look Alike to Me, by Arthur Collins. By this stage, I'm so confused that I'm not entirely sure if they're joking.

"In more recent times it's become more hotly debated, because there's more information available, more room for discussion, things are more easily accessible," says Cajiao.

"All these early interesting things have been thrown up that sound like rock'n'roll, they've got that groove."

But if the flow of information and number of available recordings has increased over the years, then the number of people with first-hand memories of the postwar rhythm and blues scene has dwindled to almost nothing.

Ike Turner aside, all the artists in question are dead, as are virtually all the people who recorded and released them.

The one exception is Joe Bihari, the former vice-chairman of Modern records, a label best-known for discovering blues star BB King, but which also released Wild Bill Moore's Rock and Roll.

Modern should have released Rocket 88 as well, but Bihari claims Sam Phillips swindled them and gave it to rivals Chess instead.

"You had contracts in those days, but it didn't make a difference," he says from his Beverly Hills home. "Musicians would sign a contract every time someone gave them $100."

Now 79, Bihari claims that he "can't remember everything that happened 55 years ago", but he does highlight why the debate over the first rock'n'roll record has a tendency to become deeply emotive: race.

There is little doubt that Wynonie Harris or Roy Brown failed where Bill Haley succeeded in breaking through to a mass market not because their records sounded significantly different, but because of the colour of their skin. "Was it hard getting those records played on the radio at that time?

Darn right! There was very little airplay for R&B; records, because there were very few black DJs, and very few black stations that played black music. Also, it wasn't easy, particularly in the south, for white kids to bring home black music in the 1940s. Their parents frowned on it."

I'm rather hoping that Bihari will staunchly defend the claim of the Wild Bill Moore single to the title of first rock'n'roll record, but he seems surprised by the suggestion. "No. I don't think so. It was titled Rock and Roll, but that title probably just came out of my head.

Bill Moore was a saxophone player and that record was released during the hucklebuck era, when that honking sax first became big. I think Rocket 88 was a more melodic record. Rock and Roll was a lot of saxophone playing."

The debate gains further pathos because none of the R&B; pioneers mooted as the makers of the first rock'n'roll record had much success in the years after Elvis. Wynonie Harris and Wild Bill Moore faded away — the latter became a session musician and played on Marvin Gaye's What's Goin' On.

As it turned out, they were the lucky ones. Ike Turner aside, the only figure among them to gain serious celebrity in later years was the least known at the time.

Scatman Crothers sang an uncredited lead vocal on Wild Bill Moore's Rock and Roll, and later became known as an actor in the US: his biggest role was as chef Dick Halloran in The Shining.

As for Jackie Brenston, although Rocket 88 was a number one hit in 1951, his life quickly began to unravel. He left Turner's band, then rejoined, but never had another hit and became an alcoholic.

Singer Jimmy Thomas, who joined Turner's band in the late 50s, later recalled Brenston "drinking that really bad shit — stuff you probably wouldn't allow in your house, not even to wash the floor".

Brenston finally quit music, became a truck driver and died forgotten in 1979.

Despite Elvis's debt, Roy Brown had no better luck.

In 1952 he attempted to sue his manager for unpaid royalties, but succeeded only in getting himself blackballed from the music industry. He spent much of his life as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, dying in 1983.

Another rock'n'roll DJ I speak to, Tony Thorpe, worries that those who spend all this time obsessing over what was the first rock'n'roll record are missing the point. "I often wonder if people who are into all the information side actually lose what rock'n'roll is all about," he says.

"They're more interested in who was making the coffee in the studio than the actual music, the feeling. You can enjoy a record even if you don't know or care who it's by."

After a few weeks of reading up on the pivotal importance of snare accents, you can see what he means. But perhaps the point of all those nitpicking internet arguments, and indeed about the ongoing debate over who produced the first rock'n'roll record, is to afford some musical pioneers a courtesy they were denied while they were alive: a degree of respect.

Meanwhile in Newcastle, Tony Cajiao has changed his mind. Earlier, he had plumped for Rocket 88, on the grounds that "if it was good enough for Sam Phillips, it's good enough for me". Now he's not sure.

"You know, even though you'll find things with an even earlier recording date that sound just like rock'n'roll," he muses, "you have to say that Rock Around the Clock was the first record that really brought everything together, that made tremors around the world."

I stifle a groan: weeks later, I appear to be back where I started.

∙ Send any comments or feedback about this article to friday.review@guardian.co.uk

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