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Is This the First Rock and Roll Song?

Who Was Wild Bill Moore?

Bill Moore was born in Detroit in 1918 and began playing the sax at an early age. After the Second World War he released a few albums with one small hit (1948) called “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll”. This song still draws interest today because it was one of the first use of the the words, Rock and Roll, plus it had a lively rhythm you could dance to.

Elvis Presley started his career by performing early rock songs from the 40s


Rock’n Roll Did not Begin with a Single Song

Most likely Rock’n Roll did not happen overnight. Nonetheless, it’s a lot of fun to look back and speculate on the first rock’n roll song. Of all the songs released right after WWII, this rockin’ tune by Mr. Moore definitely stands out. Others that might draw a listen, include “Shake, Rattle and Roll” by Big Joe Turner and his band (1939), “Rock the Joint” by Jimmy Preston and “Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris. Another strong candidate is “That’s Alright Mama” released by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup in 1946.  As the writer at getrockready points out, all the instrumentation is right, though there is no actual mention of Rockin’ and Rollin’. By the way this is the very same song that Elvis released eight years later on his way to fame.

Songs That Mention Rockin’ and or Rollin’

Perhaps the first song that links rock with roll was a blues number recorded in 1922 by Trixie Smith. It is titled My Man Rocks Me (with one steady roll), but the musical style is definitely pre-rock. By the late thirties “rock” and “roll” were more commonly used in titling a song. For example in 1938, Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson put out “Roll ‘Em Pete” and then a year later Buddy Rollins released “Rockin Rollin Mama”.

For more insight into this fascinating topic, check out my article on Spinditty,

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