musicology #65

Ike Turner Tribute #5 (Rocket88 – Jackie Brenstons Delta Cats – Chess – 1951)

couldn’t lay down a tribute to Ike without including the classic Rocket88. hailed by many as the first ‘Rock&Roll’ record. Teenage DJ Isiah ‘Ike’ Turner orchestrates and smashes the piano on this his first recording. vocal by Clarksdale’s Jackie Brenston it also features a saxophone break by 17 year old Raymond Hill, (the father of Tina’s first child).

recorded in the spring of 1951 by Sam Phillips and sold to the brothers Chess. Phillips used the money to found Sun a year later and the rest is Rock & Roll history. ‘written’ by Ike the song is largely based on Jimmy Liggins 1947 cut ‘Cadillac Boogie’ as well as boogie woogie piano legend Pete Johnsons 1949 piece ‘Rocket88 boogie’ but it’s not the song itself that is ‘new’ .. more the elusive & mystical ‘vibes’ produced in complete harmony by these ‘hepcats’ that just goes to prove that pieces like this don’t grow on trees.

for themusicologist it’s always a treat and one that satisfies no matter how many times I’ve had the pleasure.


4 thoughts on “musicology #65

  1. Here’s my list of the first Rock n’ Roll Songs:
    1945 – Caledonia by Louis Jordan & His Tympany 5
    1947 – Good Rockin’ Tonight – Wynonie Harris
    1949 – The Fat Man – Fats Domino
    1950 – Rock It – Lil Armstrong
    1951 – Rocket 88 – Jackie Brenston & The Delta Cats


  2. nice list, don’t know the Lil Armstrong.

    love all the others as well, especially the Louis Jordan who is one of my favourite Rhythm & Blues artists.

    thanks for sharing it with us


  3. Wynonie Harris’s “Good Rocking Tonight” is another classic (didn’t know it was recorded/released in ’47… Not surprised though… chuckle, chuckle!!!)


  4. yep..1947. interesting year in more ways than one.
    for themusicologist the year ‘mods’ were born. controversial I know but when you consider that it was the year that at least three, (famous), ‘mods’ were born.

    David Bowie
    Steve Marriott
    Marc Bolan

    of course we can make 1+1= anything but it can’t be denied that the three names mentioned are all nailed on Mods.

    Mark Feld, (Bolan), featured in the modfamous Town article as a 15 year old full of the Mod attitude.

    David Bowie who we all know has always been at the cutting edge, (Mod trait), of trends.

    Stevie Marriott … ’nuff said.

    one from South of the River, one from North and one from East, a small illustration of the London-wide appeal of England’s first and most ‘important’ working class led youth cult and the well from which all others have sprung from Suede/Skinhead to house nation and beyond.


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