My earlier diversion into British Invasion videos really had no connection to country music at all.
However, with the Pioneers Of Rock, we see the influence that early rock & roll had on country music.
So, we're going back to the early, early years of rock & roll.
An important note, before we begin. The song "Rocket 88" is widely credited as the first rock & roll song. This was in 1951! One doesn't think about rock & roll going back that far. This is a great song, but I cannot find a video performance of it. The song, although not credited to him, was the creation of Ike Turner. Search it out. Look for a download on iTunes or Amazon. It's a really good song.
BUDDY HOLLY - THAT'LL BE THE DAY
This TV appearance is from 1958, one year before the music died. A couple of things stand out about The Crickets ~~ It's weird that there's a "Shadow Buddy" playing rhythm guitar. Seriously, he looks just like Buddy. Maybe it was Buddy. Hmmm....food for thought.... Also, is that Bing Crosby's son playing upright bass? Buddy died in February of 1959 in Clear Lake, Iowa. We drove down to Iowa last summer, and we passed Clear Lake on the interstate. I wondered if the Surf Ballroom was still in existence. And by the way, I hate the song, "American Pie". I know a lot of people like it, but it just goes ON and ON. Sorry, but it's just boring.
MY FAVORITE BUDDY HOLLY SONG: THINK IT OVER
CHUCK BERRY - JOHNNY B. GOODE
I'm not sure what TV show this is from, but hey! There's Trini Lopez! Boy, that's a name you haven't heard in awhile. I wonder if he's still around somewhere, singing "Lemon Tree". Well, I like this video, because we get to see Chuck doing his famous duck walk. I don't care for the dancers, though. They're a bit too obtrusive. Although dancing basketball referees is an original concept. Every time I hear this song, I think of "Back To The Future" ~~ can't help it.
FAVORITE CHUCK BERRY SONG: MAYBELLINE ("As I was motivatin' over the hill" - love that line.)
LITTLE RICHARD - LUCILLE
This is early Little Richard, but even then, he had that maniacal look in his eyes that we've come to know and love from the Geico commercials. By the looks of the audience, it appears the Yardbirds attended en masse, as well as a young Dolly Parton.
FAVORITE LITTLE RICHARD SONG: LUCILLE
JERRY LEE LEWIS - WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN' GOIN' ON
Well. You gotta love him. I do. I think Jerry Lee is fantastically talented. He was fantastically talented as a rock & roller, and he was fantastically talented as a country singer. And he's still going strong today. Jerry's had his ups and downs over the years. And sad to say, he no longer has the blonde ringlets. But, boy, was he crazy...in a good way.
FAVORITE JERRY LEE LEWIS SONG (ROCK): GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
ELVIS PRESLEY - DON'T BE CRUEL
Really, what's there to say about Elvis that hasn't already been said? So, let's talk about the Jordanaires. Hey, where would Elvis have been without the Jordanaires? Without all those "bah bah's"? Think about it. And they all stood in a line so efficiently. I wonder if Big E took the Jordanaires everywhere with him. "Hey guys, I gotta go to the men's room. Could you stand outside and sing, "bah bah" for me? Thank you, thank you very much."
FAVORITE ELVIS SONG: LAWDY MISS CLAUDY
CARL PERKINS - BLUE SUEDE SHOES
Unfortunately, this is a shortened version of the song. I didn't realize that when I chose it. I guess they needed to go to a Winston cigarette commercial or something. Anyway, here's Carl and his band, being introduced by a not-yet-comatose Perry Como. I had no idea that Lyle Lovett could even play upright bass. Well, sorry, Elvis, but Carl's version of this song blows yours out of the water. Better luck next time....if there is a next time......
FAVORITE CARL PERKINS SONG: MATCHBOX
FATS DOMINO - BLUEBERRY HILL
Okay, ANOTHER shortened version. What the...? It hardly seems worth the bother to show up. And what was with that damn cameraman? Poor Fats had to keep twisting around. I thought the cameraman was supposed to follow the performer; not the other way around. And by the way, why was he called "Fats"? I'd call him "Slightly Overweight Domino".
FAVORITE FATS DOMINO SONG: BLUE MONDAY
THE EVERLY BROTHERS - CATHY'S CLOWN
Well, my first thought is, there were some really crappy songs in the top ten in 1960. Thanks, Dick. Great, a cartoon song was number one, and he's calling "Cathy's Clown" weird. American Bandstand was unique in its reliance upon lip synching. It must have been strange for the audience to be sitting there watching guys pretending to sing. But anyway, they showed a lot of close-ups of audience members. How much you wanna bet those girls they showed were all named Cathy? And, as a side note, Don, your hair oil was very glistening.
FAVORITE EVERLY BROTHERS SONG: BYE BYE LOVE
ROY ORBISON - ONLY THE LONELY
DISCLAIMER: Roy Orbison was the best singer of ALL TIME, so I'm not going to make fun of ANYTHING he did, performance-wise. Roy Orbison is a guy that you wish would live on forever, just so you could hear more. Alas, that is not to be. But at least we had him for awhile. P.S. I do kinda miss the sunglasses, though.
FAVORITE ROY ORBISON SONG: BLUE ANGEL
BILL HALEY & THE COMETS - ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK
Frankly, I'm sick to death of this song. But I felt I had to include it, if I was going to talk about rock & roll pioneers. "Happy Days" anyone? But let's give credit where it's due. This song was one of the first recognized rock & roll songs, so there you go. I do think it's weird that he had an accordion player in his band, though.
FAVORITE BILL HALEY SONG: Did he have more than one?
THE PLATTERS - ONLY YOU
Wow. These guys (and girl) were great. I had to look up who the lead singer was on this song. His name is Tony Williams. How smooth this group was. This song was released in 1955 (hey! 1955!) This harkens back to "American Graffiti" for me, but, aside from movie nostalgia, they just sounded so good!
FAVORITE PLATTERS SONG: TWILIGHT TIME