First Rock n’ Roll Song

photo by birch from Memphis photostream
photo by birch from Memphis photostream

As part of their Behind the Beat series, KPLU’s All-Blues host John Kessler and production manager Nick Morrison produce radio features on the history of jazz and blues music. This week’s topic is about the record considered to be the first rock n’ roll song, “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats.

KPLU – Behind the Beat

Twenty-one-year-old Jackie Brenston was Ike Turner’s saxophonist when he stepped up to sing the vocals on “Rocket 88,” recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis in March, 1951. Guitarist Willie Kizart’s distorted amp gave the tune a distinctive fuzzy sound that set the tone for rock music to follow.

Sun Studio
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN, 38103
Phone: 800-441-6249


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