Published on April 8th, 2015 | by Linda Thorn0
The Evolution of 50’s and 60’s Rockers
Rock and Roll is here to stay
Thank you Danny and the Juniors for your 1958 classic hit. We young rockers wore out white socks dancing to At the Hop in school gyms across North America in the 50’s and 60’s. Some of our songs became dance crazes with synchronized steps for both partners and the crowd such as The Stroll (1958) and The Wah Watusi. If you forgot the choreography, just Google it.In the 60’s, Go Go music allowed creative, individual dance steps. Remember the song, Land of 1,000 Dances? It actually lists 16 dances in the lyrics. It is of note that Chris Kenner wrote the song in 1962 but wanted a famous person affiliated. So the co-author is listed as Antoine (“Fats”) Domino who asked for half of all the royalties. When Cannibal and The Headhunters recorded that song in 1965, band member Frank Garcia forgot the lyrics so he added “nanananana etc. which was not in the original lyrics. By 1966, Wilson Pickett recorded that revised song with his rendition of that famous musical “hook” and the rest is Rock and Roll history. Many of our era songs have interesting stories. Gerry Goffin and Carole King wrote a song and let their babysitter record it. So Little Eva had a smash hit with The Loco-Motion. Wheel chair bound Doc Pomus co-wrote the 1960 song, Save the Last Dance for Me to his bride on his wedding day. Can you still do The Twist, The Hully Gull, The Mashed Potato and The Hand Jive? Maybe nowadays you can’t move to The Jerk but in retrospect some of you ladies may have moved in with a jerk somewhere on life’s highway. Life’s a journey and rockers are human too.
Thank goodness that the Rocker Evolution involves technology so that our treasured 45’s and LP’s are now transferred to ipods, CD’s and other technology that challenges me. Thank you Dick Clark, for having the foresight to record hundreds of young R&R singers and bands who performed on American Bandstand because we can still instantly access them on-line to relive those magic moments of our youth. As we Rockin’ oldies but goldies age, we now have some excellent bios and auto-bio books to enjoy and experience. Here are a few keepers. Keith Richards ought to be dead according to his lifestyle of a true R&R star. All is explained in a surprisingly articulate autobiography called Life (2008). A must read is a multiple award winning two-book biography of Elvis by Peter Guralnick (1994 and 2000) who has been hailed as the best biographer ever. John Lennon (2008) by Philip Norman (approved by Yoko), perhaps unfairly contradicts the insightful book called John by Cynthia Lennon (2005) which is approved by Julian Lennon. It is uncanny how much Julian resembles his father. Currently, I am reading Jerry Lee Lewis-his own story by Rick Bragg (2014). It is exceptional with its candid remarks, tragedies and clear reminisces by one of Rock and Roll’slast, original bad boys standing.
So as original Rockers, our Wild Thing and Light My Fire may have evolved into a mild thing in a rocker by the fire but we can still listen and tap our toes to that fabulous music and read these terrific books to reflect on and relate to suchunique stories behind the scenes of this influential music that will never die.