The History of the Term “Rock and Roll,” Part 2

Late to the party?  Start with Part 1.

“Rock and roll” was originally an Africa-American euphemism for sex.  With the rise of rhythm and blues and jazz in the early 20th century, the term inevitably made its way into music in the 20s, 30s and 40s.

The big breakthrough came when a New Orleans songwriter named Roy Brown wrote something he called “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” which he then gave to a blues singer named Wynonie Harris.

On December 28, 1947, he recorded the song.  By mid-1948, it was a major hit on jukeboxes and on radio stations that played this so-called “race music.”  It was so popular that it inspired a ton of new recordings, all using the words “rock” and “roll” in either the title or the lyrics.

That’s fine–but that still isn’t the end of the story.  

The History of the Term “Rock and Roll,” Part 3.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.