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Amazing Rock and Roll Facts

Key Artist: Early 1950sAlan's Rock & Roll FUN Trivia.  Trivia powered by ABE.

  • …that Joe Hill Louis (September 23, 1921 in Raines, TN – August 5, 1957 in Memphis, TN), born Lester Hill, was a singer, guitarist, harmonica player and one-man band. He is significant, along with fellow Memphis bluesman Doctor Ross, as one of only a small number of one-man blues bands to have recorded commercially in the 1950s, and as a session musician for Sun Records.

  • …that Jesse Lee "Arkie" Shibley (born Jesse Lee Shibley, September 21, 1914, Van Buren, AR - died September 1975, Van Buren, AR) was a country singer who recorded the original version of "Hot Rod Race" in 1950. The record was important because "it introduced automobile racing into popular music and underscored the car's relevance to American culture, particularly youth culture."

  • …that Billy Ward and His Dominoes were an R&B vocal group. One of the most successful R&B groups of the early 1950s, The Dominoes helped launch the singing careers of two notable members, Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson.

  • …that Jackie Brenston (August 15, 1930, Clarksdale, MS – December 15, 1979, Memphis, TN) was an R&B singer and saxophonist, who recorded, with Ike Turner's band, the first version of the proto-rock and roll song "Rocket 88".

  • …that Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), known as Howlin' Wolf, was an influential blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player. He was born in West Point, MI in an area now known as White Station. Burnett died at Hines VA Hospital in Hines, IL on January 10, 1976 and was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Hillside, IL in a plot in Section 18, on the east side of the road.

  • …that Johnnie Ray (January 10, 1927, Dallas, OR – February 24, 1990, Los Angeles, CA) was an singer, songwriter, and pianist. Extremely popular for most of the 1950s, Ray has been cited by critics as a major precursor of what would become rock and roll, for his jazz and blues-influenced music and his animated stage personality.

  • …that Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (December 11, 1926, Ariton, AL – July 25, 1984, Los Angeles, CA) was an rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. She was the first to record the hit song "Hound Dog" in 1952. The record was #1 on the Billboard R&B charts for seven weeks in 1953; the single sold almost two million copies. Its B-side was "They Call Me Big Mama." Three years later, Elvis Presley recorded his even more broadly successful rendition of "Hound Dog," based on a version performed by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys. Similarly, Thornton wrote and recorded "Ball 'n' Chain", which became a hit for her, yet Janis Joplin's later recording of it made a bigger impact in the late 1960s.

  • …that Auburn "Pat" Hare (December 20, 1930, Cherry Valley, AR - September 26, 1980, St. Paul, MN) was an electric Memphis blues guitarist and singer. His heavily distorted, power chord-driven electric guitar music in the early 1950s is considered an important precursor to heavy metal music. His guitar work with Little Junior's Blue Flames had a major influence on the rockabilly style, while his guitar playing on blues records by artists such as Muddy Waters was influential among 1960s British Invasion blues rock bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds.

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