Did You Know? Amazing Rock 'N Roll Facts
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Amazing Rock and Roll Facts

Origins of the name Rock and RollAlan's Rock & Roll FUN Trivia.  Trivia powered by ABE.

  • … that the first coupling of the words “rock” and “roll” on record came in 1916, in a recording of a spiritual, "The Camp Meeting Jubilee," by an unnamed vocal “quartette” issued by Little Wonder Records?

  • … that in 1922, blues singer Trixie Smith recorded "My Man Rocks Me (with One Steady Roll)," first featuring the two words in a secular context?

  • … that twelve years later, The Boswell Sisters had a hit with "Rock and Roll" (1934)?

  • … that for many years and probably centuries previously, the term "rocking and rolling" had been used as a nautical term to denote the side-to-side and forward-and-backward motion of ships on the ocean?

  • … that the ocean meaning was used metaphorically in such records as Buddy Jones' "Rockin' Rollin' Mama" (1939) - "Waves on the ocean, waves in the sea/ But that gal of mine rolls just right for me/ Rockin' rollin' mama, I love the way you rock and roll"?

  • … that Rocking was a term also used by gospel singers in the American South to mean something akin to spiritual rapture?

  • … that a double, ironic, meaning came to popular awareness in 1947 in blues artist Roy Brown's song "Good Rocking Tonight" (also covered the next year by Wynonie Harris in an even wilder version), in which "rocking" was ostensibly about dancing but was in fact a thinly-veiled allusion to sex?

  • … that double-entendres were nothing new in blues music (which was mostly limited in exposure to jukeboxes and clubs) but were new to the radio airwaves?

  • … that after the success of "Good Rocking Tonight" many other R&B artists used similar titles through the late 1940s including a song called "Rock and Roll" recorded by Wild Bill Moore in 1949?

  • … that these songs were relegated to "race music" (the music industry code name for R&B) outlets and were barely known by mainstream white audiences?

  • … that in 1951, Cleveland, Ohio, disc jockey Alan Freed would begin playing this type of music for his white audience, and it is Freed who is credited with coining the phrase "rock and roll" to describe the rollicking R&B music that he brought to the airwaves?

  • … that the term, with its simultaneous allusions to dancing, sex, and the sound of the music itself, stuck even with those who didn't absorb all the meanings?

  • … that originally Freed used the name Moondog for himself and any concerts or promotions he put on; however, this arose from the fact he used a piece of music called "Moondog Symphony" by the street musician Moondog as his repeated opening music for his radio show?

  • … that Moondog sued Freed on grounds that he was stealing his name?

  • … that Freed was no longer allowed to use the term Moondog, he needed a new catch phrase and after a night of heavy drinking he and his friends came up with the name "The Rock and Roll Party" since he was already using the phrase "Rock and Roll Session" to describe the music he was playing on his radio show?

  • … that since Freed's show was extremely popular the term caught on and the subsequent public used it to describe a certain form of music?

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