Problems playing this file? In a western swing bandleader named Bill Haley recorded a version of " Rocket 88 " with his group, the Saddlemen. It is considered one of the earliest recognized rockabilly recordings. Haley and his bandmates crafted a rockabilly sound during this period as the Saddlemen. When first released in May , "Rock Around the Clock" made the charts for one week at number 23, and sold 75, copies.
Although Martin performed mostly country songs for the show, she also did songs by Rhythm and blues singers Ruth Brown and LaVern Baker , as well as a few Dinah Washington songs. Cash hoped to record gospel music, but Phillips immediately nixed that idea. Cash did not return until Phillips recorded Perkins's original song Movie Magg, which was released early March on Phillips's Flip label, which was all country.
This song and another Cash original, Cry! Sun released two more Perkins songs in October: Elvis was more like an Adonis. But as a rockabilly, Carl was the king of that. Both songs topped the Billboard charts. Sun and RCA weren't the only record companies releasing rockabilly music. Two young men from Texas made their record debuts in April They won all three times and guaranteed them a finalist position in the September supershow.
Capitol would release nine more records by Jackson, some with songs she had written herself, before the s were over. An online database lists musicians with names beginning with "A". There were also several female performers like Wanda Jackson who recorded rockabilly music long after the other ladies, Janis Martin, the female Elvis Jo Ann Campbell , and Alis Lesley , who also sang in the rockabilly style.
He continued to record rockabilly music well into with the release of "Alabama Shake". Cochran's brief career included only a few more hits, such as "Sitting in the Balcony" released in early , " C'mon Everybody " released in October , and " Somethin' Else " released in July Then in April , while touring with Gene Vincent in the UK, their taxi crashed into a concrete lamp post, killing Eddie at the young age of The grim coincidence in this all was that his posthumous UK number-one hit was called " Three Steps to Heaven ".
Rockabilly music enjoyed great popularity in the United States during and , but radio play declined after Factors contributing to this decline are usually cited as the death of Buddy Holly in an airplane crash along with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper , the induction of Elvis Presley into the army in , and a general change in American musical tastes. The style remained popular longer in England, where it attracted a fanatical following right up through the mids. Rockabilly music cultivated an attitude that assured its enduring appeal to teenagers.
This was a combination of rebellion, sexuality, and freedom—a sneering expression of disdain for the workaday world of parents and authority figures. It was a three chord change. Over the years it has picked up a little dignity. It was their way of calling us 'hillbillies'. The song had been written and performed much earlier, and refer to the birth of Johnny's son Rocky and Dorsey's son Billy, who were born around the same time in , and were firstborns for each of the brothers.
The song was part of their repertoire in when they were living in New York City and performing with Gene Vincent. It's easy to understand how the New York audience might have thought the Burnettes were singing "Rockabilly Boogie," but they never would, because the term hillbilly was derogatory and would never have been used by the artists themselves.
Rocky Burnette , who later would become a rockabilly artist himself, has stated on his website that the term rockabilly derives from that song. It's also interesting, that this song has been covered by hundreds of artists in the years since, and is always called "Rockabilly Boogie".
Slapback, slapback echo , flutter echo , tape delay echo , echo , and reverb are some of the terms used to describe one particular aspect of rockabilly recordings. It was a big, barn-like building with great echo. This same facility would also be used to record other rockabilly musicians such as Buddy Holly and The Rock and Roll Trio. The shape of the ceiling, corrugated tiles, and the setup of the studio were augmented by "slap-back" tape echo which involved feeding the original signal from one tape machine through a second machine.
The sound comes along and it's recorded on this head, and a split second later, it goes to the playback head. But you can take that and loop it to where it plays a split second after it was recorded and it flips right back into the record head. Or, you can have a separate machine and do that. A comparison of rockabilly versions of country songs shows that while form, lyrics, chord progressions and arrangements are simplified and with sparser instrumentation, a fuller sound was achieved by more percussive playing—i.
Tempos were increased, texts are altered with deletions, additions, more intense, flamboyant loose singing, along with variation in melody from verse to verse. Another group in the s that were followers of rockabilly were the Ton-Up boys, who rode British motorcycles and would later be known as rockers in the early s. The rockers had adopted the classic greaser look of T-shirts , jeans, and leather jackets to go with their heavily slicked pompadour haircuts.
The rockers loved s rock and roll artists such as Gene Vincent , and some British rockabilly fans formed bands and played their own version of the music. The most notable of these bands was The Beatles. As the band became more professional and began playing in Hamburg, they took on the "Beatle" name inspired by Buddy Holly 's Crickets  and they adopted the black leather look of Gene Vincent. Musically, they combined Holly's melodic songwriting sensibility with the rough rock and roll sound of Vincent and Carl Perkins.
When The Beatles became worldwide stars, they released versions of three different Carl Perkins songs, more than any other songwriter outside the band, except Larry Williams , who also added three songs to their discography. Long after the band broke up, the members continued to show their interest in rockabilly.
In , Lennon recorded an album called Rock 'n' Roll , featuring versions of rockabilly hits and a cover photo showing him in full Gene Vincent leather. Even heavy guitar heroes such as Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page were influenced by rockabilly musicians. However, Presley never took them up on that offer. The Elvis "comeback" and acts such as Sha Na Na , Creedence Clearwater Revival , John Roman Jackson, Don McLean , Linda Ronstadt and the Everly Brothers , the film American Graffiti and the television show Happy Days created curiosity about the real music of the s, particularly in England, where a rockabilly revival scene began to develop from the s in record collecting and clubs.
The group became a popular touring act in the UK and the US, leading to respectable album sales. Edmunds also nurtured and produced many younger artists who shared his love of rockabilly, most notably the Stray Cats. He recorded first with s guitar legend Link Wray and later with UK studio guitar veteran Chris Spedding and found borderline mainstream success. Lead singer Lux Interior 's energetic and unpredictable live shows attracted a fervent cult audience.
The Polecats played rockabilly with a punk sense of anarchy and helped revive the genre for a new generation in the early s.
Attracting little attention in New York, they flew to London in , where they had heard that there was an active rockabilly scene. Early shows were attended by the Rolling Stones and Dave Edmunds, who quickly ushered the boys into a recording studio. They returned to the USA, performing on the TV show Fridays with a message flashing across the screen that they had no record deal in the States.
However, personal conflicts led the band to break up at the height of their popularity. Brian Setzer went on to solo success working in both rockabilly and swing styles, while Rocker and Phantom continued to record in bands both together and singly. The group has reconvened several times to make new records or tours and continue to attract large audiences live, although record sales have never again approached their early '80s success.
Shakin' Stevens was the biggest selling singles artist of the s in the UK and number two across Europe, outstripping Michael Jackson , Prince , and Bruce Springsteen. Despite his popularity in Europe, he never became popular in the US. In , his greatest hits album topped the charts in England.
They achieved critical acclaim and a following in America but never managed a major hit. These bands, like the Blasters, were inspired by a full range of historic American styles: They held a strong appeal for listeners who were tired of the commercially oriented MTV-style synthpop and glam metal bands that dominated radio play during this time period, but none of these musicians became major stars.