HOW DID ROCK & ROLL FIRST EMERGE IN THE UNITED STATES?
• Ray Charles’s “I Got a Woman” introduces the full-throated gospel voice to R&B. • Joe Turner’s “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” later covered by Wynonie Harris, is one of the first “shouting” songs. It would eventually be covered by Elvis Presley. • “Rocket ‘88” by Ike Turner brings two additional elements to the sound. It brings guitar distortion and the long-standing relationship between the rock & roller and his beloved automobile. • Little Richard belts out the first highly sexed, somewhat off-the-wall hits. His persona of the oddball, who wears lipstick, makeup, and strange clothing, will become a rock & roll prototype for later glam-rockers and others. • Chuck Berry is one of the first rock & roll singers/composers/ guitarists. For the first time, the guitar player is the front man, and his guitar playing, with leads and trademark “moves,” becomes essential to the persona. • Sam Phillips at Sun Records Studios first records R&B singers, and later brings in country and hillbilly music. H