These days music fans don’t necessarily care about what genre the music they enjoy falls into, but this wasn’t always the case. There was a time where much of your identity was tied to the music you listened to. 
Case in point: the rock vs. disco debate that dominated the late 1970s. Today however, it's not a “live by the genre, die by the genre” situation there might have been in the past. Perhaps the last dyeing breath of the us versus them musical debate came in 1979 and was fired by a radio DJ by the name of Steve Dahl.


Artist: Steve Dahl 
Song Name: Do You Think I’m Disco 
Year: 1979 
Note: Humorist. Steve Dahl was a radio personality down in the United States and his, uh, parody or take on the division between genres of disco and rock and roll still. "Do You Think I’m Disco" is not available on any streaming service or for sale on any of the regular download sites. But if you were like me, you had the 45rpm single. Take a listen.


Genres are based on the principle of repetition. They codify, organize, classify, group, past repetitions, and they invite future repetitions. These are two very different functions, highlighting respectively the qualities of artworks and qualities of experience, and they have promoted two complementary approaches to the study of genre. Therefor a recognizable genre name is powerful shorthand. 
Music comes from everywhere, and so do the names we call it by. There's a longstanding cliche that only the music business needs genre names – everyone else either likes it or they don't. That is, of course, bunk, as anyone who's heard enough people trot out lines such as "I like all music except for rap and country" is aware. Not least because quite a lot of those genre names come from the artists themselves. Music genre classification is an ambiguous and subjective task at best, and at its worst divisive. 


Categorization using the concept of Genre is one of the most valuable tools we have for understanding and communicating with one another about music. The responsible use of music classification helps us understand creations in greater context, making it easier to identify patterns, recommend new artists to one another, and find creations that are the most satisfying to our individual tastes. 
This may seem surprising for some, as it's not unusual for music fans, artists, and even some journalists to claim that the use of genres is unnecessary, elitist, or in some cases, ignorant. These detractors also frequently claim that genre classifications place restrictions on artists” creativity and diminish personal enjoyment of the music. It’s true that when done improperly, applying labels to music has the potential to be some of these things, and instances of misuse are easy to find. It's also true that genre terms, like all aspects of language, do not convey the subtlety of the listening experience. 
However, none of these factors are reasonable arguments against the process of music classification, as the potential benefits far outweigh the troubles caused by their wrongful application. When used properly, music taxonomy or classification, substantially increases the clarity, recognition, and appreciation of artists’ creations. 

More often, a genre name will come from a musician's works. Free jazz comes from Ornette Coleman's 1960 album of the same name; 

Artist: Ornette Coleman 
Song Name: Free jazz 
Year: 1960 
Note: Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation is the sixth album by jazz saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman, released on Atlantic Records in 1961, his fourth for the label. Its title established the name of the then-nascent free jazz movement. The recording session took place on December 21, 1960, at A&R Studios in New York City.

Ditto for blue-eyed soul, which came from the Righteous Brothers' 1963 LP. Not to mention acid house, which originally from Phuture's 1987 single Acid Tracks, has come to mean anything with a yammering, squealing TB-303 on it. 

Artist: Phuture's 
Song Name: Acid Tracks 
Year: 1987 
Note: Roland, the manufacturer of the TB-303, have a great article Sound Behind the Song: “Acid Tracks” by Phuture
Sometimes record labels become genre names, as with"Industrial", named after Throbbing Gristle's imprint, established in 1976. Sometimes record labels just mandate new terms. "Outlaw Country", "no wave" and"Techno" all came into use via compilation albums. 
The 90s were rife with musician-coined genres. "Riot grrrl" was the name of a 1991 fanzine put together by four of that music's key players: Allison Wolfe and Molly Neuman of Bratmobile; Kathleen Hanna and Tobi Vail of Bikini Kill. 

Artist: Bratmobile 
Song Name: Bitch theme 
Year: 1991 
Note: Bratmobile was a three-piece feminist punk band that, alongside Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney, led the riot grrrl movement of the 1990s. Known for the brash lyricism of singer Allison Wolfe, the steady beats and sneer of drummer Molly Neuman and the ferocious yet catchy guitar riffs of Erin Smith, Bratmobile combined the power of rock music and the political-literary influence of zines to spread its message of female empowerment from 1991 to 2003.


Music is grouped into genres to describe the music’s form, style, and cultural influence. Crucially, genre names are, on their fundamental level, a reflexive means of description and recognition, not a rigid system of boundaries. 
Understanding the categorization of music depends as much upon the music itself as it does the language we use to describe it, the context in which we listen to it, and the social and economic factors affecting the psychology of its choice. Let’s attempt to put a stake in the ground regarding some terms. 


Genre has a slightly more taxonomical meaning, in that it usually relates to an attempt to group music into somewhat arbitrary structurally related genres and sub genres. The genre classification tends to be made on the basis of the audience it's aimed at and can be classified based on the music's instrumentation, its particular use, or ethnicity etc. - e.g. Pop, rock, punk rock; Latin-American music, samba, tango; jazz, trad jazz, bee-bop. The online culture of today is inherently global, so genres that were distinct and contained to geographical locations are now cross-pollinated throughout the world. 
If genre classification tends to be made on the basis of the audience it's aimed at let’s examine some of the first attempts made at applying genre to the music field. In doing so we need to take care of some housekeeping. 
During the history of modern American recorded music, record companies struggled with the question of how to keep music segregated. I choose the term “segregated"carefully because it reflects the America of the 1920’s through the 1950’s while a case can be made that it still exists to this day. The terms originally chosen by record companies for marketing purposes were at best euphemisms.

Euphemisms: where an unpleasant or offensive thing is described or referred to by a milder term. At there worst the terms were racist and driven by division. 
Reflecting the socio economic situation of a racially divided America from the 1920’s through the 1950’s, the promotional catchphrase “race music” was first applied by Ralph Peer a Missouri-born talent scout for Okeh Records. Race records were the first examples of popular music recorded by and marketed to black Americans. 
While not considered racist, the term “Hillbilly”, coined in 1925 by country pianist Al Hopkins, does reflect the American class system of the 1920’s from which it emerged. Hillbilly" is a term (often derogatory) for people of various ethnicities who dwell in rural, mountainous areas in the United States, primarily in southern Appalachia and the Ozarks. 

The music business needs to know what it's selling and who it's selling to.The goal of creating genres was originally tied directly to marketing; 
  • Keep races and their music segregated 
  • Help drive sales by ensuring the customer was certain of the product they were buying 
The Allen Brothers, a white duo from Chattanooga, sued Columbia Records for reputational damage and $250,000 after their 1927 sophomore release was categorized as a race record instead of hillbilly music. "It would have hurt us in getting dates if people who didn't know us thought we were black," one of the brothers later explained.


Musical Style refers to characteristic features of how music is played or expected to sound, i.e. its actual musical content - the set of expected musical patterns, mannerisms, expressive devices it conventionally makes use of. 

Jazz, while constituting a genre, also qualifies as a style (or group of more specific styles), since it makes use of particular performance idioms and techniques. 

Style are the detailed characteristics that are brought by the individuals creating the work. Therefor a dance song from the 1980s can be interpreted by applying a style to its playback, thus catapulting the same song in dozens of directions.

Illustrating this point is really easy by using a song such as "When Doves Cry" by the great Prince. Including the original, here are 5 versions of the same song interpreted 5 different ways by as many artists. The real take away here is that an artist is only limited by their imagination.

Artist: Rockabye Baby! 
Song Name: When Doves Cry 
Year: 2012 
Note: Lullaby Renditions of Prince. Listening to the lullaby version of "When Doves Cry" you would never, ever be able to discern the true meaning behind the writer's intent. Instead you enjoy the melody.

Artist: Pursuit of Happiness 
Song Name: When Doves Cry 
Year: October 2005 
Note: Canadian Power Pop band who imbued the Prince classic with a guitar based edge and catchy pop hooks. Although Prince is the song's writer and may never have envisioned a Power Pop version, he still wrote and structured as tune that could be interpreted in just about any style.

In 1988, they signed to Chrysalis Records. Their debut album, Love Junk, was produced by Todd Rundgren and released that year. "I'm an Adult Now" was re-recorded and re-released as a single, making it to the charts a second time. 

In January 1989 the song peaked at No. 6 on Billboard's alternative songs chart. It was followed by "She's So Young", which became their biggest hit single in Canada and also received radio play in the UK and became a minor hit there, and "Hard To Laugh". The album sold over 100,000 copies in Canada and was certified platinum.

The band's follow-up album with Rundgren, 1990's One Sided Story, featured the hit singles "New Language" and "Two Girls in One." Although the album did not sell as well as Love Junk it was still a significant hit for the band.

Artist: Shark Alley Hobos 
Song Name: When Doves Cry 
Note: Musicians who shared a love of the sea, sharks, pirates, from New Orleans, and proudly self proclaimed hobos. The "Sea Shanty" has gained a lot of traction lately with everyone jumping on the bandwagon it seems.

Artist: The DejaBlue Grass Band 
Song Name: When Doves Cry 
Note: They serve up a fresh version of a Prince classic by infusing selection of"Truegrass", piled high with pop and"Newgrass" sensibility, then lightly salted with some soul-shaking gospel. 

Artist: Prince 
Song Name: When Doves Cry 
Year: 1984 
Note:  Prince was asked by director Albert Magnoli to write a song for Purple Rain, to match the theme of a particular segment of the film that involved intermingled parental difficulties and a love affair. The next morning, Prince had composed two songs, one of which was "When Doves Cry". According to Prince's biographer Per Nilsen, the song was inspired by his relationship with Vanity 6 member Susan Moonsie.


In music, form refers to the structure of a musical composition or performance. In his book "Worlds of Music", Jeff Todd Titon suggests that a number of organizational elements may determine the formal structure of a piece of music. 
Most notable are the arrangement of musical units of rhythm, melody, and or/ harmony that show repetition or variation, and the arrangement of the instruments. 
Simply... Song Form arranges the structure of songs into an easy to understand framework. Song structure is important because it organizes how songs are written while aiding in how they are recognized and appreciated. Without a song having shape, songs are can become chaotic and unlistenable. 
Why is this important? Simply, song form, allows the story to be told so that people listening can better understand and enjoy the experience of the song.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel in order to be creative, however. That’s where song form comes into play. Think of the most common types of song structures as universally agreed upon roadmaps for songs. Song Form reveals to us where the song is going. 
Consider that song form helps song writers keep an overview of songs and how sections of music that make up the song will be organized. 
Imagine song form as a map made up of locations that we know of as verses, choruses and bridge. What are the parts we are generally concerned with then; 
  • Verses are similar but differ slightly from each other 
  • Chorus often differs from verse 
  • Bridges can be very different 
When discussing song forms, a system of letters are assigned to the different sections of a song. Repeated sections get assigned the same letter as was assigned on the first occurrence of that section. The letters then create a map of the overall song. 
The assignment of letters is not what you would think, however. We don’t use the first letters of “V” for Verse, “C" for Chorus or “B” for Bridge, but rather the first letters of the alphabet. 
For example ; 
  • A=Verse 
  • B=Chorus 
  • C=Bridge 

Strophic / AAA / One-Part Song Form Strophic... 

What was that? Strophic describes how each verse is sung to the same tune. Strophic Song Form is also called AAA Form or One-Part Song Form. AAA song form is one of the oldest sectional song forms. How far back does it go? Originally it was used in the adaption of poems, with composers setting the poems to music to perform them for the entertainment of the royal courts of Europe. The melody is repeated, in Strophic Song Form, and each time the melody repeats different words are sung to the melody. This makes it an ideal song form for story telling. 

The nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb" was first published by the Boston publishing firm Marsh, Capen & Lyon, as a poem by Sarah Josepha Hale on May 24, 1830, and was possibly inspired by an actual incident, however that can't be verified.

Artist: Stevie Ray Vaughn 
Song Name: Mary Had a Little Lamb 
Year: 1983 
Note: Traditional Arrangement. This clip is taken from an appearance in Toronto, Canada, Live at the legendary club the El Mocambo in 1991.

AAB Form - 12 Bar Blues 

The 12-bar form used in the AAB song form is strongly associated with the blues. Many Blues songs are in the AAB format. The fundamental structure of 12 Bar Blues is three four-bar lines or sub-sections. Often the first two and a half bars of each 4 bar section are vocal melody, while the last one and a half bars contains an instrumental melodic hook that gives a sense of completion for the line. 

Unlike AAA or AABA song forms, which describe the overall structure of the song, AAB describes the structure of an individual verse. AAB is always used as a compound form. The common variants for 12-Bar blues are 8-Bar form and 16-Bar form. 

Artist: Elmore James 
Song Name: Dust My Broom 
Year: 1959 
Note: Originally by Robert Johnston in 1936. James played a modified “Kay” hollow-body acoustic guitar, which sounded like an amped-up version of the more "modern" solid-body guitars of today.  Just raw....You can hear the guitar distort from being close to the speaker and mic in the room. One take, full of emotion. None of this Pro Tools shit.

AABA Song Form / American Popular Song Form 

This is one of the most commonly used forms in both jazz and early to mid-twentieth-century popular music. The AABA format was the song form of choice for Tin Pan Alley songwriters of American popular music, an East Coast USA songwriter scene based in New York City, in the first half of the 20th century. Tin Pan Alley songwriters included songwriting greats like Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn, Hoagy Carmichael, Dorothy Fields, Johnny Mercer, George and Ira Gershwin. 

The dominance of the AABA song form faded during the 1960s. The rise in popularity of rock 'n' roll and the rise of groups like The Beatles changed the popular music landscape. Before The Beatles broke off into other song writing formats, they heavily used AABA song form in many songs. It uses this song form in several music genres including pop, jazz and gospel. 

Artist: Beatles 
Song Name: Eight Days A Week 
Year: 1964 
Note: While not a huge Beatles fan for many reasons, "Eight Days A Week " is good, solid representation of the AABA song form.

Variation on the basic structure Verse-chorus form or ABA form may be combined with AABA form, in compound AABA forms. 
  • AAA format may be found in Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are a-Changin'", and songs like "The House of the Rising Sun" and Gordon Lightfoot's "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald". 
  • AABA may be found in Crystal Gayle's "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue", Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are", and The Beatles' "Yesterday". 
  • ABA format may be found in Pete Seeger's "Turn! Turn! Turn!" (chorus first) and The Rolling Stones's "Honky Tonk Woman" (verse first). 
  • ABAB may be found in AC/DC's "Back in Black", Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville", The Archies's "Sugar, Sugar", and The Eagles's "Hotel California". 
  • ABABCB format may be found in John Cougar Mellencamp's "Hurts So Good", Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do with It?", and ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man". 
  • Variations include The Pretenders' "Back on the Chain Gang" (ABABCAB), Poison's "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" (ABABCBAB), and Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" (ABABCABCAB


Perhaps, in the age of endless ways to express yourself, it’s also less necessary to define your identity in your teenage years by clinging to musical genres. And notions of credibility are still important, so memes about the relative merits of Kanye and Queen will still flood the social media. But these memes somehow seem to come from an older generation and it’s astonishing, how outdated such musical conservatism seems now.
So, if genre boundaries are evaporating, and presuming post-genre music doesn’t become a genre and cancel itself out, will anything replace them? What we’ve seen in the past 20 years is that consumption methods have broadened attitudes, music has changed to reflect that, and attitudes have then changed even further.



Although bubblegum has gained a certain cachet of cool in some circles over the past few decades (while remaining a pop pariah in other circles), during its original heyday it was viewed strictly as fodder for juvenile tastes, pure pabulum for pre-teen people. Furthermore, the music was blatantly commercial at a time when such materialistic goals were deemed unacceptable by an emerging counterculture.

Bubblegum music held no delusions of grandeur, nor any intent to expand your mind or alter your perceptions. Bubblegum producers only wanted you to fork over the dough and go home to play your new acquisition over and over to your heart's content (and, no doubt, to your older brother's consternation).
Writing in Mojo magazine, writer Dawn Eden put a finer point on her description of bubblegum music. "From the get-go, bubblegum was a purely commercial genre. Producers like Buddah Records' Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz had no higher aspiration than to make a quick buck and get out.

Eden went on to note, "Power pop aims for your heart and your feet. Bubblegum aims for any part of your body it can get, as long as you buy the damn record."

You could conceivably think of virtually every cute novelty hit, from pre-rock ditties like “How Much Is That Doggie In The Window” to transcendent rock-era staples like “Iko Iko,” as a legitimate precursor to bubblegum's avowedly ephemeral themes.

The Royal Guardsmen. They managed a #2 hit in 1966 with “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron,” a novelty tune based on the funny-looking dog with the big black nose in the Peanuts comic strip. The single combined a campy kid's appeal with a punky bridge nicked without apology from “Louie, Louie.” Although “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” and its lower-charting sequels were certainly precursors to the recognized bubblegum sound, Bill Pitzonka insists The Royal Guardsmen were not a bona fide bubblegum group.
Let's take a listen to some of the precursors to bubble gum music so you can get a feel for where bubble gum music came from and how it evolved. Let's take it off with Patty Page.
Artist: Patti Page
Song Name:  How Much Is That Doggie In The Window
Year:  1953
Note: written by Bob Merrill in 1952 and loosely based on the folk tune Carnival of Venice.  recorded by Patti Page on December 18, 1952, and released in January 1953 by Mercury Records
Artist: The Crystals
Song Name:  Iko, Iko
Note:  One could conceivably think of virtually every cute novelty hit from pre rock era like how much is that doggy in the window to the transcendent rock era staples like IKO IKO as a legitimate precursor to the bubble gums.
Artist:  The Royal Guardsmen
Song Name:Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron
Year: 1966
Note:  Novelty tune based on the funny looking dog Snoopy with the big black nose in the peanuts comic. The single combined can't be kids appeal with a punky bridge, Nick, without apology from Louis Lilly. Although Snoopy versus the red Baron and its lower charting SQLs were certainly precursors to the recognized bubblegum sound. Bill zonca insist the Royal garden. We're not a bonafide bubblegum group at any time.
Song Name:  Sugar Shack
Year:  1963
Note:  Gilmer and The Fireballs were the last American band to chart before Beatlemania hit.
We heard the Dixie Cups with their version of Iko, Iko from 1965 and then the Royal Guards with Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron from 1966. We ended off this first block of tunes with Jimmy Glimmer and the Fireballs with Sugar Shack from 1963. All the music we've heard sets the stage for music to come, but it really isn't considered to be pure bubblegum.
And, of course, there was no shortage of acts in the mid-'60s actively cultivating some aspect of the adolescent market. Herman's Hermits had a string of cuddly hits, with “I'm Henry VIII, I Am” veering the closest to bubblegum, but they were never quite a bubblegum group. The Lovin' Spoonful had a goofy, good time vibe all about them, but they were far too... well, authentic-sounding to be called bubblegum.
Song Name: I'm Henry VIII, I Am 
Year: 1965
Note: In 1965, it became the fastest-selling song in history to that point. Originall written in 1910 as a British music hall song by Fred Murray and R. P. Weston it was revived by Herman's Hermits,[1] becoming the group's second number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, dethroning "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction". Despite that success, the single was not released in the UK. 
Song Name:Do you believe in magic
Note:  The single peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. And later it came back into the top 40 by teen star Shaun Cassidy in 1978 with his cover version of the song.
Bubblegum pop (also known as bubblegum music or simply bubblegum) is a genre of music with an upbeat sound contrived and marketed to appeal to pre-teens and teenagers, which usually is produced in an assembly-line process, driven by producers and often using unknown singers. Bubblegum's classic period ran from 1967 to 1972. A second wave of bubblegum began two years later and ran until 1977 when disco took over.
The genre was predominantly a singles phenomenon rather than an album-oriented one. Acts were typically manufactured in the studio using session musicians, and most bubblegum pop groups were one-hit wonders according to writer Bill Pitzonka, a bubblegum historian and author of the liner notes for Varèse Vintage's brilliant Bubblegum Classics series, "The whole thing that really makes a record bubblegum is just an inherently contrived innocence that somehow transcends that. It transcends the contrivance. Because there were a lot of records that were really contrived and sound it. And those to me are not true bubblegum. It has to sound like they mean it."
Popular music really became more than just a contrivance. It was really the musical roots for a lot of groups that would come in the late 1970 and 80s and further affect music into the 2000s.  
We're gonna take a listen to what really are the original bubble gum hits and then play an alternative cover version by a group or artist so you can kind of get an idea of where things went who did what and why they did it. Keep in mind that it was still thing for a popular song to be covered by another recording artist even while the original song was still on the charts.
So let's take a listen Ohio Express' Yummy Yummy Yummy and follow that up with L7’s version from 2016.
Artist: Ohio Express
Song Name: “Yummy Yummy Yummy,"
Year: 1968
Note: It may be the definitive bubblegum hit, but it was merely a demo that somehow made it on to a 45 before singer Joey Levine knew what was happening; he later had a successful career writing commercial jingles.It reached No. 4 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart. L7 recorded a cover for their album Fast & Frightening in 2016.
Artist: L7
Song Name: “Yummy Yummy Yummy,"
Year: 2016
Note: L7 is an American rock band founded in Los Angeles, California, first active from 1985. Recognized for being simultaneously subversive and infused with humor. Due to their sound and image, L7 is often associated with the grunge movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The album “Smell the Magic”, was released in 1990 on Sub Pop and earned a four star review by Rolling Stone who stated it was one of Sub Pop's finest hours.
Artist: The Archies
Song Name: “Sugar Sugar,"
Year: 1969
Note: The Archies' "Sugar Sugar," masterminded by Don Kirshner (after the Monkees' Mike Nesmith supposedly rejected the song by threatening to punch the producer in the face). It was history's first tween pop: catchy, easy to sing, loaded down with references children would love, and presented with an innocence the rest of rock had long rejected.
Written by Jeff Barry and Canadian Andy Kim.
A huge hit by a band that didn't exist, this #1 hit at bubblegum's peak, possibly because singer Ron Dante was already in the Top 10 as the lead vocalist of "Tracy" by the Cuff Links.
reached No. 1 in the US on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in1969 and remained there for four weeks
Artist: Wilson Picket
Song Name: Sugar Sugar
Note: Pickett's cover of "Sugar, Sugar" peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
1969 also saw the emergence of the 1910 fruit gum company with their song Indian giver. Ironically the pace of Indian giver by the Ramones is incredibly slow compared to their usual frenetic pace and is really actually quite close to the original by the 1910 fruit gum company 
Artist: The 1910 Fruitgum Company
Song Name: “Indian Giver,"
Note: The Company were a "real" band, despite this hit being written by Shondells hit maker Ritchie Cordell and "Montego Bay" singer Bobby Bloom. This may be why both Joan Jett and the Ramones saw fit to cover it.
Artist: Ramones
Song Name: “Indian Giver,"
Year: 1987
Note: Ramones Mania album.
Artist: Tommy James and the Shondells
Song Name: “I Think We're Alone Now,"
Year: 1967
Note: The Shondells were the godfathers of bubblegum, "Hanky Panky" notwithstanding, and their string of late-'60s hits began in earnest with this ode to "playing doctor."
Covered by Tiffany in late 1987
Artist: Tiffany
Song Name: “I Think We're Alone Now,"
Year: 1987
Note: The Tiffany recording reached number 1 on the charts of various countries including the US, UK, Canada, and New Zealand. it really proves. That bubble gum is a timeless. 
Bubble gum music wasn’t limited to just Canada and the USA. In the UK, they developed their own take on the phenomena.
Artist: Daniel Boone
Song Name: “Beautiful Sunday,"
Year: 1972
Note: Boone was a prominent songwriter on what passed for the British bubblegum scene, but this solo song was the only one to hit big in America—and set records in Japan that have yet to be broken.
The only  known perfromance video of Daniel Boone is this god awful version from British TV in 1972.
Artist: Seiji Tanaka
Song Name: “Beautiful Sunday,"
Year: 1976
Note: The song went to #4 on the Japan single chart and sold 5 million copies. This song was so popular that it's been pre recorded in Japan by more than 25 different artists since 1972.
Gimme Gimme good Lovin done in 1969 by Crazy Elephant was not the first recording of this bubble gum classic as Spencer Davis group recorded it in 1966 and released it in 1967, thus leading many people to believe this is actually a British bubblegum hit. Actually Crazy Elephant just made the song hugely popular by being in the right place at the right time.
Artist:  Crazy Elephant
Song Name: Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' 
Year:  January 1969
Note:  The single ranked #89 on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1969.
Crazy Elephant was a studio concoction, the Marzano-Calvert Studio Band, created by Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz of Super K Productions, and for some odd reason was promoted in Cash Box magazine as allegedly being a group of Welsh coal miners
Artist:  Helix
Song Name:  Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' 
Year:  1984
Note:A music video was made for the Crazy Elephant cover "Gimme Gimme Good Lovin'". Two versions of this video were filmed: One for music video channels like MTV, and the other being an "adult" version featuring topless models including a then 16-year-old porn star Traci Lords. This version was aired on the Playboy Channel in the United States.
**The uncensored Version
And last but not least press my favourite bubble gum song of all time is Edison lighthouse’s 1970 love grows where my Rosemary goes.
Artist: Edison Lighthouse 
Song Name: Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) 
Note:Essentially, they were a studio group with prolific session singer Tony Burrows providing the vocals.
At the time it was the fastest climbing number 1 hit record in history. 
Artist:  Wayne Newton 
Song Name:  Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)
Note:  Wayne Newton with his version of love grows where my rosary goes was a blatant attempt to hippen up the image of the Vegas perennial performers Wayne Newton. He jumped on the bubblegum bandwagon and did a series of albums which were strictly covers versions of current pop hits
A young Wayne Newton


First, Rock & Roll was neither “new,” nor indeed even a single musical style; 

Second, the Rock & Roll era does not mark the first time that music was written specifically to appeal to young people; 

Third, Rock & Roll was certainly not the first American music to fuse black and white popular styles.

The identity of the first rock and roll record is one of the most enduring subjects of debate among rock historians.
As seen so far various recordings dating back to the 1940s have been cited as the first rock and roll record. A number of sources have considered the first to be "Rocket 88", which was recorded in 1951 by Ike Turner and his band, but credited to his saxophonist and the song's vocalist Jackie Brenston.
Jackie Breston
Jackie Breston

While The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll and the website of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said that it is "frequently cited" and "widely considered the first". By contrast, writer and musician Michael Campbell wrote that, "from our perspective," it was not the first rock and roll record because it had a shuffle beat rather than the rock rhythm originally characteristic in Chuck Berry's and Little Richard's songs.
"Rocket 88" had the basic characteristics of Rock & Roll music such as the emphasis on guitar and distortion.  Its characterization as a rock and roll or rhythm and blues song continues to be debated. Nigel Williamson questions whether it was really an R&B song "with an unusually fast, bottom-heavy eight-to-the bar boogie rhythm and a great lyric about cars, booze and women".


Rock & Roll Stylistic Finger Prints:

  • Instrumentation includes – male vocals, backing vocals, electric guitars, double bass, drums, piano, harmonica, saxophone and other brass 
  • Fast Tempo – 140bpm or faster Energetic delivery of vocals (screaming and shouting) 
  • Often based on 12-bar chord structure
  • Predominantly uses major keys but with blues scale for vocals, lead parts and solos 
  • Strong back beat on beats 2 and 4 
  • Often uses a shuffle rhythm – slightly swung quavers 
  • Walking bass line, four to a bar, often based on ascending and descending patterns of root-3rd-5th-6th-flat 7th-6th-5th-3rd
  • Quite often this line is doubled by electric guitar Second guitar plays rhythmic patterns of chords – use of 6th and 7th extensions of chords 
  • Use of “stop time” where instruments play only on beat 1 then leave space for vocals or instruments 
  • Use of flamboyant guitar solos
  • Call and response – often between vocal and guitar


  • "Boogie in the Park" by Joe Hill Louis, recorded in July 1950 and released in August 1950, 
    • featured Louis as a one-man band performing "one of the loudest, most overdriven, and distorted guitar stomps ever recorded" while playing on a rudimentary drum kit at the same time. It was the only record released on Sam Phillips' early Phillips label before founding Sun Records.[82] Louis' electric guitar work is also considered a distant ancestor of heavy metal music.[83]
  • "Hot Rod Race" recorded by Arkie Shibley and His Mountain Dew Boys in late 1950, 
    • another early example of "rockabilly", highlighted the role of fast cars in teen culture.[51]
  • "Sixty Minute Man" by the Dominoes, recorded on December 30, 1950, 
    • was the first (and most sexually explicit) big R&B hit to cross over to the pop charts. The group featured the gospel-style lead vocals of Clyde McPhatter (though not on this song), and appeared at many of Alan Freed's early shows. McPhatter later became lead singer of the Drifters, and then a solo star.
  • "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats 
    • (actually Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm) (1951), and 
    • Bill Haley and the Saddlemen (1951) 
    • Played with too much restraint compared to Breston and Ike
  • "How Many More Years" recorded by Howlin' Wolf in May 1951. 
    • Robert Palmer has cited it as the first record to feature a distorted power chord, played by Willie Johnson on the electric guitar
  • "Rock and Roll Blues" by Anita O'Day recorded on January 22, 1952. 
    • One of Anita O'Day's few compositions, she was one of the best jazz singers ever, and recorded this blues single on Mercury Records with her own orchestra.
  • "Hound Dog" by Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton was recorded on August 13, 1952. 
    • A raucous R&B song recorded with Johnny Otis' band (uncredited for contractual reasons), it was written by white teenagers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, covered three years later by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys (Teen Records 101), and then more famously by Elvis Presley.
  • "Crazy Man, Crazy", (1953) Bill Haley and his Comets, 
    • first rock and roll record on Billboard magazine chart. 
    • Not a cover, but an original. 
    • Haley said he heard the phrase at high-school dances his band was playing.
  • "Love My Baby" and "Mystery Train" were recorded by Junior Parker with his electric blues band, the Blue Flames in 1953, 
    • "contributing a pair of future rockabilly standards" that later would be covered by Hayden Thompson and Elvis Presley, respectively
    • For Presley's version of "Mystery Train", Scotty Moore also borrowed the guitar riff from Parker's "Love My Baby",[87] played by Pat Hare

  • "Gee" by the Crows was recorded on February 10, 1953. 

    • This was a big hit in 1954, and is credited by rock n' roll authority, Jay Warner, as being "the first rock n' roll hit by a rock and roll group"
    • "Mess Around" by Ray Charles was recorded in May 1953,
      • one of his earliest hits. 
      • some lyrics riffing off of the 1929 classic "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie".
  • "Rock Around the Clock", (1954) by Bill Haley and his Comets, 
    • first number 1 rock and roll record It stayed in the Top 100 for a then-record 38 weeks.
    • The song itself had first been recorded in late 1953 by Sonny Dae & His Knights, a novelty group whose recording had become a modest local hit at the time Haley recorded his version.

  • "Shake, Rattle and Roll", (1954) by Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley and his Comets, and Elvis Presley.
    •  Haley's version was the first international hit rock and roll record, actually predating the success of "Rock Around the Clock" by several months, though it was recorded sung by Big Joe Turner is ranked number 127 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • James Cotton's "Cotton Crop Blues" and Pat Hare's "I'm Gonna Murder My Baby" (both recorded in May 1954), 
    • were electric blues records which feature heavily distorted, power chord-driven electric guitar solos by Pat Hare 
    • Anticipate elements of heavy metal music.
    • heavily distorted guitar sound by Hare that resembles the "distorted tones favoured by modern rock players.
  • "That's All Right (Mama)", (1954) by Elvis Presley; 
    • this cover of Arthur Crudup's tune was Elvis' first single, 
    • is possibly the song most often cited (albeit inaccurately) as the first rock and roll record.
  • "Sh-boom" (1954) by the Chords and the Crewcuts, in this case, the latter was a pale imitation.
    • On most informed lists of rock & roll villains, the Crew Cuts would have to rank near the top. They weren't rock & rollers in the first place: their clean-cut white harmony glee club approach was really in the style of early and mid-'50s groups such as the Four Aces, the Four Lads, and the Four Freshmen. 
    • The Canadian quartet differed from those acts, however, in their concentration upon covers of songs originally recorded by R&B/doo wop vocal groups. 
    • considered a pioneer of the doo-wop variant.
  • "Maybellene", (1955) by Chuck Berry
    • adapted in part from the Western swing fiddle tune "Ida Red".
    • recorded by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys in 1938

  • The record was an early instance of the complete rock and roll package: 

    • youthful subject matter; 
    • a small, guitar-driven combo; 
    • clear diction; and 
    • an atmosphere of unrelenting excitement.

"Rocket 88" is cited for its forceful backbeat and unrefined, distorted electric guitar. By contrast, writer and musician Michael Campbell wrote that, "from our perspective," it was not the first rock and roll record because it had a shuffle beat rather than the rock rhythm originally characteristic in Chuck Berry's and Little Richard's songs, although he added that "Rocket 88" had basic characteristics of rock music such as the emphasis on guitar and distortion.

"Rock Awhile" to be a more appropriate candidate for the "first rock and roll record" title, because it was recorded two years earlier, and because of Carter's guitar work bearing a striking resemblance to Chuck Berry's later guitar work, while making use of an over-driven amplifier, along with the backing of boogie-based rhythms, and the appropriate title and lyrical subject matter
Let”s get this out of the way at the top: seeking to identify “the very first rock and roll record” is a fool”s errand!

The First Rock & Roll Song

In his 1995 book Rock and Roll: An Unruly History, Palmer made the case for another candidate for this pop-culture holy grail: “Rock Awhile,” a 1949 song recorded by an all-but-forgotten teenager from Houston named Goree Carter. Citing its unmistakable resemblance to Chuck Berry”s later work, its lyrical instruction to “rock awhile,” and the way the guitar crackled through an overdriven amp, Palmer argued that Carter”s song was a strong contender for the oldest known specimen of the music that soon after took over the world.
 Goree Carter
And yet even in Houston, few people remember Carter. There is no historical marker memorializing the house where he lived almost his entire life or the Montrose studio where the song was cut. There is no Goree Carter Day, nor any Goree Carter Avenue. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has not seen fit to honor the man. His name is absent from virtually all standard histories of modern popular music. It”s as if he never lived, never thrilled audiences with his behind-the-back guitar playing, never invented rock and roll.

The word “GENRE” is often used to describe particular “musics”. Although we throw the terms like blues, jazz, classical around freely, what do they actually mean?

      • Are they always accurate terms?
      • What about the form or style of a song?
      • Can they be defined purely within a musical context?
Goree Carter
Goree Carter

In S1E2 we looked at song form and its effects on modernization of popular music. More importantly, what we discovered is How does song form relate to the story of Rock & Roll?

Rock & Roll is, as we are finding, is a blend of North American musics which were already present within the structure of society, the economy and history of the people. When Jazz, Blues, and Hillbilly music collide with popular mainstream musics of Tin Pan Alley, we get Rock & Roll. But is Rock & Roll a genre all by itself?

Let’s take a look at "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" which today is now seen as epitomizing the style known as jump blues. Ironically, it was written by white songwriters whose background was steeped in country and western music. So was this a limitation to its ability to transcend musical genres or was it just not that “great” a piece of music?

“House of Blue lights" - Merril Moore
“House of Blue lights" - Ella Mae Morse
“House of Blue lights” - Chuck Berry
“House of Blue lights” - Crowbar
“House of Blue lights” - Asleep at the wheel

“House of Blue lights" The song recorded as a Big Band Swing number originally, yet it was later recorded by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Canned Heat, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, The Flamin' Groovies, Meat Puppets(on a hard to locate compilation (“Fast Track to Nowhere: Songs from Rebel Highway”), George Thorogood.

This begs the question just what use is “Genre” as a classification if one song can successfully be recorded by such a wide range of musicians or written by songwriters who are unskilled in another type of music.

Classification of music is just as important as it is unimportant in the general scheme of consumption.

Classification of music by “genre” is a business invention, purely marketing, a sales pitch used to make the consumer feel comfortable making a purchase.

There in lies the problem with trying to pin a date, place and time to the creation of Rock & Roll, and more specifically, the first song.

Business soils the whole process by creating artificial categories and genres of music what might otherwise be similar if not identical. For example, some “Race Records” are indistinguishable from ”Hillbilly" music because they share much of the same history, social and cultural backgrounds in certain parts of North America.

The music industry took to the task of making music “genres” divisive believing it would help segment the market into chucks if you will, that could be marketed using minimal resources where they saw fit.

Unwittingly the music business were enforcing a top down approach to a bottom up problem. What does this mean exactly? Consider the following, how do you empower a sense of control of the product you are selling? Setting up artificial boundaries are equatable to genres and their affect on music distribution.

If you can create a set of artificial constraints around a particular product you can manipulate its consumption. Without knowing it, record companies stumbled upon a 3 part system ideally suited for the task.

Cultures, traditions, history, economics and musics begin to criss cross each other, hence three essential components wind up playing a role in music consumption:

      • An individual component: a belief
      • A social component: the belief is shared by other members of a social unit
      • A deontic: a conduct is obliged

Their job or result is an artificial society

In later episodes we’ll inspect “Genre” as a whole and the damage classification caused society.

Jump blues is a loud, rowdy simplified blues influenced form of jazz that became popular in the 40s after the hard times of the 30s drove many big bands out of business.

Patrons of noisy dance halls and clubs needed small groups that could match the volume of the departed big dance bands to fuel their entertainment. To keep the attention of their patrons in the crowded rooms, the singers would shout and the saxophonists would honk and growl giving the performers' names like 'shouters and honkers'. Jump Blues' hard rhythmic drive and snare beat emphasis on the 2 and 4 has given the genre credit for being the forebear of rock-n-roll and R&B.

The style of hard R&B that came to be known as "jump blues" had its origin in the economic belt-tightening that came during World War II. Swing bands, forced to downsize to a rhythm section and one or two soloists, began to compensate for their smaller scale by playing harder, faster, wilder versions of the swing jazz they'd become known for, and also incorporating the blues that was just starting to make inroads into urban areas (thanks to the migration of rural blacks from the South up into big cities like Chicago and Memphis). The result was the first example of "rhythm and blues," and also one of the main stylistic influences on what would later become known as "rock and roll."

The typical jump blues song had a simpler beat than most swing jazz, usually with guitar relegated to rhythm and solos provided by a saxophone.

In deference to the wilder music, "jump blues" lyrics were often more salacious than their other "R&B" counterparts, often featuring outrageous and even campy vocals to match. Although it originally began as an offshoot of the "boogie-woogie" craze, jump blues was less concerned with swinging the beat than hitting it hard. As a result, country and "country boogie" musicians latched onto the style, eventually creating rockabilly, while black artists cleaned the words up somewhat and brought an even harder version into rock: both Chuck Berry's "Maybelline" and Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" are excellent examples of jump.

Several jump blues hits became Rock & Roll standards as well, including "The Train Kept A-Rollin'," "Shake, Rattle, And Roll," and "Good Rockin' Tonight." As R&B slowed down and got funkier in the early Sixties, jump blues faded from existence; however, many blues bands, especially those with horn sections, continue to record in the style.

Music 1940 -1950

·      Rock, Daniel – Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra with Rosetta Tharpe (June 1941)

·      Daniel Rock was an English Roman Catholic priest

·      Be-Babba Leba – Helen Humes (August 1945)

·      Basically the Bill Doggett Octet is her backing band

·      My Gals A Jockey – Big Joe Turner (January 1946)

·      Bill Moore's Lucky Seven Band*

·      Choo Choo Ch”Boogie – Louis Jordan (July 1946)

o   Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" is a popular song written by Vaughn Horton, Denver Darling, and Milt Gabler. The song was recorded in January 1946 and released by Decca Records.

o   It topped the R&B charts for 18 weeks from August 1946, a record only equalled by one other hit, "The Honeydripper."

o   The record was one of Jordan's biggest ever hits with both black and white audiences, peaking at number seven on the national chart and provided an important link between blues and country music, foreshadowing the development of "rock and roll" a few years later.

o   Alternating up and down strokes of the F and F6 chords on the guitar creates a relaxed shuffle beat feel. The song is essentially a three-chord, twelve bar blues.

o   Although "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" is now seen as epitomizing the style known as jump blues, it was written by white songwriters whose background was in country and western music.

·      The House of Blue lights – Ella Me Morse with Freddie Slack and his Orchestra (February 1946) 

o   popular song published in 1946, written by Don Raye and Freddie Slack. It was first recorded by Ella Mae Morse, and was covered the same year by The Andrews Sisters.

o   reached # 8 on the Billboard pop chart, and the version by The Andrews Sisters reached # 15

o   Little Richard made reference to the "house of blue lights" in his 1958 hit "Good Golly, Miss Molly". 

o   The song itself was later recorded by Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Canned Heat, Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, The Flamin' Groovies, Meat Puppets, George Thorogood and others

·      Gotta Gimme Whatcha Got – Julia Lee and her Boyfriends (September 1946) 

o   dirty blues musician 

o   she became best known for her trademark double entendre songs,

·      "Freight Train Boogie" by the Delmore Brothers, 

o   very light on the rocking, 

o   but a popular hit with lyrics from African American folk tale, 

o   like Bo Diddley, but without the beat 

o   featuring harmonica player Wayne Raney, 

o   heavily influenced by the blues, 

o   first recorded in 1931.

·      "Straighten Up and Fly Right" by Nat King Cole (1946), 

·      "Let the Good Times Roll" by Louis Jordan (1946) 

o   twelve-bar blues, the song became a blues standard\

o   Done by Ray Charles

o   Jordan and the Tympany Five performed the song in the 1947 film Reet, Petite, and Gone, although the studio recording rather than a live performance is used in the soundtrack.

·      "Oakie Boogie"; by Jack Guthrie (1947) 

o   Woody’s cousin

o   Studio musicians

·      "Move It on Over" by Hank Williams was recorded on April 21, 1947. 

o   It was Williams' first hit on the country music charts, reaching no. 4. 

o   It used a similar melody to Jim Jackson's 1927 "Kansas City Blues" 

o   was adapted several years later for "Rock Around the Clock".

·      He”s A Real Gone guy – Nellie Lutcher (July 1947)

o   Sides A&B recorded in Los Angeles, CA April 30, 1947

o   Recorded in 1998 by Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993.

·      "Good Rocking Tonight", in separate versions by Roy Brown (1947) and Wynonie Harris (1948),

o   Led to a craze for blues with "rocking" in the title.

o   Brown's original version is jump blues while Harris's version is definitely more modern rock and roll. 

o   Later heartily covered by Elvis Presley and less heartily by Pat Boone. 

·      "Rock and Roll" by Wild Bill Moore was recorded in 1948 and released in 1949.

o   This was a rocking boogie where Moore repeats throughout the song "We're going to rock and roll, we're going to roll and rock" and ends the song with the line "Look out mamma, going to do the rock and roll."

o   Related were "Rock and Roll Blues" by Erline 'Rock and Roll' Harris, a female singer, with the lyrics "I'll turn out the lights, we'll rock and roll all night" and "Hole in the Wall" by Albennie Jones, co-written and produced by Milt Gabler, with the lyrics "We're gonna rock and roll at the hole in the wall tonight". 

·      "It's Too Soon to Know", written by Deborah Chessler and performed by The Orioles, November 1948

o   is considered by some to be the first "rock and roll" song.

o   Pat Boone performed the same song for white audiences.

·      "Boogie Chillen'" (or "Boogie Chillun") is a blues song written by John Lee Hooker and recorded in 1948. 

o   It was Hooker's debut record release and became a No. 1 Billboard R&B chart hit in 1949.

o   The guitar figure from "Boogie Chillen'" has been called "the riff that launched a million songs"

o   It is considered one of the blues recordings most influential on the forthcoming rock 'n' roll. 

·      "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee"; by Stick McGhee and his Buddies (1949)

o   jump blues guitarist

o   cover by Wynonie Harris, followed by a hillbilly-bop version by Loy Gordon & His Pleasant Valley Boys. 

o   cover versions by various artists, Johnny Burnette in 1957, and Jerry Lee Lewis in 1959

·      "Ragg Mopp" by Johnny Lee Wills and Deacon Anderson (1949),

o   strange little novelty tune,

o   the lyrics are simply the title spelled out or yelled out, re-released in 1954 by the Ames Brothers.

o   The song, a 12-bar blues, was written by Tulsa Western Swing bandleader Johnnie Lee Wills 

·      "The Fat Man" by Fats Domino (recorded on December 10, 1949), 

o   featuring Fats on wah-wah mouth trumpet, 

o   the first of his 35 Top 40 hits. 

o   Sadly, the aluminum (or lacquer) master disc recording has been missing for over 50 years. 

o   The tune is a variation on the traditional New Orleans tune "Junker Blues", 

o   which also provided the melody for Lloyd Price's "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," and Professor Longhair's "Tipitina".

·      Rock the Joint –Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians (May 1949)

o   cited as a contender for being "the first rock and roll record"

o   During the rise of Pshycobilly star the rev Horton Heat, it formed the centrepiece of “Its Martini Time”

·      "Rock Awhile" by Goree Carter was recorded in April 1949.

o   It has been cited as a contender for the "first rock and roll record" title and a "much more appropriate candidate" than the more frequently cited "Rocket 88" (1951).

o   Carter's over-driven electric guitar style was similar to that of Chuck Berry from 1955 onward.

Within the 1940s, the appearance of musical styles resembling Rock & Roll are becoming apparent. The bands are getting smaller as the big band era falls into decline sharply during the WWII era due economic constraints of touring with large bands, while the response came in the form of louder more ruckus entertainment powered by microphones and amplifiers.

Amplification brought with it the ability to replace large orchestras and bands with fewer instruments, which could fulfil the purpose of filling a space with sound.

The guitar in particular, turned out to be an earlier turning point in defining this new rocking music, as it could be as loud as a piano, and infinity more portable. The sheer fact that you were no longer at the mercy of an instrument provided to you helped make consistency a perfect factor for dissemination the new music.

In attempts to adopt the technology which made the guitar appealing, its volume capability, its technological limits were being discover, and subsequently became identifiable aspects of Rock & Roll.


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