Jazz Bill wrote <<<< but then came Louis Jordan, he blew me away. This guy did everything , he sang, he danced and he played the sax. HE ROCKED, I thought I found some hidden treasure .Only later did I find out that he was put into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the 2nd Year of inductions. >>>>>
I hate having to pull the R card out but when it comes to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, it has to be done. Not only should Louis Jordan been on the very first induction, he should have been crowned the true and official
King of Rock n Roll, not the E man, not Billy Haley nor Chuck Berry or Little Richard. Louis played in several big bands of the Swing era of pre-WW2, he was a fine player. After WW2 the big band era came to an end due to increasing travel costs making it difficult for most big bands to continue although there were a few exceptions, Duke, Count, Woody Herman and a very few others managed to survive although their peak of popularity waned.
In Los Angeles' famed Central Avenue District there were many clubs like the Alabam, Jungle Room, Barrelhouse and others where Louis Jordan and other swing era-big band members led small groups they called combos that had the swing of the big bands in a small group, 5, 6 or 7 musicians, of which most inlcuding a guitarist, an electrified one at that. Most of the musicans in Los Angeles were from Texas or Oklahoma where the blues jumped and swung. Aaron "T-Bone" Walker was the most prominent of the guitarists, known for having a 25 foot extensions cord attached to his axe so he could walk outside of the club he played unto the street to attract customers inside. Other fine 'git-tar' players of the era were Pee Wee Crayton, Lowell Fulson, "Guitar" Lewis, Jimmy Nolen and others including a young precursor to Jimi Hendrix in the early 1950's Johnny "Guitar" Watson. The added a certain grit to the combos that the dancers loved. That's is where and how Rock n Roll truly began. In the early 1950's a few years after the L A scene was well established a similar process was happening in the Memphis area to a lesser extent where Ike Turner's combo made a fabulous record titled "Rocket 88" in 1951 with a fine guitar solo that in its final coda blew out the amp causing a odd sound that was left in the recording that helped make it a huge seller and for it to be cited as one of, if not the first Rock n Roll recording.
Listen to the music of Louis Jordan of post-WW2, you'll hear rapping n rhyming, great guitar solos, back beat shuffles-all the ingredients of rock n roll. Louis was the first video star as well as he was the most popular artist of soundies-the first videos for both Black and White audiences.
Meanwhile back on the rancho of LA's Central Avenue, artist like the brothers Liggins, Jimmy and Joe- Roy Brown, Big Joe Turner, Amos Milburn and many others polished their combos to shine bright with the yet unamed but clearly identified new dance sounds of jump blues and RnB alongside the burgeoning vocal harmony group scene a decade plus later to be mis-christened "doo-wop"
In 1954 in Cleveland, home of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame classical music disc jockey Alan Freed noticed that white teens were buying 45's of Black artists and learned they were listening to Black AM radio stations at the end of the dial late at night where this music was being played. Seeing an opportunity to make money $$, Alan petitined his radio station to allow him to begin playing these RnB artists and songs but Alan knew that RnB had negative connotations in both Black and White communities as Whites viewed it a "nigra music", "jungle sounds", a way to lower the White man to the Black man's level with all the lewd rhythms and double entendre of the music. Blacks frowned upon RnB and jump blues as the "devil's music" because it was not gospel and the lyrics were suggestive sexually and also sang about drinking and partying. Alan Fredd after hearing how often the words rock and roll were used individualy and collectively named the music he played Rock N Roll after a few months of calling it the Big Beat. By the way there are recordings dating back to the 1920's where rock n roll are used individually and or collectively, in Black street slang rock or roll meant a romp in the sack, yup you guessed it, sex! In 1925 there's a blues sang by a female titled, "My Man Rocks Me With One Steady Roll" and the list of lyrics goes on from there. Heck, even Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton, a New Orleans pioneer of jazz who proclaimed himself(erroneously) as THEE creator of jazz, gave himself that nickname because of his notorioty of being a pimp and supposedely a well endowed ladies man. I guess he loved rolling and rocking in the jellyroll of his ladies.
In 1959, the payola scandals broke out during the annual convention of Rock n Roll or Pop radio in Miami Beach, it ruined the career of Alna Freed who had taken his Moondog Show to NYC radio in 1956 after blowing up in Cleveland, he launched the carreer of many an artist through his radio shows, his movies and live stage shows. Meanwhile a squeaky clean young boyish looking man out of Philadelphia got away scott free although he was as guilty as Freed of taking money to play songs on the radio and accepting favors from record labels, this led the way for he to become the leading proponent, dee jay and TV host of Rock N Roll, Dick Clark.
When the Rock n Roll Museum opened in Clevland it should've had the true story of rock n roll with all the mothers and fathers, godfathers and godmothers prominently honored with their stories instead of succumbing to the big coporate sponsorship and the perpetuation of myths relagating the actual creators and pioneers to back of the bus, second degree citizenry status if remembered at all. That's why you wont see my face in the place.
I am part of a committee here in So Cal to correct the myths and establish a museum along the Central Avenue corridor that will give merit to the actual heroes in the actual place that made it all possible.