No expert in the history of music*, my knowledge of the subject extends about as far as the typical American Bandstand teenager. Basically, I know when a song "has a good beat and you can dance to it." In examining the history of 20th Century American music, I think one tends to compartmentalize musical genres by decade. Like all cultural movements in history, however, music is predicated (whether evolutionary or reactionary) on the styles of previous artists. Therefore, I thought I would share a brief history of pre-1950's "Rock 'n' Roll." Even though some of these songs have little if nothing to do with the contemporary understanding of Rock, it is the idea of equating music and dancing with, shall we say, more "romantic" activities and the very introduction of the vernacular that make these songs true Rock 'n' Roll classics.
My Daddy Rocks Me (with one steady roll) - Trixie Evans (1922)
Rock and Roll - The Boswell Sisters (1934)
Rock it for Me - Chick Webb w/ Ella Fitzgerald (1938)
Rockin' Rollin' Mama - Buddy Jones (1939)
Rock Daniel - Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1941)
Rock & Roll - Wild Bill Moore (1948)
All She Wants to do is Rock - Wynonie Harris (1948/49)
These songs are important not just for their musicianship and catchy rhythms, but because they introduced the idea of rockin' and rollin' to the consciousness of America and as we know, all mama's children wanna rock!
All Mama's Children - Carl Perkins (1956)
*All of you hardcore musicians, please don't reprimand for minor misinformation. As I said, I'm no expert!!