So how and when did ‘rock’n’roll’ begin ? It’s an age-old question that cannot be definitively answered – but it’s such fun to give it a try. One version of the story – and it’s pretty compelling – is that it began 70 years ago, in the fall of 1951 – when it was given a name. Pioneering DJ Alan Freed was playing rhythm & blues records (or ‘race music’ as it was called then) on a Cleveland radio station when he got the idea to call this music by a phrase he’d heard in several naughty lyrics, referring to sex. ‘Rock and roll’ was thus ‘re-purposed’ to refer to a kind of music – mostly R&B, but soon enough, embracing a wider range of genres.
1951 was also the year several very exciting songs were released that have been called ‘the first rock’n’roll records’. I’ll play these and some other amazing songs – including the rarely-heard ‘Moondog Boogie’ that inspired Alan Freed’s nickname and show-theme.
There was one particular song released in 1951 that made history in unique ways. ‘It’s All in the Game’ – is the only hit ever co-composed by an American Vice-President; and that’s a story in itself. But Tommy Edwards’ 1951 recording of it was, again, just part of the story – he re-recorded it 7 years later and scored one of the year’s biggest hits with the new version. I’ll tell you all about this unusual song in our ‘Story Behind the Song‘ during the first hour’s feature: ‘This Week in Zoomer Music’. I’ll also have birthday salutes to Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Mathis, Sting and Randy Bachman. I hope you’ll tune in this Sunday (Sep.26) 2:00-4:30.