Monthly Archives: August 2010

Rock’s Influence – The 1940s

Gary: “My appreciation for music came later in life but my interest started when I was very young.  My Mom & Dad where far from wealthy, but I had clean clothes, food and… my Dad.  Now even though he traveled (Sales) we always listened to music.   My mother loved music too, but my Dad had the Rhythm and I guess it was passed to me.

I have always loved to Dance (yes, unusual for a male) and I loved music with a beat, blues, country, Rock and Roll you name it.  I remember some of the early music, but not all of it.

I had an Uncle who was a Jitterbug Dancing Champ, thus I was introduced to Boogie Woogie.

I will in my own little way take a look at music, before Rock and Roll that I think had some sort of influence.  I will supply some of the songs, but they are difficult to locate.  So let’s say we take a look back to when I was only 5 and when the music started to change, 1945.

Music Highlights of the Early Years

  • In July 1940, Billboard magazine begins charting pop records on its “Music Popularity Chart“.  The very first #1 national hit is “I’ll never smile Again” by Tommy Dorsey on Victor Records.
  • In June 1948, Columbia introduces the long-playing (LP) record with the microgroove, which plays at 33 1/3 rpm.  Until this time, albums consisted of collections of 12 inch 78 rpm discs that featured one or two selections on each side.
  • RCA develops the 45-rpm single and presses the very first on in April 1949.  The first pressed single is “Gatte’ Parisienne” by the Boston Pops Orchestra, record no. 47-2715.
  • Disc jockey Alan Freed, the man who popularized the expression “rock ‘n’ roll” in Cleveland, Ohio in 1950, gathers popular rhythm and blues performers of the time for his Moondog Coronation Ball, the first rock ‘n’ roll stage show held at the Cleveland Arena on Friday, March 21, 1952.  Acts include the Dominoes, Varetta Dillard,  Danny Cobb, Tiny Grimes and the Paul Williams Orchestra.
  • In July 1950 Your Hit Parade, the popular radio show that since 1935 has featured the popular his of the day, moves to Television.
  • In November 1952, the New Musical Express, a British music magazine, begins to chart pop singles.
  • In 1953 Bill Haley & His Comets “Crazy man Crazy” on Essex Records, becomes the first rock ‘n’ roll record to appear on the pop music charts.
The 1940s had some ground-breaking singles that helped pave the way for rock ‘n’ roll.


    • Caledonia/Louis Jordan/ Decca
    • Rock me Mama/Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup/ Bluebird
  • That’s the stuff you gotta Watch/ Buddy Johnson/ Decca
Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup

(August 24, 1905 — March 28, 1974)

Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup – So Glad You’re Mine – 1972

(See also, our post on Arthur Big-Boy Crudup)


  • Ain’t that Just Like a Woman/ Louis Jordan/Decca
  • I’ve Got A Right To Cry/ Joe Liggins/ Excelsior
  • Let the Good Times Roll/ Louis Jordan/ Decca
  • R.M. Blues/ Roy Milton/ Juke Box
  • That’s All Right/ Arthur “Big Boy Crudup/ Bluebird
Louis Jordan

(July 8, 1908 – February 4, 1975)

  • Ain’t that Just like a Woman/ Louis Jordan/ Decca/ 1946
  • Let the Good Times Roll/ Louis Jordan/ Decca/ 1946


    • Bobby Sox Blues/ Johnny Moore/ Excelsior
    • I Love You, Yes I Do/ Bull Moose Jackson/ King
    • Open the Door Richard/ Louis Jordan
    • True Blues/ Roy Milton/ Specialty
    • Open the Door Richard/ Louis Jordan/ Decca/ 1947


  • Bye Bye Baby Blues/ The Ravens/ Savoy
  • Elevator Boogie/ Mabel Scott/ Excelsior
  • Good Rockin’ Tonight/Wynonie Harris – (King 4210 1948)
  • I Want my Fanny Brown/Wynonie Harris – (King 4304 1948)
  • Pleasing You (As long as I Live)/ Lonnie Johnson *

Wynonie Harris

(August 24, 1915 – June 14, 1969)

    • Good Rockin’ Tonight (written by Roy Brown)/ Wynonie Harris/1948
    • Good Rockin’ Tonight/ Roy Brown/ 1948
    • I Want My Fanny Brown/ Wynonie Harris/ 1948


  • Boogie at Midnight/ Roy Brown/ De Luxe
  • Boogie Chillun’/ John Lee Hooker/ Modern
  • Deacon’s Hop/ Big Jay McNeeley/ Savoy
  • D’Natural Blues/ Lucky Millinder/ RCA Victor
  • Don’t Put Me Down/ Joe Liggins/ Specialty
  • Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee/ Stick McGhee/ Atlantic
  • Empty Arm Blues/ Amos Milburn/ Aladdin
  • Homesick Blues/ Charles Brown/ Aladdin
  • It’s Midnight/ Little Willie Littlefield/ Modern
  • Pot Likker/ Todd Rhodes/ King
  • Saturday Night Fish Fry/ Louis Jordan/ Decca
  • Bite Again Bite Again/ Wynonie Harris – (King 4252 1949)
  • I Like My Baby’s Pudding/ Wynonie Harris – (King 4342 1949)
Roy James Brown
(September 10, 1925 — May 25, 1981)

Granville Henry McGhee
also known as Stick (or Sticks) McGhee
(March 23, 1917 – August 15, 1961)
Stick McGhee (left) and his brother Brownie McGhee
(of Sonny Terry fame, on the right)

John Lee Hooker

(August 22, 1917 – June 21, 2001)

  • Boogie at Midnight/ Roy Brown/ 1949
  • Boogie Chillun’/ John Lee Hooker/ 1949
  • Drinkin Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee/ Stick McGhee/ 1949
  • Saturday Night Fish Fry/ Louis Jordan/ 1949
  • Bite Again Bite Again/ Wynonie Harris/ 1949
  • I Like my Baby’s Pudding/ Wynonie Harris/ 1949

1942 Harlem Hit Parade Debut

1945 Harlem Hit Parade becomes Race Records Chart

1949 In the summer, Race Records Chart changes to Rythm & Blues Chart

* Lonnie Johnson Update:

Fast forward to 1963 and Lonnie Johnson singing a great old blues song, “Another Night To Cry”