Daily Song Study

Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra – Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop

In songs on December 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm

When we think of rock and roll, the default birthdate is set in the 1950s. But as Piero Scaruffi and a few other music historians note, that is bollocks.

Lionel Hampton, 1945:

This is a rock song. Little Richard could do it. Or Bill Haley. Yes, it’s a blues tune done with a jazz arrangement, but change a few players here & there and bammo, it’s rock.

But more importantly, it’s catchy and delivered superbly. Which makes genre nomenclature all the more irrelevant, but it’s a good idea now & then to take a look at old assumptions and see if they stand up. This tune, however, does.

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  1. Rock and roll comes from blues and rhythm and blues and even some jazz, which had been around and gradually led up to the ferocious brand we came to know i the 50s. I agree this tune points out it did not arrive straight out of some magic womb, but scaffolded on many traditions.

  2. I have many theories on how the magic womb thing came about, most of which involve a Boomer penchant for being born on third base and thinking they hit a homer. But I’m trying (perhaps in vain) to keep this blog from becoming too combative…

  3. […] Rock and roll as originally conceived was much more about roughness than beauty. However, over the years the definition has evolved over the decades, and there are many rock bands who make albums every bit as lovely as they are loud and raucous. Consider Copeland: […]

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