10 Songs That Rocked Before Rock Music Existed
Before the rock ’n’ roll revolution of the 1950s, the genre-defining term was alive and extremely popular. “Rock and roll” can be traced back to over 100 years before Little Richard started crushing his piano and Elvis was swaying his hips, so dozens of artists foreshadowed the future of music without knowing it.
The oldest recording we could find of “rock and roll” crooning originated in the late 1890s, but was ultimately recorded by the Edison Male Quartet in 1902. “Camp Meeting Jubilee” is one of the tamest pieces of music you’ll ever hear, but it completely centers around the lyrics, “Rocking and rolling in your arms.” It’s a charming look back into the beginning of the 20th century, completely separated by the debauchery that rock and roll would deliver 50 years later.
Another side-splitting “rock” rendition takes place in 1934 courtesy of the Boswell Sisters. It could be the first song ever titled “Rock and Roll,” but it’s pure cheese pop of the times. A TV broadcast of the Boswell Sisters shows the trio rowing a boat while singing “Rock and Roll,” innocently honoring the maritime origins of the now ubiquitous term.
Icons of yesteryear like Ella Fitzgerald appear in this list, thanks to her 1937 collaboration with the Chick Webb Orchestra. The soul stirring “Rock It For Me” is a blissful track that could sway any hardened rock fan, especially when Fitzgerald gently sings, “So won’t you satisfy my soul with the rock and roll?”
Check out these 10 Songs That Rocked Before Rock Music Existed in the Loud List above.
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