The Roots of Rockabilly ~ Artists and Songs

The Roots of Rockabilly

Rockabilly music burst onto the national scene in the mid-fifties and quickly filled the pop music void that existed in the early 1950s. This new sound seemed to come out of nowhere and, at first, didn’t even have a name. Some referred to it as “country boogie”. Others called it “hillbilly rock” or “hillbilly bebop.” As a genre it blends the sound of Western musical styles such as country with that of rhythm and blues, leading to what is considered “classic” rock and roll. 

It was raunchy, rebellious, adult-oriented music born of Country Boogie and Rhythm & Blues. Eventually it became known as “Rockabilly,” a term that acknowledged both its black and its white origins. “Rock” was an old Blues euphemism and “billy” was short for “hillbilly.” Some have also described it as a blend of bluegrass with rock and roll. Important influences on rockabilly music include western swing, boogie woogie, jump blues, and electric blues.

Pioneering Rockabilly Artists…

Defining features of the rockabilly music sound included strong rhythms, vocal twangs, and common use of the tape echo and was initially popularized by artists such as Johnny Cash, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Bob Luman, and Jerry Lee Lewis

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Formative Rockabilly Songs…

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