Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Jimmy Liggins

Rocket 88

Inspired by “Cadillac Boogie” by Jimmy Liggins & His Drops of Joy (1947).
Hit version by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats (R&B #1 1951).
Also recorded by Bill Haley & His Saddlemen (1951).

From the wiki: “If ‘Rocket 88’ is to be considered the first ‘Rock ‘n Roll’ song (as musicologists do), then ‘Cadillac Boogie’ must be the seed from which sprang the tree. Jackie Brenston admits he modeled his song on the Jimmy Liggins’ ‘Cadillac Boogie’, trading in the Caddy for a 1951 Oldsmobile Rocket Hydramatic 88. And it was about time they did. On their way from Clarksdale, MS, to Sun Studios in Memphis, TN, to record with Sam Phillips, the Delta Cats’ 1940 Ford Town Car was soaked in a downpour, damaging some band equipment including the band’s guitar amplifier.

“As luck would have it, Phillips liked the distortion coming now from the damaged amplifier and kept it in the recording. (Note: Even though ‘The Delta Cats’ were listed on the label, the group did not legally exist per se. Instead, the band was a derivative of then-19-year-old Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm band. Brenston was Turner’s saxophone player.)