Feb. 7, 2021: It’s 1951! Welcome to our first main timeline episode of Hall of Songs, digging into the songs we’ve nominated for Hall consideration in 1951.
There is no single song that marks the beginning of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s not as if all music was this, and then one day *that* happened and people said, “Oh! That’s different! That’s rock ‘n’ roll!” But we can take a whole bunch of information, scan it through our brains, and decide that 1951 is about the time that rock ‘n’ roll starts to truly take shape.
The six songs from 1951 that we’ve nominated for inclusion in the Hall of Songs seem to reflect this premise. They all sound like both something else and maybe rock ‘n’ roll, all at the same time. The rock may be in the vocal or the lyric sheet of the song, it may be in some innovation put down in the record, or it may just be the feeling the track gives. Either way, to us, these six say “rock ‘n’ roll” in some way.
Our 1951 nominees:
- “Cold Cold Heart” as performed by Hank Williams
- Written by Hank Williams (disputed), recorded December 1950, released February 1951
- “How High the Moon” as performed by Les Paul and Mary Ford
- Written by Morgan Lewis and Nancy Hamilton, recorded January 1951, released March 1951
- “Rocket 88” as performed by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
- Written by Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner (disputed), recorded March 1951, released April 1951
- “Sixty Minute Man” as performed by Billy Ward and his Dominoes
- Written by Billy Ward and Rose Marks, recorded December 1950, released May 1951
- “Hey, Good Lookin'” as performed by Hank Williams
- Written by Hank Williams, recorded March 1951, released June 1951
- “I’m in the Mood” as performed by John Lee Hooker
- Written by John Lee Hooker, recorded August 1951, released October 1951
Listen to our 1951 episode to learn more about these songs, and come back on Feb. 21, 2021, when we discuss our nominees from 1952.