Rock and Roll Timeline
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Thomas Edison invents the phonograph for playing back stored sounds. The
first recording he
makes is "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
The Chicago Automatic Machine and Tool Company invents the jukebox that
plays records (as
opposed to the cylinder recordings type of player that had been around since 1889).
In 1917, the first jazz record was issued in the U.S. when Nick
LaRoccas Original Dixieland
Jazz Band released "The Dixieland Jazz Band One-Step."
The 78 rpm record is introduced.
Adolph Rickenbacker invents the electric guitar
Billboard puts out its first record sales chart in 1936.
Bluesman Robert Johnson records his first record
and Joe Turner cut their first boogie records in
Boom of boogie woogie in Chicago
Telefunken helps develop magnetic tape for use with tape recorders.
John Hammond's 'Spirituals to Swing' concert in NYC
Saxophonist Louis Jordan
leaves Chick Webb's sax section to form his Tympany Five. This might well
mark the beginnings of what we know as Rock and Roll
- Leo Mintz founds a record store in Cleveland, the "Record Rendezvous",
- Los Angeles bluesman T-Bone Walker incorporates jazz chords into the blues guitar with
Got A Break Baby"
- Savoy is founded in Newark (NJ) to promote black music
- King Records is founded in Cincinnati by Syd Nathan to
record hillbilly. In 1946 adds race music.
- Les Paul invents "echo delay", "multi-tracking" and many other
- Johnny Otis assembles a combo for "Harlem
Nocturne" that is basically a
shrunk-down version of the big-bands of swing
- Jules Bihari founds Modern Records
in Los Angeles, specializing in black music
- Muddy Waters cuts the first records of Chicago's electric blues
- Carl Hogan plays a powerful guitar riff on Louis Jordan's "Ain't That Just Like a
- Lew Chudd founds Imperial Records
in Los Angeles, specializing in black music
- Specialty Records is founded by Art Rupe in Los Angeles to
specialize in black popular
- Louis Jordan launches "jump blues" (rhythm and blues) with "Choo Choo
- Billboard writer Jerry Wexler invents the term "rhythm and blues" for
- Roy Brown writes and cuts "Good Rockin'
Tonight" in Texas
- Chess Records is founded in Chicago by two Polish-born
Jews, Leonard and Phil Chessm to promote blues and later rhythm and blues
- Ahmet Ertegun founds Atlantic Records in New York to
promote black music at the border between
jazz, rhythm and blues and pop
- Detroit R&B saxophonist Wild Bill Moore releases "We're Gonna Rock We're
- John Lee Hooker records Boogie "Chillen'" for Modern Records, a a single,
which topped the
R&B charts in 1949.
- Columbia introduces the 12-inch 33-1/3 RPM long-playing vinyl record
- Homer Dudley invents the Vocoder (Voice Operated recorder)
- Memphis' radio station WDIA hires Nat Williams, the first black disc jockey
- The magazine Billboard introduces charts for "hillbilly" and
- Fats Domino cuts "The Fat Man," a new kind of boogie
- Hank Williams' "Lovesick Blues" reaches the top of the country charts
- Scatman Crothers cuts "I Want To Rock And Roll" (1949), with Wild Bill Moore
- RCA Victor introduces the 45 RPM vinyl record
- Todd Storz of the KOWH radio station starts the Top 40 radio program
- The Billboard chart for "race" records becomes the chart for
"rhythm and blues" records
- Aristocrat changes its name to Chess
- Dewey Phillips (white) deejays race music show 'Red Hot and Blue' in Memphis (Delta
blues, Chicago blues, boogie)
- The white Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed decides to speculate
on the success of Leo
Mintz's store and starts a radio program, Moondog Rock'n'Roll Party, that
black music to an audience of white teenagers
- The first rock and roll record, Ike Turner's Rocket 88, is released
- The first juke-box that plays 45 RPM records is introduced
- Howling Wolf and Joe Turner popularize the "shouters"
- Gunter Lee Carr cuts the dance novelty "We're Gonna Rock "
- Bill Haley Saddlemen become the Comets
- Bob Horn's Bandstand TV program airs from
Philadelphia every weekday afternoon
- The Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed (aka Moondog) organizes the first rock and roll
concert, the Moondog Coronation Ball
- Les Paul invents the first solid-body electric guitar, named the 'Les Paul', for
the Gibson Guitar Company
- Sam Phillips founds Sun Records and declares
"If I could find a white man who sings with
the Negro feel, I'll make a million dollars"
- Charles Brown's "Hard
Times" is the first hit by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller to enter the
- Little Richard's first records released
- Bill Haley's "Crazy Man Crazy" is the first rock and roll song to enter the Billboard
- The Orioles' "Crying in the Chapel" is the first black hit to top the white
- Leo Fender invents the Stratocaster guitar
- Sam Phillips records the first Elvis Presley record in
his Sun studio of Memphis using two
recorders to produce an effect of "slapback" audio delay
- The black market constitutes 5.7% of the total American market for records
- Vee-Jay Records is founded in Indiana, is owned by James and
Vivian Bracken, specializing in black music
- Elvis Presley makes his first (private) recordings
- Boom of Doo Wop
- Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" is the first rock song used in a movie
- The record companies switch from 78 RPMs to 45 RPMs
- Japanese electronic company TTK (later Sony) introduces the world's first transistor
- Ray Charles forms his band
- In 1954, Big Joe Turner recorded the original version of the 1950s hit, Shake, Rattle
- Johnny Cash forms the Tennessee Two with Luther Perkins
and Marshall Grant,
- Chuck Berry cuts his first rock and roll records, the first ones
to have the guitar as the main
instrument, and invents the descending pentatonic double-stops (the essence of rock
- Bo Diddley invents the "hambone" rhythm
- The Chordettes and the Chantels
are the first girl-groups
- Ray Charles creates "soul" music with "I Got A Woman," a secular
adaptation of an old
- Ace Records is formed by Johnny
Vincent in New Orleans, specializing in black music
- The Blackboard Jungle is released featuring Bill Haley and His Comets
"(We're Gonna) Rock Around the Clock"
- RCA signs Elvis Presley
- The Everly Brothers make their first studio recordings
- Alan Freed's Rock 'n' Roll Ball" draws huge, half-white audience
- Carl Perkins records "Blue Suede Shoes"
- Sales of 45 rpm records finally outsold 78s.
- Colonel Tom Parker signed on as Elvis Presleys manager
- Heartbreak Hotel starts Presley-mania
- Presley's first film, Love Me Tender
- The rock 'n' roll music of white rockers is called "rockabilly"
(rock + hillbilly)
- Screamin Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" introduces voodoo into
- Wanda Jackson is the
"Queen of Rockabilly"
- The popularity of rock and roll causes the record industry to boom and allows
labels to flourish
- In impromptu recording session occurs at Sun Studios with the million dollar quartet
consisting of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny
- Elektra pioneers the "compilation" record, containing songs by different
- Buddy Holly had his first official recording session in
1956. It was held in Nashville at producer
Owen Bradleys, Barn Studio.
- Brenda Lee signs a recording contract at the age of 11, after five years of singing
- Gene Vincent made his first appearance on national TV by
performing on The Perry Como Show
- American Bandstand first aired on
- Chuck Berry releases "School Day" and "Rock and Roll Music"
- Golden Age of the teen-idols
- Link Wray's Rumble invents the "fuzz-tone" guitar sound
- Buddy Holly recorded, Thatll Be the Day, at a Norman Petty's New Mexico studio.
- Billboard begins the Hot 100 singles chart
- Buddy Holly and Sam Cooke made their first appearances on
the same The Ed Sullivan
- Elvis is drafted into the Army
- Carl Perkins left Sun Records in 1958,becoming the first big rockabilly artist on the
- Golden age of instrumental rock
- Eddie Cochran overdubs all instruments and vocals on
"Summertime Blues" and "C'mon
- Lowman Pauling invents guitar distortion and feedback on the Five Royales' "The
- RCA introduces the first stereo long-playing records
- Don Kirshner opens offices at the Brill Building
- David Seville's "The Witch Doctor" and the Tokens' "Tonite I Fell In
Love" are the first
- Bobby Freeman's "Do You Wanna Dance" begins the "dance craze"
- Stax Records is founded in Memphis to promote black music
- Little Richard quit rock and roll in 1958 to attend Bible college.
- Dion and The Belmonts and Laurie Records both had their first
hit when the bands, "I Wonder
Why," made the Top 40
- Jerry Lee Lewis had 34 of his 37 concert dates in the U.K.
cancelled in 1958 when it was
discovered that his new bride with him was also his 13 year old cousin.
- Buddy Holly makes his final studio recordings " It Doesnt Matter Any
More," "Moondreams," " Raining
In My Heart" and "True Love Ways"
- The Dick Clark Show TV Show began
- Rick Hall founds the FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama
- The Drifters' "There Goes My Baby"
introduces Latin rhythm to pop music
- Berry Gordy founds Tamla-Motown in Detroit to
release pop-oriented soul records
- 600 million records are sold in the USA
- Buddy Holly dies at 22 in a plane crash
- Since 1955, the US market share of the four "majors" has dropped
from 78% to 44%,
while the market share of independent record companies increased from 22% to
- Since 1955, the US market has increased from 213 million dollars to 603
million, and the
market share of rock and roll has increased from 15.7% to 42.7%
- Elvis appears on the Ed Sullivan Show following his release from the Army.
- Twist is the biggest dance-craze in the year of the dance-crazes
- Larry Parnes, Britain's most famous impresario, arranges a show for the Silver Beetles
- Sam Cooke signed with RCA Records in 1960, bringing his hits on Keen Records with him
- The Shirelles' "Will You
Love Me Tomorrow" coins a form of romantic multi-part vocal
- The British producer Joe Meek uses the recording studio like an instrument for "I
New World "
- Eddie Cochran dies at 22
- Ray Charles has his first #1 hit "Georgia On My Mind "
- Dick Dale uses the term "surfing"
to describe his instrumental rock and roll
- Stax begins to produce soul records in Memphis
- The Peppermint Lounge opens in New York
- Roy Orbison has his first number #1 hit, "Running
- Phil Spector and partner Lester Sill released the "Oh
Yeah Maybe Baby" on their new label Philles
- The Supremes first recordings are released.
- James Brown record his famous Live At the Apollo
- Surf music rules the airwaves
- Little Stevie Wonder recorded his first #1 hit,
"Fingertips Pt. 2,"
- Alan Freed, the man who gave rock n roll its name, died in 1965 at the early
age of 43