The First Rock ‘n Roll Song

Music has paved its way to the world since prehistorical times. However, the origin of music is still not known. Some people relate it to be originated since the advent of language. Music expresses emotions in a novel yet melodious manner. To date, many different categories of music have been introduced and loved by people. 

Many tools and instruments have been invented and introduced that lessen the effort needed to produce a track. Technology has eased our way to learn. 

Rock and Roll Music


It has been very difficult for the investigators to record the origin of the rock ‘n roll songs. Rock and roll are one of the most colorful categories in the music industry. Some of the very popular names that have glorified rock and roll music are “The Beatles,” “Elvis Presley,” “Buddy Holly,” “Bob Dylan,” “Pete Townshend,” and many more. However, none of them sang the first-ever Rock ‘n Roll song. You might be thinking then, who was the first to record the rock and roll song?

This question has left people in suspense for many years. But it has now been known that rock ‘n roll music originated in the 1940s. The discoverers had to go through a lot. They interviewed the aged musicians of their times and hunted numerous books to travel back into the time to get the answers to their questions, and this gave rise to a long-lasting debate among different groups, each of which had their song to be the first in the history of rock ‘n roll.  

Strong arguments exist between Elvis Presley and Jackie Brenston. But now it’s known that Elvis Presley’s debut single “That’s All Right” was released in 1954. So, among the top pieces of evidence available, the majority favor “Rocket 88,” to be the first in the list (by Jackie Brenston). It became this tough because of the lack of available records. 

First Rock and Roll Song

After continuous effort and research, about half of the investigators have concluded that the first and foremost rock ‘n roll song is none other than “Rocket 88”. The remaining half of the crew is still in doubt.

This song, originally composed by Ike Turner, was sung by “Jackie Brenston” in the 1950s. Sam Phillips was the one who was privileged to record this first-ever rock ‘n roll song. Jackie Brenston was a part of the band called “The Kings of the Rhythm.” 

It is a song of rhythm and blues that happened to be recorded in Tennessee in the March of 1951 and released by Chess Records. The credits were supposed to be given to Ike Turner in the records, but tables turned, and the name of Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats got printed instead. The blame for this mistake was straight on Phillips as he was responsible for licensing the song to “Chess.” 

With Rocker 88, Turner and the band were paid not more than $20. However, Brenston managed to sell the rights to Phillips for $910. 

This song succeeded in paving its way to the Billboard, which was one of the biggest achievements in those times. This song glorified Rock and roll music and managed to divert the attention of people towards music. It was something people would love to listen to in the meantime. 

In 2017, the Mississippi Blues Trails were kind enough to dedicate their two-hundredth track to the “Rocker 88”. 

Induction of the Rocker 88 

It was inducted in different regions in the following years:

  • Blues Hall of Fame: In 1991
  • Grammy Hall of Fame: In 1998
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: In 2018

What Times Said About Rocker 88

It was published by Times that Rocker 88 was brash and tantalizing. It took the cool element of the blues and rhythmed them with style, attitude, and electric guitar. The blues being the voice of wisdom while the music added a tint of innovative element, making it a mix that could be loved and embraced by all. 

At the time when it got released, Rocker 88 was one of the most wanted tracks ever. The crew created something exceptional in the form of Rocker 88.

Rocker 88 Success

Rocker 88 is not only the first Rock and Roll song in history but one of the most successful songs of its time. People who have discovered it to be the first song in the history of rock and roll music have studied how this song hypnotized the audience and stunned everyone with the success it gained in no time. Following are some of the song’s achievements:  

  • Rocker 88 was labeled as the third biggest single of rhythm and blues in the jukebox of 1951. This was according to Billboard magazine, whereas in the record sales of that year it stood at number nine. 
  • This single made its way to one of the most selling R&B Records on 9th June 1951. The record remained there for three weeks straight.  
  • For two weeks, it remained as one of the most played Juke Box in R7B records. 

Thus, the Rocker 88 managed to be at the R&B Charts for around five weeks, and that was an exceptional success. 

Second Version of Rocker 88

The first version was recorded by Turner, after which the group of Bill Halley recorded their version of the rock song on 24th June 1951. The group was called “Bill Haley and the Saddlemen,” and later, its name changed to the Comets

Not only the Turner’s version got hit, but the Haley version of the Rocket 88 was also on a regional hit list. This recording of Haley continued to impact the music of 1954. This song will never die; it is one of the everlasting tracks that will be remembered forever. 

Marshall Lytle was a bass player, and he stated that he would have to play the rhythm section himself before they had drums. The song was recorded without any amplification, and it was a great deal of work without the technology that music has developed to date. 


No matter which of the two versions went more viral, both the versions were embraced by the audience as well as made their place in people’s hearts, and that’s what was needed. The lyrical theme has highly been appreciated. 

If you have not listened to this song yet, put on the earphones, and listen to this amazing piece of art from history.