Rockabilly: Rock and Roll’s Primitive Form

By Buster Fayte, Featured Author, Sad Man’s Tongue

It’s been almost 60 years since music that could be called rock and roll  first started hitting the radio airwaves. Rock music has taken an amazing number  of twists, turns, and alternate paths over all those years. But if you follow  all of those paths back to their origins, you’ll eventually come to the source  of all rock and roll: The original primitive rock and roll called  “rockabilly.”

Of course, rockabilly itself is nowhere near the primitive form of music, but  rockabilly is really the first form of music that you could give the rock and  roll label to. Rockabilly’s roots stretch far back from the 1950s to the  earliest country music, blues music, and rhythm and blues music. And naturally  each of those American music forms could be traced back to songs from the “old  countries” which immigrants brought with them when they came in search of new  life and greater fortune in the new world and that African slaves brought with  them when they were ripped from their homes and brought to America. Gospel music  too had a profound impact on rockabilly.

All of these influences came together in an amazing explosion of raw energy  and power in the early 1950s. When Elvis broke out of his attempt to record  country ballads for Memphis’ Sun Records one day in 1954, he started a  revolution. No one had seen or heard anything quite like this new music that  they soon started to call rockabilly. And plenty of people thought that there  was no real future in this “devil’s music.” But the were wrong. Oh, they were so  wrong!

Elvis’ success inspired scores of other musicians to pick up the rockabilly  style and the music spread even faster. Rock and roll was born and once it  started growing, there was absolutely no way to stop it. The simple,  straight-ahead, three-chord songs crashed upon the pop music scene like a ’54  Cadillac smashing through the fence at a sleepy afternoon barbeque. Before  anyone knew what had hit them, rockabilly cats were making hit after hit.

Those early songs and the artists who sang them had a tremendous influence on  the young kids of that era. And thousands of those young kids decided they were  going to pick up guitars too and make music of their own. Although rockabilly  had a very short ride at the top of the charts (just five or six years), the  bands that started scoring big hits in the early 60s were quick to point to  rockabilly as the basis for their musical coming of age and rockabilly artists  as their idols.

The Beatles, of course, took rock and roll into amazing new directions. The  Rolling Stones and other British invasion bands also changed the face and sound  of rock and roll. But most of this new pack of musicians was very quick to point  out and talk about their rockabilly influences. Performers like Elvis, Buddy  Holly, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, and Carl Perkins, along with others were  revered by the new crop of 60s musicians–especially the European artists.

Given that most bands during and since the 60s can point back to the Beatles  as a major influence, you can really point right on back to rockabilly since  without the influence of rockabilly, there likely would have been no Beatles.  And when you look at it that way, it’s amazing what an influence a bunch of  brash young American kids have had on all of rock and roll. Rockabilly’s  standing as the most primitive form of rock and roll give it an honored place in  music history!

Buster Fayte is an author and rockabilly musician. He Blogs at “Buster Fayte’s Rockabilly Romp” where he writes about the passion he shares with millions of musicians and fans for rockabilly and oldies music. Buster has written several books including the “Complete Home Music Recording Start Kit”. He writes original songs, sings, and plays both guitar and bass.

Article Source:

About Sad Man's Tongue: Rockabilly Bar & Bistro - Prague

We are a Bar and Bistro where old school meets the new school, dedicated to preserving the roots of rock and roll and it's modern adaptations as well as preserving the cultural identity of our neighborhood through our food, the the principles of the slow food movement. A little bit of rockabilly and retro combine with the kustom kulture of today, in an atmosphere devoid of Pretension.
This entry was posted in Buddy Holly, Clothing, Eddie Cochran, Elvis Presley, Fashion, Gene Vincent, History, Johnny Burnette, Johnny Cash, Music, Music History, Musicians, Record Labels, Rock Music, Rock n Roll, Rockabilly, Rockabilly Bands & Music, Rockabilly STyle, Sam Phillips, Style, Sun Records and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rockabilly: Rock and Roll’s Primitive Form

  1. Pingback: Rock Music News » Blog Archive » Rockabilly: Rock and Roll's Primitive Form | Sad Man's Tongue …

  2. Pingback: Rockabilly: Rock and Roll’s Primitive Form | Rockabilly |

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.