Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hank Williams: Move it on Over

Where did rock and roll come from? This Hank Williams song from 1947, which threatens to turn into Rock Around the Clock at any moment, gives us one of the answers.

One of the Youtube comments for this video (well, audio) says:

He def. was an inf. on rock, along with some other country stars, but it is has always been convenient by whites to leave out blues musicians who really had the major infl. of the time.

From Son House's Delta blues in the 20's to Muddy's Urban blues of Chicago, to Big Mama Thorton's Hound Dog, to Little Richard in the 50's, blacks were widely ignored as the inf. of Rock until white Brits arrived in the states, such as the Stones, to re-introduce black Amer. music to white Amer. audiences.

It is interesting that in America you have to remind people of this history. In Britain we are well aware of the musical importance of Black rhythm and blues, but we often have difficulties taking country music seriously.


John W said...

Good point about 'Move it on Over'.

I've written a little piece about Hank Williams' 'Hey Good Lookin' as an important milestone in the origins of Rock and Roll.

John W.

Andrew Hickey said...

I actually learned that song from a cover version by Bill Haley & The Comets, where the resemblance is even more noticeable ;)

I think in general people are pretty ignorant of *all* pre-1960s popular music, and if anything the blues artists who (rightly) got their recognition from the 60s generation are far better known than people like the Everlys or Jerry Lee Lewis, let alone the people who influenced *them*. I knew Hank Williams' songs for years before I ever heard his voice, thanks to covers by Fats Domino, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and so on... the idea that anyone could dispute his influence is shocking.

(Also the first man ever to perform with a drum kit at the Grand Ol' Opry, but they had to hide it behind the curtain so as not to outrage the audience... drum kits meant 'jazz' back then, not 'country')

MFAC said...

Love the song and agree that in the UK we overlook the influence that Country music had on rock 'n' roll.
We also overlook the influence that our own (especially Celtic) folk music influenced American folk and country music.

As to the Grand Old Opry, I'd always thought that Bob Wills was the first guy to play with a drummer there. The drummer was Monty Mountjoy (I think). I had never heard of Hank Williams doing it.

Anonymous said...

Hank Rocked, but Luke told the stories.