Rock and Roll Never Forgets

(Originally posted a few weeks ago, I am reposting this piece to share it with a number of new followers of Growing Up Boomer)

The featured image, taken sometime in the late Fifties, shows four major “influencers” of Rock and Roll and Country Music. During the summer of 1956, while riding in the family sedan somewhere in Delaware between Wilmington and Dover, on our way to begin a vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, I was introduced to Rock and Roll by one of the four.

At that moment in 1956, the voice of the gentleman pictured at the piano exploded from the radio like thunder and lightning …

You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog

My astonished father listened to the first few bars, and then sent me on a mission with a flick of his wrist and the exclamation, “What the hell was that?” My mission was to answer my father’s question. I was not alone in that mission. Millions of Boomers joined me, and the rest is history.

Of course, those of us who grew up in segregated enclaves like Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (where radio stations owned by White men did not begin to play “colored music” until the late 1950s) did not learn about the origins of Rock and Roll until we were older; in some cases, much older.

For example, while other White Boomers may have learned about the origins of “Hound Dog” in their teens, it was not until the Internet began to perfect search engines that I discovered Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton’s “Hound Dog” had been released in 1953. It had been number one for seven weeks on the Billboard R&B chart three years before Elvis released his version. As with so many other songs first sung by Black artists, (in my opinion) Big Mamma’s version buries The King’s.*

There is a huge bibliography of books that address the events and personalities associated with Rock and Roll, and I have nothing to add. But I would be remiss if I did not mention in Growing Up Boomer a cultural phenomenon that had a significant impact upon how I came to look at my life.

It has been Bob Seger who has once again provided me with a prompt for a post, a random crossing with Rock and Roll Never Forgets. The remastered version posted by Seger follows (click on the image), as do the lyrics so you can sing along …

Bob Seger’s Rock and Roll Never Forgets

So you’re a little bit older
And a lot less bolder than you used to be
So you used to shake ’em down
But now you stop and think about your dignity,

So now sweet 16’s turned (75)
You get to feelin’ weary when the work day’s done
Well, all you got to do is get up and into your kicks
If you’re in a fix
Come back baby, rock and roll never forgets

You better get yourself a partner
Go down to the concert or the local bar
Check the local newspapers
Chances are you won’t have to go too far

Yeah the rafters will be ringing ’cause the beat’s so strong
The crowd will be swaying and singing along
And all you got to do is get in, into the mix
If you need a fix

You can come back baby, rock and roll never forgets

Ooh, the band’s still playing it loud and lean
Listen to the guitar player making it scream
All you got to do is just make that scene tonight
Hey, tonight, ooh we’ll, now sweet 16’s turned (75)

Feel a little tired, feeling under the gun
Well, all of Chuck’s children are out there playing his licks
Get into your kicks
Come back baby, rock and roll never forgets
Said you can come back baby, rock and roll never forgets
Oh, come back baby, rock and roll never forgets


* I am unable to embed a remarkable, filmed live performance of Big Mama on YouTube singing Hound Dog, but you can access it via the previous link.

No copyright infringement is intended in the use of the images in this post, nor is there an intent on the part of the blogger to monetize their use because Growing Up Boomer is intended solely for educational purposes.