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Hi, this is the first in a series of notes on the era of rock and roll.

Prior to 1954 we were listening to the likes of Johnnie Ray, Guy Mitchell, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, David Whitfield, Alma Cogan etc., and then it happened for me.

I was in a little café in Lee South East London in May 1954 when a teddy boy walked over to the juke box, selected a record and pressed the switch. Wow! The first chorus of "Rock around the clock" came booming out. It was my introduction to rock and roll and I was hooked for life. I have a great deal to thank that lad for. April 12, 1954 – this was the date when Bill and the Comets recorded two tracks "Rock around the clock" and "Shake rattle and roll", popular music had been taken by the scruff of the neck and given a good shake-up.

Nothing can compare with the energy and excitement of a live rock and roll show, if you were lucky enough to see any of the great rock and roll stars in their prime, then, if you are like me, you can still close your eyes and picture them centre stage singing those great songs accompanied by the fantastic guitar and saxophone breaks (It makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck!).

Indeed I count it a privilege to have been a teenager in the fifties and early sixties and to have lived through that great period of change in the music industry. The whole rock and roll experience is still part of my life and I go to as many of the touring acts as possible. I have seen many of the rock and roll stars live, and met just a few, but I was not lucky enough to see Bill Haley or Buddy Holly, I did, however, catch the Comets tour in November 1995, when most of the original band members were there (All in their early 70's I would think). For this tour they had found a singer, who introduced himself with "Hello, I do not look like Bill and, of course, can never be him, but I will do my best to keep his music alive". Well, he sounded very much like Bill and proceeded to sing all of the original songs. The Comets energy was fantastic – Rudy Pompilli laid on his back during "Rudy's rock" feverishly playing the saxophone. On other great songs Al Rex swung his giant bass in the air whilst the next moment he was climbing all over it.

I had filled in one of the gaps in my rock and roll knowledge, and it was obvious that they still loved the great music – all was well with the world .


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If you have any memories of the rock 'n' roll era and would like to share them with us then please contact Chunky's Rock 'n' Roll Corner with your memories or any questions, he would love to hear from you at chunky@musicbeesknees.com .