Category: Rocket 88

71-year-old Ike Turner and 42-year-old Laurence Fishburne at John Singleton’s Hollywood Walk of Fame induction ceremony on August 26, 2003

At age 19 in 1951, Ike Turner released “Rocket 88,” which many consider to be the first rock and roll record. Laurence Fishburne best known for playing Morpheus in The Matrix trilogy

was nominated for an

Academy Award in 1994 for his portrayal of Ike Turner in the biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It (1993). He also starred in Boyz n the Hood (1991), directed by John Singleton. At age 24 in 1992, John was the youngest person ever nominated for Best Director, and the first African-American to be nominated for the award.

On this day in music history: March 5, 1951 – “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston And His Delta Cats is recorded. Written by Ike Turner, it is recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, TN. Based on the jump blues song “Cadillac Boogie” by Jimmy Liggins, Turner writes the song during rehearsals with the band at the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, MS. The songs distinctive “fuzz” guitar sound is the result of a damaged amplifier. While traveling up Highway 61 to Memphis, guitarist Willie Kizert’s amp, tied to the trunk of the car, gets wet when they encounter rain on the trip. When they arrive at the studio, the amp is dried off as much as possible, and the inside is stuffed with wadded up newspapers to alleviate the dampness inside the speaker cabinet. In spite of a long standing and often repeated myth that the amp had come loose and fallen off of the car, Turner states otherwise years later. Issued by Chess Records in April of 1951, “Rocket 88” (Brenston’s name appears on the writing credit instead of Turner’s when it is released) is an immediate smash, spending five weeks at number one on the R&B chart beginning on June 9, 1951, and is regarded many music historians as the first rock & roll record. “Rocket 88” is also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998.

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Little Richard and Ike Turner at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on April 2, 1998. 

Little Richard who was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1986, and Ike Turner in 1991, were longtime friends. Little Richard was used Ike’s piano intro on “Rocket 88″ for his song “Good Golly, Miss Molly.” Ike also said he had Little Richard in mind when he wrote songs for Tina Turner to sing. Little Richard wrote the introduction for Ike’s autobiography “Takin’ Back My Name” (1999) and

also spoke at his funeral in 2007. 

Little Richard: “When they first came to Los Angeles, I used to go over every day and Ike would be there with Tina and all of them. I remember when Tina couldn’t sing like she can today. Ike came and asked me to teach her. He asked me, ‘How would you sing this song?’ And when I sang, he would tell Tina, ‘Now that’s what I want you to do.’ But when she talks today she never mentions my name.”

Little Richard and Ike Turner at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on April 2, 1998. 

Little Richard who was inducted into the Rock Hall in 1986, and Ike Turner in 1991, were longtime friends. Little Richard was used Ike’s piano intro on “Rocket 88″ for his song “Good Golly, Miss Molly.” Ike also said he had Little Richard in mind when he wrote songs for Tina Turner to sing. Little Richard wrote the introduction for Ike’s autobiography “Takin’ Back My Name” (1999) and

also spoke at his funeral in 2007. 

Little Richard: “When they first came to Los Angeles, I used to go over every day and Ike would be there with Tina and all of them. I remember when Tina couldn’t sing like she can today. Ike came and asked me to teach her. He asked me, ‘How would you sing this song?’ And when I sang, he would tell Tina, ‘Now that’s what I want you to do.’ But when she talks today she never mentions my name.”

On this day in music history: March 5, 1951 – “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston And His Delta Cats is recorded. Written by Ike Turner, it is recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, TN. Based on the jump blues song “Cadillac Boogie” by Jimmy Liggins, Turner writes the song during rehearsals with the band at the Riverside Hotel in Clarksdale, MS. The songs distinctive “fuzz” guitar sound is the result of a damaged amplifier. While traveling up Highway 61 to Memphis, guitarist Willie Kizert’s amp, tied to the trunk of the car, gets wet when they encounter rain on the trip. When they arrive at the studio, the amp is dried off as much as possible, and the inside is stuffed with wadded up newspapers to alleviate the dampness inside the speaker cabinet. In spite of a long standing and often repeated myth that the amp had come loose and fallen off of the car, Turner states otherwise years later. Issued by Chess Records in April of 1951, “Rocket 88” (Brenston’s name appears on the writing credit instead of Turner’s when it is released) is an immediate smash, spending five weeks at number one on the R&B chart beginning on June 9, 1951, and is regarded many music historians as the first rock & roll record. “Rocket 88” is also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998.

Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm Recorded the First Rock ‘N’ Roll Song in 1951

In 1991, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognized “Rocket 88″ as the first rock and roll song ever recorded.

19-year-old Ike Turner wrote the

song.

The Oldsmobile Rocket 88 came out in 1949 and was the fastest car on the road at the time.

B.B. King linked Turner up with

producer Sam Phillips.

The song was recorded in the Memphis studio of Phillips in March 1951. Phillips

licensed the recording to Chess Records

in Chicago, who released it under the name Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats. Jackie Brenston, was a member of Ike Turner’s Rhythm Kings and sang lead,

Turner played piano.

The song was a #1 R&B hit, there were no rock charts at the time. It was a huge influence on Little Richard, who used the piano intro on his 1958 hit, “Good Golly Miss Molly.”

Turner was only paid $20 for writing, producing, and recording it. General Motors gave Brenston a Rocket 88 to thank him for the publicity. In 1952 Sam Phillips used the money from success of the record to form Sun Records, famous for recording Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.