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Rocket 88

I am all excited, as this is my first post for the MM Music Challenges.  In 1951, the song ‘Rocket 88’ was a #1 R&B hit for Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats who were actually Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm at a time when there were no rock charts.  Brenston was a saxophonist, and the Delta Cats were an R&B band led by Ike Turner.  Many historians of popular music consider this song to be the first rock ‘n’ roll record.  The song is about a car, the Oldsmobile “Rocket 88’, which came out in 1949 and it was the fastest car on the road at the time.  It was a small car that featured a big, overhead valve V8 engine, it was one of the first muscle cars to dominate NASCAR races in the ‘50s.  The car was advertised as having a V-8 “Rocket” engine, with the slogan, “Make a Date with a Rocket 88.”

Classic rock & roll rhythm has its roots in the chord-strumming rhythm guitar, drums and bass that was invented between 1895 and 1900, when horn players were pioneering hot blues in New Orleans.  Rock evolved from swing jazz, which was popular in the beginning of the 1940s and this music became even more energetic by incorporating an extra driving rhythm which came about when it was mixed with elements of the blues.  This sound began to be called Jump, Jive, Jump & Jive, and Jump Blues.  Boogie Woogie and other novelty and jazz styles began to emerge as well.  Eventually rockabilly, and early rock & roll were all danced to by lindy hoppers and west coast swing dancers.

In a 1904 recording, the black vocal harmony group the Haydn Quartet sang or talked about “rocking and rolling in the arms of Moses”.  The term “rocking and rolling” was used with a religious connotation, on the phonograph record ‘The Camp Meeting Jubilee’.  A few very early songs mentioned the word rock starting in 1922 with the blues singer Trixie Smith who sang, ‘My Daddy Rocks Me (With One Steady Roll)’, the 1925 Coot Grant and Kid Wilson song ‘Rock, Aunt Dinah, Rock’, the 1929 Lil Johnson ‘Rock That Thing’, also from 1929 Montana Taylor sang ‘Detroit Rocks’, and Banjo Ikey Robinson & His Bull Fiddle Band did ‘Rock Me Mama’, in 1930 Robinson’s Knights Of Rest gave us ‘Rocking and Rolling’, and in 1931 Duke Ellington recorded ‘Rockin’ In Rhythm’.

In 1933, the Boswell Sisters a close harmony singing group literally started rock ‘n’ roll when they performed in the film Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round a song called ‘Rock and Roll’, where the three singers sat aboard a mocked-up boat that was rocking and rolling.  The Andrews Sisters, based themselves upon the Boswell Sisters.  By the 1940s, the term rock ‘n’ roll was used as a double entendre, ostensibly referring to dancing, but carrying the meaning of sex becoming a visual euphemism of something sexual.  The term “rock ‘n’ roll” was popularized by the DJ Alan Freed, who played the music on his “Moondog House Rock ‘n’ Roll Party” radio show from 1951.  Freed played rhythm and blues music for a multi-racial audience and he often gets credit for being the first person to use the phrase “rock and roll” to describe the music.  The word ‘rock’ has since evolved to become a blanket term for all popular music that features electric guitars and a beat.

The song ‘Rocket 88’ was written by Jackie Brenston and it came out on the 1951 album Chicago Blues, Volume 2.  Supposedly this song was recorded on March third which is my birthday and maybe this is why a feel such a strong connection to rock and roll music.  In 1991, after a great deal of debate, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame recognized this song as being the first rock and roll song ever recorded.  Brenston died in 1991 and Turner was in jail at the time for cocaine possession, so his daughter accepted the award.

You woman have heard of jalopies
You heard the noise they make
Let me introduce you to my Rocket ‘88
Yes, it’s great, just won’t wait
Everybody likes my Rocket ‘88
Baby, we’ll will ride in style movin’ all along

V-8 motor and this modern design
Black convertible top and the girls don’t mind
Sportin’ with me, ridin’ all around town for joy
Blow your horn, rocket, blow your horn

Step in my rocket and don’t be late
We’re pullin’ out about a half past eight
Goin’ on the corner and havin’ some fun
Takin’ my rocket on a long, hot run
Ooh, goin’ out, oozin’ and cruisin’ and havin’ fun

Now that you’ve ridden in my Rocket ‘88
I’ll be around every night about eight
You know it’s great, don’t be late
Everybody likes my Rocket ‘88
Girls will ride in style, movin’ all along

The challenge today is to focus on this song and will use it for inspiration in any form of creative expression (including but not limited to short stories, poems, lyrics, artwork, photography, (etc.).  Alternatively, if you are a musician, and you have played this song solo or in a group, it would be awesome if you could post a video to showcase your own work.  You could write about how you learned to play the chords or how you learned the lyrics.  There is no need to stick with this song, as I am looking more for an early rock and roll song that you like, or the first song that comes to your mind when you hear the phrase rock and roll.

If the lyrics of any rock song inspired you, or if a song brings back any special memories for you holds a message, or contains a lesson, then write about that.  Try to explain any similes or symbolic metaphors that you come across.  Let everyone know how the song that you select makes you feel, whether it is good, or painful.  You could also share what you think the lyrics mean, or something special about the group, like if you ever saw them live in concert.  Where does rock and roll start for you?  Write about Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Beatles, or the Rolling Stones, as any form of creative writing within reason will work.

When you are finished writing your post, create a ping back to this post, but since I have to approve all ping backs, you will have to wait for it to show up. As long as you are being patient it will get here, but you can also place your link in the comments section below if you don’t like to wait.  This Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge has a special feature called Mr. Linky, which allows you to instantly link your post after you click the Mr. Linky Button. Follow the directions and this will allow everyone to read your post sooner.

About newepicauthor

My About Me section is meant to provide my readers with an honest picture of myself that gives a little bit of background information on who I am and I will wrap this up with a catchy image. I am a story teller and I like to use my imagination. I am interested in many things, but a few of my favorites are watching the NFL and playing golf. I do not like onions and I always make sure that my food does not contain any. I had two wonderful parents, my dad Herb Adams was a television repairman and my mother Mary Adams was mostly a stay at home mom. They are both deceased now and I miss them. I am a retired Electrical Engineer specialized in control systems. I held many different positions because I worked mostly as a consultant. I did work as a Substitute Teacher, for a while, but the kids were awful. I am happiest when I am writing, as this gives my life has a purpose. Forming a sentence with meaningful words that articulate my inner feelings is an everyday quest for me. Every writer needs to tell their story, and all writers have their own style. All stories starts off with characters, who are able to entertain the reader. Creating realistic lovable characters is the best way to tell a story. If you are able to develop characters that become real to you, then you will know exactly what they will do say and do next and this lets your story progress to the completion. Writing changes everything and having the calling to create something new through the power of words is much more than just making marks on a page. Once written, a book can be used by many people to learn and be entertained. The act of writing can be compared to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it contains an inherent fuzziness, because various people may derive different meanings from reading the same words. You can never know the true nature of written words and the best I can do is hope is that people will understand the meanings that I am trying to convey. There are no clear-cut laws on how to write and it is impossible for me to determine how my readers react to my books.

14 comments on “Rocket 88

  1. Jade Li
    April 19, 2019

    Nice write-up, Jim, which shows good research on this rock-n-roll tune. Congratulations on your debut here at Mindlovesmisery Menagerie’s Music Challenge!

    • newepicauthor
      April 19, 2019

      I don’t have a LIKE button on this MM site, but I want to thank you for your lovely comment. I also did not get a message that you made a comment or that you liked my post. My debut has been spoiled slightly, because of the confusion of when I was supposed to make this post, as this is the second MM Music Challenge that was issued today. The other thing that I don’t like is my About Me section being shown at the bottom of this post, but that is probably not worth complaining about. I thought that this would be a popular post today, and although it did get 11 likes, no one has entered the challenge, which is disappointing. Anyway I had fun writing about rock and roll.

  2. Pingback: #MLMM Music Challenge — Rock & Roll — Led Zeppelin –What Is and What Should Never Be – Tao Talk

  3. Jade Li
    April 19, 2019

    I just tried to use “Mr. Linky” and put my link in there but it doesn’t open up. Here is my post for it. If MM gets things tweaked, will you please let me know?

    • newepicauthor
      April 19, 2019

      Thanks for participating and I loved your post.

      • Jade Li
        April 20, 2019

        Thank you, glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Cara Hartley
    April 19, 2019

    Team Netherworld used this and three other prompts to create a new post for our Top Seekrit Private Blog, Rattling Bones Undead Musician Magazine.

  5. pensitivity101
    April 19, 2019

    This is a totally new track to me Jim, but I can envisage jivers really going to town. I always wanted to learn how to jive and had an impromptu lesson at a function of some kind. Good first post in your new slot by the way. Looking forward to your future ones.

  6. Hi, Jim! Thanks for the lengthy post. I have a type of writer’s block … so I draw more than write at


    And I loved your blog post https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2019/04/19/we-are-flatlanders/

    • newepicauthor
      April 20, 2019

      Thanks and I just checked out your girl on a plane picture and I think it is very nice.

  7. Jules
    April 20, 2019

    I usually pass up the Music prompts. But I read through your post and really enjoyed the history about the music that you provided. Who knows maybe I’ll come up with something…

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This entry was posted on April 19, 2019 by in Music Prompt and tagged .
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