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Fruits & Veggies, The Songs | Pete Townshend

Birth of a Genre

 Every genre of music had a point in it's history where it evolved from a particular musical family or style and through the creative process became a distinctive sound in it's own right. The defining moment in the evolution and birth of a genre is the acknowledgment of this new form within the music world through the first recorded work in the new genre. The following contains a brief historical lineage of 8 distinctive musical genres that evolved in the American music scene. Blues, Country, Disco, Heavy Metal, Jazz, Punk, Rap, and Rock n' Roll.



 The Blues is believed to have arisen as a distillate of the African music brought over by slaves and spread during the post Civil Wars years. Field hollers, gospel music, ballads, and rhythmic dance tunes evolved into a music where singers would engage in a call-and-response with their instrument. The guitar was not widely used by the early blues musicians until about the turn of the century so the banjo was most likely the primary blues instrument. By the late 1800s the blues were being sung throughout the rural South and the term "blues" as applied to the music was in fairly common use.
  The blues form was first popularized around 1912 by the black composer W.C. Handy (1873-1958). The First Blues Song that was ever written down is believed to be "Dallas Blues", published in 1912 by Hart Wand, a white violinist from Oklahoma City. The more recognizable musical form of the blues developed around 1910 and gained popularity with the publication of Handy's "Memphis Blues" (1912) and "St. Louis Blues" (1914). While instrumental blues had been recorded as early as 1913, Mamie Smith is credited by some as having the First Recorded Blues Song entitled "Crazy Blues" in 1920, which sold a million copies. Others say the first recording of the blues was in 1895, when George W. Johnson recorded his "Laughing Song".

#1) Mamie Smith's "Crazy Blues"

George W. Johnson's "Laughing Song"

 American troops brought the blues back home with them following the First World War. During the twenties, the blues became a national craze. Records by leading blues singers like Bessie Smith and later, in the thirties, Billie Holiday, sold in the millions. The twenties also saw the blues become a musical form more widely used by jazz instrumentalists as well as blues singers.




 The term Country music began in the 1940s when the earlier term Hillbilly music was deemed politically incorrect. Immigrants to the Southern Appalachian Mountains of North America brought the music and instruments of the Old World along with them. The Irish fiddle, the German derived dulcimer, the Italian mandolin, the Spanish guitar, and the African banjo were the most common musical instruments. The interactions among musicians from different ethnic groups produced music unique to this region of North America. Appalachian string bands of the early twentieth century primarily consisted of the fiddle, guitar, and banjo. In the Southwestern United States a different mix of ethnic groups created the music that became the Western part of the term country and Western. Today country music" is used to describe many styles and sub genres.

 The First Commercial Recording of what can be considered country music was "Sallie Gooden" by fiddlist A.C. (Eck) Robertson in 1922 for Victor Records.

#1) Sallie Gooden" by A.C. (Eck) Robertson

  Vernon Dalhart was the first country singer to have a nationwide hit in May 1924 with "Wreck of the Old '97." The flip side of the record was "The Prisoner's Song" which also became very popular. In April 1924, "Aunt" Samantha Bumgarner and Eva Davis became the first female musicians to record and release country songs. Many "hillbilly" musicians, such as Cliff Carlisle, recorded blues songs throughout the decade and into the 30s. Other important early recording artists were Riley Puckett, Fiddlin' John Carson, Ernest V. Stoneman, Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers and The Skillet Lickers. The steel guitar entered country music as early as 1922, when Jimmie Tarlton met famed Hawaiian guitarist Frank Ferera on the West Coast.




 Disco or discotheque as it was originally called, hit the mainstream American pop charts disco in the early 1970's. The first article about disco was written in September 1973 by Vince Aletti for Rolling Stone Magazine, and New York City's WPIX-FM premiered as the first disco radio show in 1974.
  The first disco hits included "The Love I Lost" by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (1973), "Rock the Boat" by the Hues Corporation (1974), "T.S.O.P." by MFSB and the Three Degrees (1974), and "Rock Your Baby" by George McCrae (1974). The first #1 song on the American Disco chart on November 2, 1974 was "Never Can Say Goodbye" by Gloria Gaynor.

 While everyone seems to agree that '73 was the first real "Disco Year", some claim Manu Dibango's 1972, " Soul Makossa" to be the first disco record, but general consensus,(majority opinion), has it that the First Disco Record was "Zing, Went The Strings Of My Heart", by the Trammps . This Philadelphia band's song, was danceable, soulful, and changed The NY Club scene forever. Now they were Discos, and the number 1 song being played was Zing, Went The Strings Of My Heart.

#1) Zing, Went The Strings Of My Heart - The Trammps

Manu Dibango's 1972 Soul Makossa

 Some proto-disco or virtually-disco songs include "Theme from 'Shaft'" by Isaac Hayes (a #1 Pop hit in the USA in November 1971), the original rendition of "One Night Affair" by The O'Jays (a #68 Pop and #15 R&B hit in the USA in 1969), and Sly and the Family Stone on their hit "Dance to the Music", (April 1968), to name just a few. These songs contain elements of what became the disco sound but have notable differences. A steady 4/4 beat is the main underlying structural feature of disco.



Heavy Metal (Hard Rock)

 The first song to be considered Heavy Metal was "In A Gadda Da Vida" by Iron Butterfly in 1968. The Beatles' "Helter Skelter" could claim the title merely due to the heavy metal bands that have covered the tune. Motley Crue, Aerosmith, Ian Gillan (Deep Purple), the Zombies, Marilyn Manson, Dimension Zero, Vow Wow, and Soundgarden, to name a few, have done their own versions of it. The lead guitar, heavy bass line, strong drums, distorted instruments, and John's deranged cry at the end "I've got blisters on me fingers!" all put "Helter Skelter" within the definition of heavy metal. The first tracks of Helter Skelter were laid down on July 18, 1968, seven days before "In-A-Gada-Da-Vida" (album) was released.

#1) In A Gadda Da Vida by Iron Butterfly

 Deep Purple helped pioneer the hard rock genre with the albums Shades of Deep Purple (1968), The Book of Taliesyn (1968), and Deep Purple (1969), but they made their big break with the distinctively heavier album, In Rock (1970). Led Zeppelin's first album, Led Zeppelin (1969), and The Who's Live at Leeds (1970), are examples of music from the beginning of the hard rock genre.

Helter Skelter by The Beatles

  One of the major influences of hard rock was blues music. American and British rock bands began to modify rock and roll, adding to the standard genre harder sounds, heavier guitar riffs, energetic drumming and harsher vocals. This sound created the basis for hard rock. Early forms of hard rock can be heard in the songs "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf, (The actual term "heavy metal" did not come into existence until Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild - "heavy metal thunder" ) "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks, "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago" by The Yardbirds and "My Generation" by The Who.
  The early heavy metal bands Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, etc, began attracting larger audiences and in the mid-1970s, Judas Priest helped spur the genre's evolution by discarding much of its blues influence. Motörhead introduced a punk rock element and an increasing emphasis on speed. Bands in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal such as Iron Maiden followed in a similar vein. Before the end of the decade, heavy metal had attracted a worldwide following and has since spawned several sub-genres.




  Jazz music is actually rooted in Blues music. The first jazz music originated in New Orleans, Louisiana around the start of the 20th century. The genre was born out of a blend of African American musical styles with Western music technique and theory, jazz uses blue notes, syncopation, swing, call and response, poly-rhythms, and improvisation among its many stylistic markers.
  The Original Dixieland Jass Band (ODJB) was a New Orleans, Dixieland Jazz band that made the first jazz recordings early in 1917, their "Livery Stable Blues" became the first Recorded Jazz Single. The group composed and made the first recordings of many jazz standards, the most famous being "Tiger Rag". In late 1917 it changed the name from "Jass" to "Jazz." The band consisted of five musicians who had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a diverse and racially integrated collection of musicians who played for parades, dances, and advertising in New Orleans. The ODJB were frequently billed as the "Creators of Jazz", because they were the first band to record jazz commercially and to have hit recordings in the new genre. The appellation is accurate in that they were the first band to create successful and popular recordings of jazz. Band leader and trumpeter Nick LaRocca argued that the ODJB deserved recognition as the first band to record jazz commercially and the first band to establish jazz as a musical idiom or genre.

#1) Original Dixieland Jass Band - Livery Stable Blues (1917)

Original Dixieland Jazz Band - Tiger Rag (1917)




  Punk rock is a genre that created fast, hard-edged music, typically short songs, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. The first known use of the phrase punk rock appeared in the Chicago Tribune on March 22, 1970, attributed to Ed Sanders, cofounder of New York's anarcho-prankster band The Fugs. Sanders was quoted as describing a solo album of his as "punk rock, redneck sentimentality". Some say The Who sowed the seeds to Punk, others say that The Stooges or MC5 were the first Punk band.  By late 1976, bands such as the Ramones, in New York City, and the Sex Pistols and The Clash, in London, were recognized as the vanguard of a new musical movement.  In the early and mid-1960s, garage rock bands that came to be recognized as punk rock's progenitors began springing up in many different locations around North America. The Kingsmen, a garage band from Portland, Oregon, had a breakout hit with their 1963 cover of "Louie, Louie", cited as "punk rock's defining ur-text",('musical score'). The minimalist sound of many garage rock bands was influenced by the harder-edged wing of the British Invasion. The Kinks' hit singles of 1964, "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night", have been described as "predecessors of the whole three-chord genre.

The Kingsmen, Louie, Louie

  In 1965, The Who quickly progressed from their debut single, "I Can't Explain", to the proto-punkish "My Generation". Though it had little impact on the American charts, The Who's "My Generation" helped spawn the  rebellious posture that characterized much early British punk rock. By virtue of having the most influence on the Punk movement, the Ramones are considered the first true punk rock band. The Stooges, MC5, New York Dolls, the Dictators, the Deviants, and the Modern Lovers were definitely punk influences, as were pub rock bands like Dr. Feelgood, Eddie and the Hot Rods, Brinsley Schwarz, and The Stranglers.

The Who, My Generation, (Smothers Bros. classic TV Appearance)

 At the core of the early punk movement was Television, described by critic John Walker as "the ultimate garage band with pretensions". The band's bassist, Richard Hell, created a look with cropped, ragged hair, ripped T-shirts, and black leather jackets credited as the basis for punk rock visual style. In April 1974, Patti Smith, a friend of Hell's, came to CBGB for the first time to see the band perform.. Smith a veteran of independent theater and performance poetry, was developing an intellectual, feminist take on rock 'n' roll. On June 5, Patti Smith recorded the single "Hey Joe"/"Piss Factory", featuring Television guitarist Tom Verlaine. Released on her own Mer Records label, it heralded the scene's do it yourself (DIY) ethic and has often been cited as the First Punk Rock Record. By August, Smith and Television were gigging together at another downtown New York club, Max's Kansas City.

#1) Piss Factory, Patti Smith




 Rap music was officially born in New York dance clubs in the early 1970s when DJ Kool Herc introduced his style of “breaking” by using two copies of the same record, a sound mixer and turntables to delay and loop “breaks” in the song as long as he liked. This allowed him time to pause long enough to chant rhymes and phrases to the packed clubs.
  The first rap record was 1979's "King Tim III" by The Fatback Band which featured rapper King Tim III. The Sugarhill Gang followed the same year with "Rappers Delight", that became a national hit, reaching number 36 on the Billboard magazine popular music charts. The backing track for “Rapper’s Delight” was supplied by hired studio musicians, who replicated the basic groove of the hit song “Good Times” (1979) by the American disco group Chic. . The first rap hit by a non-black artist was Blondie's "Rapture" in 1981.
  Rapping began as a variation on the toasting found in reggae and dub music, mixed with influences from radio DJs and playing the dozens. Also of influence were the works of The Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron and Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (1965). The original rappers, or MCs would improvise lyrics spoken rhythmically over musical instruments, or a musical backdrop of sampling, scratching and mixing by DJs. Early raps were frequently merely a series of boasts, or attempts to upstage the other MCs. In 1982 Afrika Bambaataa’sPlanet Rock” became the first rap record to use synthesizers and an electronic drum machine. With this recording, rap artists began to create their own backing tracks rather than simply offering the work of others in a new context. A year later Bambaataa introduced the sampling capabilities of the emulator synthesizer on “Looking for the Perfect Beat” (1983).

#1) King Tim III (Personality Jock) - First Recorded Rap Song

Sugar Hill Gang - Rapper's Delight




 There are many candidates for the title of the First Rock and Roll Record, but whether or not any such "First Record" can be said to truly exist depends on who you ask. Rock and roll developed during the period between 1916, when the words "rockin' and rollin'" were first heard together on record, and 1956, by which time "rock and roll" had become an international musical and social phenomenon.
 In 1916 the first use of the phrase "rocking and rolling" on a record seems to have come on Little Wonder # 339, "The Camp Meeting Jubilee" by an unnamed male vocal quartet. This includes the lyrics "We've been rockin' an' rolling in your arms / Rockin' and rolling in your arms / In the arms of Moses." Here the meaning is clearly religious rather than secular.
Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" recorded on March 5, 1951 with Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm, is currently considered to be the First Rock and Roll Song, but there are other equally viable candidates.

"Strange Things Happening Everyday" by Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1944).
"Good Rockin' Tonight" by Roy Brown (1947), later covered by Wynonie Harris (1948).
"Rock the Joint" Originally by Jimmy Preston in 1949, and Bill Haley in1952.
""Rock Around The Clock", Bill Haley's (1954) cover of Sonny Dae & His Knights's 1953 song.
"That's All Right (Mama)"  Elvis Presley's (1954) cover of Arthur Crudup's 1946 song.
"Tutti Frutti" by Little Richard, (1955), which he publicly performed for years before recording.
"The Fat Man" by Fats Domino (1950).
"House of Blue Lights" by Freddie Slack (1946).
"Guitar Boogie" by Arthur Smith (first national hit with electric guitar, 1948).
"Sixty Minute Man" by the Dominoes (1951).
"Lawdy Miss Clawdy" Lloyd Price's raw R&B smash (1952).
"Hound Dog", "Big Mama" Thorton's original version (1953).

 The song "Rocket 88" was based on the 1947 song "Cadillac Boogie" by Jimmy Liggins. It was also preceded and influenced by Pete Johnson's "Rocket 88 Boogie" Parts 1 and 2, an instrumental, originally recorded for the Los Angeles-based Swing Time Records label in 1949. It was the second-biggest rhythm and blues single of 1951, reaching #1 in June for five weeks and much more influential than some other "first" claimants. Ike Turner's piano intro to the song was later used note-for-note by Little Richard in "Good Golly Miss Molly".
  A second version of "Rocket 88" was recorded by the country music group Bill Haley and the Saddlemen at a recording session on June 14, 1951, a few months after Turner recorded his version. Haley's recording was a regional hit in the northeast United States and started Haley along the musical road which led to his own impact on popular music with "Rock Around the Clock" in 1955.

#1) Rocket 88 - Sung by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats - Original Chess 78rpm Record 1951

Bill Haley - Rock Around The Clock (1956)


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