is music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humor of his country.
Elvis Aaron Presley(January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is commonly known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the “King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King“.
From Allmusic (Richie Unterberger):
Elvis Presley may be the single most important figure in American 20th century popular music. Not necessarily the best, and certainly not the most consistent. But no one could argue with the fact that he was the musician most responsible for popularizing rock & roll on an international level. Viewed in cold sales figures, his impact was phenomenal. Dozens upon dozens of international smashes from the mid-’50s to the mid-’70s, as well as the steady sales of his catalog and reissues since his death in 1977, may make him the single highest-selling performer in history.
More important from a music lover’s perspective, however, are his remarkable artistic achievements.Presley was not the very first white man to sing rhythm & blues; Bill Haley predated him in that regard, and there may have been others as well. Elvis was certainly the first, however, to assertively fuse country and blues music into the style known as rockabilly. While rockabilly arrangements were the foundations of his first (and possibly best) recordings, Presley could not have become a mainstream superstar without a much more varied palette that also incorporated pop, gospel, and even some bits of bluegrass and operatic schmaltz here and there. His ’50s recordings established the basic language of rock & roll; his explosive and sexual stage presence set standards for the music’s visual image; his vocals were incredibly powerful and versatile.
Michael Geoffrey “Mick” Jones (born 26 June 1955) is an English rock guitarist, vocalist and songwriter best known for his works with The Clash until his dismissal in 1983, then Big Audio Dynamite with Don Letts before line-up changes led to the formation of Big Audio Dynamite II and finally Big Audio. Jones plays with Carbon Silicon along with Tony James and is touring the world as part of the Gorillaz live band (which includes former Clash member Paul Simonon).
When he was 21, he and Paul Simonon were introduced to Joe Strummer by Bernie Rhodes (the self proclaimed inventor of punk rock)in a dirty squat in Shepherd’s Bush. The band practised in a disused railway warehouse in Camden and The Clash was formed. Jones played lead guitar, sang, and co-wrote songs from the band’s inception until he was fired by Strummer and Simonon in 1983. Jones’ lack of punctuality played a major role in his dismissal from the band.
For his time with The Clash, Jones, along with the rest of the band, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
In this spirit-numbing information age, we gorge on the web and on CNN, we cannot free our hands of our Blackberrys and lap-tops and cellphones, but, in the end, we know less and less … of each other … of our hearts … of our souls.
But Johnny Cash singing “I Walk The Line” or Hank sorrowing through “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” still gives us more insight in three minutes, tells us more about what matters most in our lives, than we get in an entire twenty-four-hour news cycle.
– Dana Jennings, in his magnificent book “Sing Me Back Home: Love, Death, and Country Music“
This is our first article in a series highlighting the best country songs. We start off by nominating songs from the start up till 1955. The next post will focus on songs from 1956-1965.
When we are through nominating songs.. probably around 70-80 songs.. we will pull it all together and put a list of the 20 best Country songs ever.. in JV’s humble opinion.
Our goal is to only nominate one song from each artist.. I’ve managed to do so on this first article (although it was tough only including one Hank Williams song….)
… and btw .. the songs are presented in random order…
Can The Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye), The Carter Family
Produced by Art Satherley
Written by A.P. Carter
“Daddy-O” Dewey Phillips (May 13, 1926 – September 28, 1968) was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s pioneering disk jockeys, along the lines of Cleveland’s Alan Freed, before Freed came along.
He started his radio career in 1949 on WHBQ/560 in Memphis, and was the city’s leading radio personality for nine years and was the first to simulcast his “Red, Hot & Blue” show on radio and television.