Latest update on 29/12/2014

Artist: Jimmy Liggins & His Drops Of Joy
Author: Jimmy Liggins
Label: Specialty
Year: 1947

Joe Liggins' younger and rougher brother, both westcoast rhythm 'n blues bandleaders.



Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats [as Rocket 88 n°1 R&B on Chess; should have been under the name Ike Turner & His Kings Of Rhythm feat. Jackie Brenston]


Bill Haley & The Saddlemen [idem]


Little Richard [used Ike Turner's piano intro from Rocket 88 for his Good Golly Miss Molly (see there)]


James Cotton [as Rocket 88 on Chicago/The Blues/Today Vol 2]


Juke Jumpers [idem]


Downchild Blues Band [idem]


Johnny Mars


Deluxe Blues Band


Buster Poindexter [all as Rocket 88]


Ike Turner [didn't forget the 50th birthday of Rocket 88; while the song was officially recognised as the first rock 'n roll song by Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Ike was doing time for possesion of narcotics]

Jackie Brenston admits he modelled his Rocket 88 on this Jimmy Liggins song, part of his Delta Cats' repertoire anyway (with Ike Turner on piano). Rocket 88 was sort of an update of the Cadillac Boogie. Here again it's about a brand new car: the '51 Oldsmobile Rocket Hydramatic 88. Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats is rightfully regarded as the first real rock 'n roll song. There's the wild & reckless subject, there's Ike's percussive piano touch and there's the distorted amp-sound, due to an authentic rock 'n roll story: coming from Clarksdale, MS and on their way to the studio in Memphis (Sam Phillips') this same amplifier was soaked by a downpour on top of the Delta Cats' loaded Ford 40 towncar. Sam didn't bother the distorted woofer sound, he liked it. Due to Rocket 88's success, GM gave Jackie Brenston a real Oldsmobile. That was not a good idea since the man couldn't deal with sudden wealth. Not only did he lost that Olds, he even had to sell his rights on the song to Sam Phillips (for less than $1.000), finally ending up in a Memphis gutter. There's more about the Cadillac Boogie / Rocket 88 story in Nick Tosches' book Unsung Heroes Of Rock 'n Roll (Secker & Warburg). In 1949 Pete Johnson cut a Rocket 88 for Swing Time, another tune than Jackie Brenston's but in 1981 the trigger inspiration for the name of a new band featuring Ian Stewart, Charlie Watts, Jack Bruce and all.


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