2001 marked the Golden Anniversary of a GOLD Record from an Era when Fifty-thousand 45’s was a BIG Seller. That 500K-selling single cut the edge of a new style before deejay Alan Freed named it: ROCK & ROLL. Sam Phillips, Sun Studios founder, tagged that Billboard #1 R&B Smash as the very first Rock & Roll Recording. Every hell-raiser, hip-shaker, and hit-maker owes a nod to that teenager recognized by Rock historians as the Father of Rock & Roll.
That Billboard bullet, Rocket 88, was penned by a 19-year old boogie-woogie boy and his back-up band, The Kings of Rhythm, for their first Sun Studios session in March 1951. B.B. King introduced the kid to Phillips, but he did not have a song - yet. So, on that rainy ride up Highway 61 to Memphis with their gear strapped on top, inspiration and lightening struck. The first muscle car - a highway cruiser - the hot, new, Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was the subject and title of that historic #1 Hit. His lead vocalist, Jackie Brensten, and his side band, The Delta Cats, were mistakenly credited with the song by Chess Records, who released it. But those that know Rock history know The Kings of Rhythm were the real rockers toiling in the shadows of their own success. That kid is referred to by Little Richard as The Man. B.B. King proudly echoes, He’s the best band leader I‘ve ever seen. The kid who became The Man is Ike Turner.
[Turner] proved he’s one of the greatest bluesmen this nation has produced. --Letta Tayler, NY Newsday
Clearly inspired, he switched from roadhouse keyboard to scorch guitar as the mood struck. --Billy Altman, Sonicnet
[Turner’s] rollicking piano and guitar playing erase[d] doubts about his past. --Ann Powers, New York Times