The Aged P

…just toasting and ruminating….

That’s What I Call Rock and Roll – The House of the Rising Sun (Animals) 1964

When rock n’roll first hit Britain in the mid 50s it was a purely American phenomenon. We bought the records and argued Presley v Haley in the school corridors but, in general, the media ignored it and the BBC put it on ration.

We could just about tune in to Radio Luxembourg and AFN and hear the latest hits through fades and whistles but that was it.
British record companies tried to market home grown rock n’rollers but they were pale imitations of the US originals and their bands were often made up of older session men who despised the genre.

However in late 1955 Rock Island Line, a skiffle song by the British jazz musician/singer Lonnie Donegan became a massive UK hit without any marketing hype. For a year or two Donegan and other UK skifflers cashed in on the novelty but the true significance of the trend could only be seen at a deeper level.

the main impact of skiffle was as a grassroots amateur movement, particularly popular among working class males, who could cheaply buy, improvise or build their own instruments and who have been seen as reacting against the drab austerity of post-war Britain.

Soon many of these youngsters developed into competent self taught guitarists. They became tired of skiffle’s formulaic structure and saved up to buy electric guitars and extended their repertoire to include covers of American rock n’roll. By the early 60s there was a thriving UK locally based band scene.

At the same time in the wake of the payola scandals in the late 50s the US record companies began pushing teen idols like Frankie Avalon and Fabian who presented a less rebellious, cleaner and more romantic image. The consequence was, when American teenagers tastes began to shift back towards a rawer rougher edged sound British groups like the Beatles and Rolling Stones spearheaded the British invasion, often sounding more authentic than equivalent American bands.

For true grit, however, nothing has ever beaten Eric Burdon and the Animals “House of the Rising Sun” Their version of this old American folk song, recorded in May 1964 hit the top of the US charts in September of that year and it remains a rock classic to this day.

posted by david in Music and have Comments Off on That’s What I Call Rock and Roll – The House of the Rising Sun (Animals) 1964

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