History of Rock and Roll- covers Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and early elvis as focal points

Essay by geniebeansUniversity, Master'sA, October 2006

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Jimmie Rodgers is fondly remembered as the "father of country music" but his unique combination of hillbilly and blues styles makes him the antecedent of rock and roll. He was born in Mississipi in 1897 and died from tuberculosis in 1933 at the age of 29. He grew up poor and worked alongside his dad in a railroad construction crew since he was 14. From a young age he always loved the stage and dreamt of performing. He ran away once and joined a traveling group of musicians. There he got his first taste of the spotlight, however that quickly ended when his father tracked him down and took him back home. His father gave him an ultimatum to either go to school or work at the tracks. He chose to work at the tracks. There he was influenced greatly by the blues sung by the black railroad working crew he worked alongside with.

He worked there til he was 24. He was forced to quit because he had contracted tuberculosis most likely from the working under filthy conditions at the tracks. Around then the Great Depression had also hit and he turned to music to try to escape a difficult life.

He wrote songs mostly about himself that were sentimental in nature reflecting his own take on family and love, or "rounders", the lives of the homeless drifters, or about the railroad and its workers. The difference between him and many other country singers is that Rodgers brought a inimitable vocal quality that was potent and memorable. His Yodeling was surprisingly intricate in tone and quickly recognizable. Honky Tonk country music is directly influenced by his singing style.

In Bristol, Tenessee, in 1927, Rodgers answers an advertisement from Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company to audition as...