Originally created 06/03/04

Rock rolls on

It's difficult to determine when the rock revolution began. Was it when blues pioneer Robert Johnson went down to the crossroads? Was it when a handful of country artists began giving their twangy tales of heartbreak a big, bass backbeat?

It's hard to say. For many, the moment Bill Haley and his Comets hit No. 1 on the pop charts with Rock Around the Clock, an unabashedly rocking record, seems a safe starting point.

That makes rock 'n' roll exactly 50 years old.

So, in honor of rock's golden anniversary, The Augusta Chronicle has assembled a panel of artists and experts to come up with a list of the 50 most significant moments in rock history.

Here they are:

1949 Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats release Rocket 88, widely considered to be the first rock record.1950s

1950 Sun Records opens in Memphis, Tenn.

1950 Leo Fender introduces the Broadcaster, the solid-body electric guitar later known as the Telecaster.1952 Les Paul develops overdubbing technology, changing the way music, and rock in particular, is recorded.

1952 American Bandstand airs for the first time.

1954 Rock Around the Clock becomes the first No. 1 single of the rock era.

1955 Disc jockey Alan Freed coins the term rock 'n' roll.

1955 Chuck Berry releases Maybellene.

1956 Elvis Presley plays The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

1958 Elvis Presley is inducted into the Army.

1959 Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper die in a plane crash.

1961 Phil Spector begins recording under the Pilles Records banner and starts constructing his famous Wall of Sound.

1961 Berry Gordy starts Motown Records.

1962 Beach Boys release major label debut - Surfin' Safari

1963 James Brown records Live at the Apollo.

1964 The Beatles play The Ed Sullivan Show.

1965 Bob Dylan goes electric at the Newport Folk Festival.

1967 The Monterey Pop Festival introduces the Who, Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding to American audiences.

1967 Rolling Stone magazine publishes its first issue.

1967 The Beatles release Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

1967 Jimi Hendrix releases Are You Experienced?

1969 Woodstock1969 The Rolling Stones play a free show at Altamont Speedway, where a fan is stabbed by a member of the Hell's Angels, hired to provide concert security.

1970 Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin die within six months of each other.

1970 Underground dance parties featuring a mix of R&B, funk and European dance music crop up in New York - the birth of disco.

1970 The Beatles break up.

1971 Led Zeppelin releases Led Zeppelin IV, prompting a generation of young guitar hopefuls to learn the opening riff from Stairway to Heaven.

1973 Pink Floyd releases Dark Side of the Moon. The album would stay on the Billboard album chart for 741 weeks.

1977 The Sex Pistols release Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols and introduce punk rock to the masses.

1977 Elvis Presley dies in Memphis, Tenn.

1977 Southern rock pioneers Lynyrd Skynyrd are involved in a small plane crash. Band front man Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines are killed.

1978 Sony introduces the Walkman.

1979 Eleven fans are crushed to death at a Who concert in Cincinnati.

1979 The Sugarhill Gang releases Rappers Delight and lays the groundwork for the hip-hop movement.

1980 John Lennon is killed outside his apartment building in New York City.

1980 The compact disc is invented.

1981 MTV begins broadcasting.

1982 Michael Jackson releases Thriller.

1983 R.E.M. releases Murmur and drops the green flag on the era of alternative rock.

1984 The Motown 25 special airs, and Michael Jackson introduces the moonwalk.

1985 Live Aid.

1985 Parents Music Resource Center hearings in Washington, D.C.

1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is established.

1986 Aerosmith and Run DMC bring the worlds of rock and rap together, recording a version of Aerosmith's Walk This Way.

1988 Public Enemy releases It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back.

1991 Nirvana releases Nevermind.

1991 Jane's Addiction front man Perry Farrell establishes the first Lollapalooza festival.

1994 Kurt Cobain commits suicide.

1995 Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia dies.

1999 Napster created


Here are the local experts that participated in our 50 moments list:

Johnny Hensley: Founder of Johnny Hensley and the Red Hots

Personal rock moment: Hearing Little Richard perform Lucille on the jukebox at the old Martinez Teen Town.

Keith Jenkins: Guitarist in James Brown's band and the Patrick Blanchard Band

Personal rock moments: Purchasing first LP - Van Halen's 1984; getting first guitar; discovering James Brown; meeting him; all that followed.

Joe Stevenson: Musician, host of Homegrown radio show

Personal rock moment: Being turned on to college rock in 1985 by my oldest sister, who attended UGA. This opened my eyes to the great college rock bands such as R.E.M., White Animals and Hoodoo Gurus. The whole pre-Widespread Panic Athens scene was all that mattered as far as I was concerned.

John "Stoney" Cannon: Lokal Loudness publisher/proprietor

Personal rock moment: It's a dead heat between his first concert - KISS in 1977 - and being able to revisit that memory when the original lineup reunited and toured in the mid-1990s.

Coco Rubio: Owner, The Soul BarPersonal rock moment: I met James Brown and told him, "Thanks for the music." He smiled and said something - I still don't know what he said.

Steven Uhles: Arts and entertainment writer, The Augusta Chronicle

Personal rock moment: I was probably 14 or 15 when I went to a party at the home of a now-forgotten schoolmate. A kid named Colin Smith, who had one of those infamous cool older sisters in Athens, brought a Ramones 45 - Blitzkrieg Bop - and completely blew my mind. I never listened to the Eagles again.


What's your personal rock moment? Send a brief description of the rock 'n' roll moment that impacted your life to

Steven Uhles
The Augusta Chronicle
P.O. Box 1928
Augusta, GA 30903-1928.

Send e-mail to steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com. Deadline is 6 p.m. Friday. We'll share your responses in the June 10 Applause.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com


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