Rock & Roll Pioneer Hardrock Gunter

Who made the first rock and roll record? It is a debate that will no doubt never end. However, in their book ‘What Was The First Rock ‘n’ Roll Record?’, Jim Dawson and Steve Propes argue that Hardrock Gunter’s ‘Birmingham Bounce’ released on Bama Records in 1950 was one of the first true rock and roll records.

On Friday, March 15th, Hardrock passed away from complications from pneumonia. He was aged 88.

Hardrock Gunter was not the first artist to use the term rock and roll in a song –it had been a slang term for having sex and certainly found its way into a few songs in that context. But Hardrock was the first ever to use it as referring to music.

Recorded in1950, ‘Birmingham Bounce’ mentions rock and roll in a musical context for the very first time. If that isn’t enough to cement Hardrock’s claim to be an originator of Rock and Roll, his follow-up release, also issued in 1950, was ‘Gonna Rock and Roll) Gonna Dance All Night’. Take a look at these two short interviews with Hardrock and for his full life story click here to read Big Al Turner’s biography of Sidney Louie Gunter.


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