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Rose Maddox Sings and Swings as Rockabilly Original in the 1940s

Wednesday, September 16: 11:18 a.m.

history of rockabilly music rose maddox sings

The California music scene took off during World War II when it became the home of some of the most prominent western swing bands, including Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys and Spade Cooley and his Orchestra. They played primarily to an Okie audience — men and women who had migrated from the southern plains to work in the wartime production plants in places like Los Angeles and San Diego.

A large number of those wartime workers were women, dancing to the music of Bob Wills and Spade Cooley. So how did female musicians really stake a claim in this scene? Enter Rose Maddox.

Rose Maddox, the lead singer of the Maddox Brothers and Rose, developed a unique singing style — a belting voice that could be heard in the raucous roadhouses and dancehalls of California. Her resonating chest voice clearly projected over the din of dancing, drinking and socializing. Patrons had to take notice.

The Maddoxes were part of the Okie migration, leaving the depressed South for California in the 1930s. They worked as farmhands in the Central Valley until they formed the band The Maddox Brothers and Rose in the late 1930s. They came to the forefront of California’s ...

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Video: Interview with Ronnie Hawkins

Tuesday, January 15: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins' backstage interview with the Rock Hall

For more than half a century, Ronnie Hawkins – known variously as "Mr. Dynamo," "Sir Ronnie," "Rompin' Ronnie" and "The Hawk" – has been energizing crowds with his signature rockabilly swagger. Born in Huntsville, Arkansas, in January 1935, Hawkins would find his way to the Grange club in Hamilton, Ontario, on the recommendation of Conway Twitty. He never left, adopting Canada as his own and becoming a permanent resident in 1964. 

In addition to hits that included "Hey, Bo Diddley," "Marylou" and his cheeky cover of Chuck Berry's "30 Days" (renamed "Forty Days"), Hawkins gained recognition for recruiting and grooming outstanding Canadian talent to play in his band, the Hawks. The rotating cast of musicians over the years included Robbie Robertson, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Rick Danko and Arkansan drummer Levon Helm – the quintet that would leave the Hawks to back Bob Dylan before striking out on their own as the Band. Other incarnations of the Hawks included the members of Janis Joplin's Full Tilt Boogie Band, and another Ronnie Lane and the Disciples. John Lennon and Yoko Ono traveled to Hawkins' Ontario farm to plan a festival during the couple's peace crusade. In 1992, Hawkins was hired to ...

continue Categories: American Music Masters, Exclusive Interviews

Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll: "That's All Right"

Monday, January 7: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Elvis Presley's That's All Right is one of the Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 would have been Elvis Presley's 78th birthday. Presley was among the first ever inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, an honor befitting his standing as the undisputed King of Rock and Roll. Presely rose from humble beginnings to launch a musical revolution, helping guide the trajectory of the rock and roll genre for deacades. But is "That's All Right" where the legend of Elvis began? What's certain is that "That's All Right" was Elvis Presley's first commercially released recording. He had previously made two private recordings, whose four songs give absolutely no hint of what was to come. Neither did two additional songs Presley tried before "That's All Right" during a faithful July 5, 1954, recording session. That Presley was recording at all is a tribute to Sam Phillips. Phillips' Memphis Recording Service was where Presley had cut his private acetate records and where he would sometimes hang out, trying to find an opening in the music business. Phillips contacted Presley after receiving a song demo he thought might suit the shy teenager. It didn't, but Phillips persevered. He called for the July 5 ...

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Video: Elvis Presley Exhibit at the Rock Hall

Monday, January 7: 4 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Elvis Presley's "King of Spades" jumpsuit is among the items in the Rock Hall's Elvis exhibit

In 1974, Elvis Presley returned to his adopted hometown and the city that gave him his start: Memphis, Tennessee. More than two decades after his first recordings at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service, Presley performed five sold-out shows, the fifth and last of which was recorded and released as Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis by RCA. In this video, curatorial director Howard Kramer shares the stories behind some of the artifacts in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Elvis Presley exhibit in Cleveland, Ohio, including the "King of Spades" jumpsuit Presley wore and the handwritten setlist he penned for that memorable performance.

To learn more, visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on Tuesday, January 8, 2013 – what would've been Elvis Presley's 78th birthday – when curatorial director Howard Kramer will lead a special "Gallery Talk," sharing stories behind some of the rare Presley artifacts on exhibit at the Museum. Click here for more info!

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Video: Interview with Rosie Flores

Friday, January 4: 10 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Award-winning "Girl of the Century," "Working Girl with Guitar" Rosie Flores interviewed backstage

While in Cleveland to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's 17th annual American Music Masters tribute to Chuck Berry, Rosie Flores talked backstage about her first introduction to the guitar and the artists who've influenced her as a guitarist and songwriter. Flores, a fixture in the Austin, Texas music scene who helped reintroduce rockabilly pioneers Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin on her aptly titled 1995 album Rockabilly Filly and released Working Girls Guitar in 2012, shares how various Rock Hall inductees – from Chuck Berry to Jeff Beck – and other artists influenced her playing and songwriting.

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Sharing the Charts: Pop, R&B and Rock and Roll's Meteoric Rise

Tuesday, May 1: 11 a.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Little Richard

When the May 12, 1956 issue of Billboard magazine hit newsstands, its pages cataloged a monumental shift in the charts. The issue reported the chart positions for the week ending May 2, 1956, with the usual suspects of the era holding steady positions in the Top 10 of the pop charts: Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and the Platters, among them. More telling, however, was the fact that each of those five artists also had singles in the Top 10 of the R&B charts. The chart positions reflected greater sociological movements in the United States, to wit the burgeoning civil rights movement, and an emerging respect for African American culture and identity as being truly American, but there would be a backlash. 

Presley had signed with RCA Victor in 1956, and his first release under his new label was "Heartbreak Hotel." Producer Steve Sholes had worked to recapture the "Sun sound" for "Heartbreak," enlisting guitarist Scotty Moore, bassist Bill Black, drummer DJ Fontana, guitarist Chet Atkins, pianist Floyd Kramer and three members of the Jordanaires on backing vocals. On May 2, 1956, the song was at Number One on the Billboard pop ...

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Women Who Rock: 10 Essential Punk Songs

Monday, January 30: 5 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Siouxsie Sioux

Many women found a new voice and musical identity during the punk-rock explosion of the Seventies. The anti-establishment philosophy of the punk rock movement was the perfect fit for those female musicians who still felt like outsiders in the male-dominated music industry. Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth said, “I think women are natural anarchists, because you're always operating in a male framework.” Patti Smith paved the way at legendary punk venue CBGB in New York City with her fusion of experimental poetry and garage rock. British female punk rockers, such as the Slits, Raincoats, Siouxsie and the Banshees and X-Ray Spex responded to working-class discontent and racial division in Britain. Across the Atlantic, in the United States, musicians including Deborah Harry of Blondie, Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads and Poison Ivy of the Cramps added new sounds and ideas to the punk rock formula. “That was the beauty of the punk thing: [sexual] discrimination didn’t exist in that scene,” once noted Chrissie Hynde. Here the Rock Hall presents Women Who Rock: 10 Essential Punk Songs. 

1. Patti Smith – "Piss Factory"

Patti Smith was dubbed the "godmother of punk," a moniker with merit. Smith's debut single was ...

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An Evening With Rosie Flores and "the Female Elvis"

Tuesday, January 24: 1 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Janis Martin

Dubbed "the female Elvis," Virginia native Janis Martin's sobriquet alone fostered great expectations for the young performer in the 1950s. As the fusion of R&B and country evolved into rockabilly, and a charge of primarily male artists heralded its arrival, she was a rarity – though her musicianship, charismatic stage persona and a series of memorable recordings meant the annals of history would not dismiss her as a novelty. 

A precocious performer reared in a family of musicians, Martin's earliest experiences singing and playing guitar came before she reached her teens. Although initially drawn to country music, Martin's exposure to R&B in the Fifties proved captivating, and the resulting genre-blending sound she cultivated was enough to pique the interest of RCA/Victor, who signed her when she was 15 years old. "Victor, having taken the gamble with Presley and emerged a winner, has now come up with the 'Female Elvis Presley.' This lass is Janis Martin, and her first disk, 'Will You, Willyum' is already getting sales action in all fields," noted the May 12, 1956 issue of Billboard. From roughly 1956 through 1960, Martin recorded and released numerous cuts – from the suitably rocking original ...

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