Major Antedating of "Rock and Roll"

Fred Shapiro fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sat Jul 6 10:57:54 UTC 2002

The earliest citation in the OED for "rock and roll" as a type of music is
dated 25 Dec. 1954; this citation was contributed by me.  A few years ago
I sent an antedating from early December 1954 to the OED.

Now I have found a much earlier citation, establishing that music from the
"race"/rhythm and blues milieu was called "rock and roll" substantially
before Alan Freed popularized the term in the early 1950s:

1946 _Billboard_ 22 June 33  JOE LIGGINS AND HIS HONEYDRIPPERS ... _Sugar
Lump_ [title of album being reviewed] ... It's right rhythmic rock and
roll music that provides plenty of inspiration in Joe Liggins's "Sugar
Lump." ... Backside builds on an infectious bouncy beat.

Fred Shapiro

Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
  and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
Yale Law School                             forthcoming
e-mail: fred.shapiro at     

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