Major Antedating of "Rock and Roll"

Paul Kusinitz kkmetron at COX.NET
Sat Jul 6 17:43:48 UTC 2002

As unlikely as it seems, in 1983 I came across an ad in The Providence Journal, 1937 or 1938,
for a live show featuring Jack Benny (among other stars) and "Rock and Roll!"  It's time for
me to go back to the newspaper archives since my asseveration raises too many eyebrows!

Paul Kusinitz
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Fred Shapiro 
  Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 3:57 AM
  Subject: Major Antedating of "Rock and Roll"

  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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