rocksteady (1967), reggae (1968)

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Fri Jan 28 11:14:24 UTC 2005

On Fri, 28 Jan 2005 05:55:24 -0500, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:

>* rocksteady, n. (OED2 1969)
>1967 _Daily Gleaner_ (Kingston, Jamaica) 4 Mar. 6/7 (advt.) Tonite it's
>"rock steady" night at the Ocean View Club ... Dance to the soul "rock
>steady" beat of the Virtues.
>1967 _Daily Gleaner_ (Kingston, Jamaica) 18 Jun. 8/5 This column is no
>place to debate who "originated" the rock steady rhythm and probably, like
>many musical phenomena, it actually evolved out of several different
>circumstances. However, Hopeton Lewis personally wrote and sang several of
>the most popular of the rock steady hits.

And Leonard Feather wrote about it early on in the LA Times:

1967 _Los Angeles Times_ 2 Jul. (Calendar) 6/3 Organized 10 years ago, the
unit [sc. Byron Lee's Dragonaires] ... is currently dedicated to the
propagation of a new gimmick, something called Rock Steady. Like most
short-lived crazes of this kind, the term refers both to a musical beat
(part Latin, part R&B) and a dance that matches it.

--Ben Zimmer

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