Smith & Weiland surveyors and engineers, Clarksdale.
Newson Center, Clarksdale, Mississippi

Home » Uncategorized » Song 2 Day: Rocket 88 (rock n’ roll happens here too) Song 2 Day: Rocket 88 (rock n’ roll happens here too)

Jackie Brenston.

Jackie Brenston.

Today’s song from Clarksdale, Mississippi, the birthplace of the blues and rock n’ roll.

Celebrating Jackie Brenston on his birthday, he was born here in Clarksdale in 1930. “Rocket 88” was written by Jackie and Ike Turner.  It was recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis in 1951.  It was released by Chess Records, and they credited it to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, but it was actually Ike Turner and the Kings of Rhythm.

“Rocket 88” hit No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart. Many consider it to be the first rock and roll record (“Rock Awhile” by Goree Carter in Texas and “Saturday Night Fish Fry by Louis Jordan in New Orleans were both released in 1949 are two other “first” rock and roll songs).

Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner.

Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner.

In 2018, “Rocket 88” was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Singles.  It was the 3rd top jukebox song of 1951, 9th in record sales, and reached No. 1 on June 9, 1951.  Ike Turner’s piano intro to it was later copied by Little Richard for “Good Golly Miss Molly.”

Another important outcome from “Rocket 88” is it crossed over into the white teenage audience.  Many bought the record, and that was noticed by Sam Phillips.  This contributed to his background as an up and coming record producer.  He came to believe that a white boy who could sing like a black performer could work, and it was only 2 years after “Rocket 88” that the young Elvis Presley walked through his Memphis Recording Service door (Elvis’ 1st record, “That’s All Right” was written by Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup, who spent two decades in Clarksdale as a blues and gospel singer, and his 5th record, “Mystery Train” was written by Clarksdale’s Junior Parker.)

Since “Rocket 88” was written and rehearsed here in Clarksdale, it is one example of the baby that the blues had called rock and roll happened here too.

“Rocket 88”
by Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner

The Jackie Brenston sign after being placed on Clarksdale's historic Issaquena Ave. (photo by Richard Bolen).

The Jackie Brenston sign after being placed on Clarksdale’s historic Issaquena Ave.

You may have heard of jalopies
You’ve heard the noise they make
But let me introduce you to my Rocket ’88
Yes it’s great, just won’t wait
Everybody likes my Rocket ’88
Baby we’ll ride in style
Movin’ all along
V-8 motor and this modern design
Black convertible top and the gals don’t mind
Sportin’ with me, ridin’ all around town for joy
Blow your horn, Raymond blow your horn
Step in my Rocket and don’t be late
Baby we’re pullin’ out about a half-past-eight
Goin’ on the corner and havin’ some fun
Everybody in my car is going to take a little nip
Ooh, goin’ out
Oozin’ and cruisin’ along

Daily Updates

Straight to your inbox – never miss a thing!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.