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Jackie Brenston – Rocket 88 – 1951

About The Song

“Rocket 88” is a groundbreaking rhythm and blues song by Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, released in 1951. Often credited as one of the earliest rock and roll recordings, the song is characterized by its driving beat, distorted guitar sound, and energetic vocals. “Rocket 88” is considered a pivotal moment in the evolution of rock music.

5 Facts about Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket 88” (1951):

  1. First Rock and Roll Song: “Rocket 88” is frequently regarded as one of the first rock and roll recordings. The song’s upbeat tempo, distorted guitar riffs, and energetic performance by Jackie Brenston set the stage for the emergence of the rock genre in the 1950s.
  2. Sun Records and Sam Phillips: Recorded at Sun Records in Memphis, “Rocket 88” is closely associated with producer Sam Phillips. The song is recognized for its use of a heavily distorted guitar, a result of the amplifier being damaged during transportation to the recording session. This unintentional distortion contributed to the song’s unique and influential sound.
  3. Band Members and Ike Turner’s Contribution: Although credited to Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, the band included Ike Turner on piano, who is believed to have played a significant role in shaping the song. Ike Turner’s piano work and the overall musical arrangement contributed to the infectious energy of “Rocket 88.”
  4. Celebration of the Oldsmobile 88: The lyrics of “Rocket 88” celebrate the virtues of the Oldsmobile 88 automobile. The song describes the car’s speed and features, attributing its power to the “Rocket” engine. This theme of celebrating cars and speed became a recurring motif in rock and roll music.
  5. Chart Success: “Rocket 88” was a commercial success, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues Records chart. The song’s popularity established Jackie Brenston as a notable figure in early rhythm and blues and rock and roll, leaving an indelible mark on the trajectory of popular music.



You women have heard of jalopies
You’ve heard the noise they make
But let me introduce my new Rocket ’88
Yes, it’s straight, 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, baby, blow

Step in my Rocket and don’t be late
Baby, we’re pullin’ out about a half-past eight
Goin’ ’round the corner and get a beer
Everybody in my car is gonna take a little nip
Move on out, oozin’ and cruisin’ along