Song Lyric Sunday: “Rocket 88”

Jim’s prompt for today is "Automobile, Car, Jalopy, Vehicle," suggested by Melanie B Cee. I picked a song that many believe was the first rock & roll record.

"Rocket 88" was credited to "Jackie Brenston & His Delta Rhythm Cats," who were actually Ike Turner & His Kings of Rhythm. Brenston was Ike’s saxophone player and is listed as the author of the song; he said it wasn’t particularly original, that it was basically Jimmy Liggins’s "Cadillac Boogie" from a few years earlier. The record came out in April 1951 and by June it had reached the top of Billboard‘s Best-Selling R&B Records chart, and by the end of June it had reached the top of the Most Played Juke Box R&B Records chart.

The "Rocket 88" was a car manufactured by Oldsmobile. A number of Oldsmobiles were issued under the "88" banner. The last of the 88’s was the Delta 88, which was made up until 1999.

The lyrics, from Genius:

You women have heard of jalopies
You’ve heard the noise they make
But let me re-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

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday (and Song of the Day) for July 25, 2021.

26 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: “Rocket 88”

  1. Fun song and I like the sound. Those cars back then were really cool. I loved all the different designs of the older cars, not like those today which seem all the same shape. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know… they were kind of round and bulgy, but still looked great. A lot of them had two-tone paint jobs and vents up by the engine. And the insides were great, too…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow! I had no idea he played piano. I should’ve guessed. I think of him as her manager instead a musician in his own right. Definitely a great song.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun fact: on the way to Sun Studios/Memphis Recording Services to make this record, Ike and the band were in a car accident. Ike’s amp had been tied to the roof, but it flew off and the canvas covering the sound hole was destroyed. At the studio, Ike stuffed it full of newspaper as a damper … and wound up creating a whole new guitar sound in the process. The amp is in Sun’s museum; I’ve seen it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. While of course it would be impossible to identify what the first rock and roll song actually was- I like ‘Rocket 88’ being called the start- recorded at Sam Phillips -Memphis Recording Service- the Mecca of Rock and Roll.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rock owes a lot to R&B and country, and there was some crossover between those two, particularly later. If it was going to happen, Sam Phillips was going to be involved…

      Liked by 2 people

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