Top Ten "Fathers" of Rock & Roll

Rock and Roll had it's beginnings in the 50s. There were many who could be considered to be the "Fathers of Rock and Roll".
The Top Ten
1 Chuck Berry Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. He died on 18 March 2017.

His first single and also first hit " Maybellene " on Chess Records in 1955 was an adaption of the country-fiddle song " Ida Red " wich was recorded in 1938 by Bill Wills and his Texas playboys. His guitar playing was influenced by T-Bone Walker. Not much originality so far. He is one of the pioneers of Rock and Roll without a doubt and don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of him but in my opinion too overrated to be number one. When Elvis Presley recorded on Sun Records in 1954 he really invented a new sound and style ( Rockabilly ) that didn't exist before him. It was not called Rockabilly yet in 1954 ( Some called it Catmusic, Hillbilly Bop etc... ) but this was the raw primitive form of Rock and Roll. The real mix between black Rhythm and Blues and white Hillbilly Boogie and Western Swing. I think that Elvis Presley should be number one for that matter.

2 Elvis Presley Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the "King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined... read more

When Elvis recorded his SUN sessions he really invented a new style. When you listen to this records it has the ability to make you forget all others, to banish the gentrified pop that came in its wake, as well the raggle-taggle Blues that came before it. This records are one of those things that just can't be argued with, a pop-cultural milestone of huge importance. Elvis was the major teen breaktrough, the universal hero, a symbol of teenage rebellion. In this way, without even trying, he became one of the people who have radically affected the way that people live and think. This was new, fresh, nervous cutting music, it exploded all over the place. But above all, it was the sexiest thing that anyone had ever heard or seen. Elvis is really the trigger of Rock and Roll and therefore rightfully proclaimed as the King of Rock and Roll.

3 Buddy Holly Buddy Holly, born Charles Hardin Holley (September 7, 1936 – February 3, 1959) was an American musician and singer-songwriter who was a central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll. He was a rising star when a tragic plane crash struck him down at age 22... read more

Buddy Holly was definitely the "Father of Rock and Roll". He was a huge influence on many musicians around the world, and had a lasting effect on music. Not to mention, he was a brilliant singer who didn't need any vocal enhancing and tricks that so many musicians these days use to make themselves sound better. Buddy wrote all of his own songs, sang his own music with no vocal enhancing tricks, and was an amazing talent by playing lead guitar, while the Crickets provided the background vocals and music. If anyone should be considered the Father of Rock and Roll, in my eyes at least, it definitely has to be Buddy Holly!

4 Roy Orbison Roy Kelton Orbison, professionally known as Roy Orbison, nicknamed Big O, was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and musician, mostly known for his complex voice and for hits such as, "Oh, Pretty Woman".

The originator of the rock ballad. Wrote most of his own material. Elvis said Roy had the greatest voice in the world, and Elvis was the king so... Listen to Roy on you tube and you'll see why.

He actually recorded many upbeat Rockabilly while at Sun-records. Later on he focused more on ballads and pop.

5 Little Richard Richard Wayne Penniman, known by his stage name, Little Richard, was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He is widely regarded to be one of the most influential rock musicians of all time.

I was there to hear Little Richard and Chuck Barry. Chuck Barry got all the press. The true Father of Rock and Roll is Little Richard

Preceeded Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, & Elvis in breaking out into rock & roll. Big influence on John Lennon.

So different so cool so original. Heard his religious album shows how versitile the guy really is.

6 Bill Haley

Bill Haley and the Comets were the best and first Rock and Roll band with their hit Rock Around the Clock in 1953 and it was the theme song used in the movie Blackboard Jungle. Crazy Man Crazy was another hit and Shake Rattle and Roll sold a million copies in 1954. I still remember his great performance at Festival Hall Brisbane, Queensland in 1957.

As a former Comet I say Bill Haley is the one that brought R&R to mainstream of American Life. The others mentioned here mostly rode his coat tails into the mainstream of acceptance..

7 Jerry Lee Lewis Jerry Lee Lewis (1935 - 2022) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, and pianist, often known by his nickname, The Killer. He has been described as "rock and roll's first great wild man." A pioneer of rock and roll and rockabilly music, Lewis made his first recordings in 1956 at Sun Records in... read more

Jerry Lee Lewis is playing on Beale St. Memphis on New Years Eve. That's Jerry Lee Lewis in Memphis, New Years Eve 2017. Only 125 tickets are available. 125! The killer has been playing up and down the Mississipi since the late '40's. He is the undisputed King of Rock n Roll. This is not a commercial! It's just an insane phenomenon!

The Killer himself proclaimed he played the Devil's music. And hell was he good at pumping' that piano!

He once lit his piano on fire. If we're talkin' the rock 'n' roll attitude, Jerry Lee is where that comes from.

8 Robert Johnson Robert Leroy Johnson was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians... read more

Everybody knows that Rock and Roll is a mixture of black music and white music born in the early fifties. If you put every black blues singer on this list, you also will be able to say that every black blues singer contributed to Rock and Roll. Robert Johnson? Unique and very talented but it's really the electric blues and Rhythm and Blues that was the inspiration for Rock and Roll and not the acoustic Blues. Real " black " fathers of Rock and Roll are, Arthur " big boy " Crudup, Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Little Walter, Roy Brown, Arthur Gunter, Junior Parker, Big Joe Turner etc...Fathers of Rock and Roll that were white, Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Hardrock Gunter, Rose Maddox, Tommy Scott etc... My point is that if you go back in time to see where Rock and Roll did get its influences, you have to put some limits because otherwise you can say that a Tam-Tam in Africa and a folk-fiddle in Europe are the roots of Rock and Roll. Like I said, Robert Johnson was part of the Blues movement ( and he certainly was a big influence in Blues music itself ) but with or without him ( he didn't invented Blues! Let's be clear on that! ) it's for sure that the mixture of black and white music would still have happened.

9 Big Joe Turner

To Belt 'Em Out, like the Stones, that began in the Nightclubs & Taverns of Kansas City When Big Joe (the Rock) and his pianist
'Pete Johnson' (the Roll) needed to compete with cross-town likes of a Count Basie or a Lester Young and all the others there at the time. Beginning about 1930, the two collaborated twenty years. Two of my favorite hits preformed by Big Joe are Boogie Woogie Country Girl --- Flip Flop and Fly.

Big Joe Turner in KC was the first with "Shake, Rattle and Roll". Then across the State of Missouri Chuck Barry came along as the second Rock and Roller. THen the rest of the nation followed in Missouri's footsteps.

10 Johnny Cash John R. "Johnny" Cash (1932-2003) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author, who was widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. He died of... read more

Johnny Cash was the first to have a song voted in Rock and roll hall of fame and country music hall of fame - Ring of fire won both seats in the mid 60's!

He was mainly country! I don't know he belongs here!

The Contenders
11 Bo Diddley Ellas McDaniel, known as Bo Diddley, was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter and music producer who played a key role in the transition from the blues to rock and roll.

Dr. Bo Diddley took Chicago blues and gave it a rock and roll beat. When the Beatles landed in NYC they asked, Is there a chance we can see Bo Diddley?

He trained them all, by teaching them his new lick. He even built a special guitar to produce that special sound.

12 Eddie Cochran Edward Raymond "Eddie" Cochran (October 3, 1938 – April 17, 1960) was an American musician. Rock and roll pioneer, he was only 21 years old when he died in a car crash... read more

Eddie Cochran was a real rocker of the fifties, a rebellious type of James Dean figure, sexual arrogance, but most of all his music and lyrics are still being adopted by contemporary standards. It is that of the teenage rebel conveyed in its most direct form. He expresses frustration at the impositions of the older generation, parents and employers in particular, the excitement of adolescent sex, the arrogance of a new found confidence contrasted with the uncertain tenderness of " real love " experienced for the first time. He sang all this matters with " genuine " expression. And all these expressions of excitement, uncertain feelings, frustrations, anger, tenderness etc... can be heard in his music, in his way he played the guitar, the way he sang. He had a big following in the U.K. and while on tour over there during the year 1960, he died in a car crash. One of the greatest rockers of the fifties was gone. Luckely he left us his amazing music and always will be remembered.

13 Fats Domino Antoine "Fats" Domino, Jr. was a French Creole pianist and singer-songwriter. He released five gold records before 1955 and had 35 hit records in the U.S. Top 40. He died on October 25, 2017.

Can't believe he's not in the Top Ten list! His earliest recordings, going back to 1949, are very much rock and roll before it was a recognized genre. From the period 1955-1962, he was second only to Elvis Presley in record sales.

14 Gene Vincent Vincent Eugene Craddock, known as Gene Vincent, was an American musician who pioneered the styles of rock and roll and rockabilly.

Had one of the greatest rock & roll songs of all itme. Be Pop a Lulu

15 Jimi Hendrix Jimi Hendrix (born November 27, 1942 - September 18, 1970) was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most... read more

He is the best rock&roller in the world and he is my idol. I don't think this world will ever forget the name "JIMI HENDRIX".

He is by far the greatest guitarist of all time. He literally invented rock.

I can't stop pooping, actually I gotta go. I gotta poop right now!

16 Ritchie Valens Richard Steven Valenzuela (May 13, 1941 – February 3, 1959), known as Ritchie Valens, was an American singer, songwriter and guitarist. A rock and roll pioneer and a forefather of the Chicano rock movement, Valens' recording career lasted eight months, as it abruptly ended when he died (aged 17) in... read more

That's a hard and risky statement to do. Ritchie Valens was without a doubt talented but without Elvis Presley he wouldn't even have existed as a Rock and Roll singer. His first single came out in 1958 when he was seventeen. Elvis Presley had already made four movies and was getting drafted into the army in 1958. It's obvious that he was inspired by Elvis, so saying that he is the real King of Rock and that he would be have better than Elvis Presley is really making an overstatement.

17 Muddy Waters McKinley Morganfield, known by his stage name Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician who is often cited as the "father of modern Chicago blues".

Its funny because all of the white people forget that Rock n' Roll was considered race music (Black, Urban) and was created by African-Americans ONLY. Just like Jazz and Blues before it. Not one of the white artist named above had anything to do with the creation of the artform. Yes, they helped popularize it because the music gatekeepers hand picked the faces of white artist that they thought would be marketable and provided TONS of resources not afforded to Black artist of that time. History will not be re-written to make these people bigger than they are. The artist listed above stole or barrowed their entire style from the "TRUE" forefathers. SMH, these forums disgust me.

Muddy Waters is a Chicago Blues legend and helped influence the first Rock n' Rollers.

18 Alan Freed

Alan Freed coined the term "Rock 'n' Roll," and people who say that Chuck Berry did it are incorrect. Chuck Berry began his career after the first "Rock 'n' Roll" song was released in 1951 by Jackie Brenston, named "Rocket 88." Chuck Berry's first hit, "Maybellene," was released in 1955.

Bill Haley and His Comets made "Rock 'n' Roll" popular with "Rock Around the Clock." Elvis was the king, but he was not the first to sing "Rock 'n' Roll." Buddy Holly was one of the world's most talented artists, but his career started in 1956. Buddy Holly was the father of "Rock Music," not "Rock 'n' Roll" music.

In my opinion, Jackie Brenston was the first to sing "Rock 'n' Roll," but he didn't have good hits. The first "Rock 'n' Roll" hit was "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley and His Comets. I give credit to Alan Freed because he was the one who had the power to create a whole new music term. None of the "Rock 'n' Roll" singers we know today would have known "Rock 'n' Roll" if it were not for him.

Jackie Brenston heard what Freed was doing and made a song. Later, in 1953, Elvis, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and others came and made that kind of music too. So, in my opinion, Alan Freed deserves credit for coining the term "Rock 'n' Roll."

19 Ray Charles Ray Charles Robinson, professionally known as Ray Charles, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer.
20 The Beatles The Beatles were an English pop rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The members consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. They were soon known as the foremost and most influential act of rock era. Rooted in skiffle, beat, and 1950s rock and roll, the Beatles later... read more

It's stunning to me when some naive gen z folks fail to recognize how original The Beatles were. This band set a new standard for rock that kicked off 30 yrs of what is now called: "classic rock". They were the first of a revolutionary musical generation. No other band, or musician (ALL original music) has influenced our culture the way The Beatles did.

We're talking about the Fathers of Rock and Roll here on this list. Meaning the instigators of Rock and Roll. The Beatles were in their early years no more than a " cover " band of Rock and Roll ( and in my opinion a not that good coverband ). They really don't belong here!

21 Ike Turner Izear Luster "Ike" Turner, Jr. was an American musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, talent scout, and record producer.

A huge jerk, but he made the very first rock and roll record "Rocket 88", long before he met Tina.

22 Jim Morrison James Douglas "Jim" Morrison was an American singer, songwriter, and poet best remembered as the lead singer of the Doors.
23 Jared Leto Jared Joseph Leto is an American actor, singer-songwriter, and director. He is well known for being the lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars.

There is no contest. He is the best

24 Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury (born Farrokh Bulsara, 5th September 1946 - 24th November 1991) was a Zanzibari-born British singer of Indian descent, songwriter and record producer, known as the lead vocalist and songwriter of the British rock band Queen. He also became known for his flamboyant stage persona and four-octave... read more

Excuse me? Why isn't this amazing man here?

25 Bob Dylan Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author, and artist who has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades.
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