"Good Rocking Tonight
" was originally a jump blues
song released in 1947 by its writer, Roy Brown
Nick Tosches, Country: The Twisted Roots of Rock 'n' Roll
(Da Capo Press, 1996), . and was covered by many other recording artists. The song includes the memorable refrain, "Well I heard the news, there's good rocking tonight!"
Brown had first offered his song to Wynonie Harris
, who turned it down. Only after the Brown's record gained traction in New Orleans
did Harris decide to cover it. Harris's version was even more energetic than Brown's original version, featuring black gospel
style handclapping. This may have contributed to the composition's greater success on the national R&B chart. Brown's original recording hit number 13 of the Billboard
R&B chart, but Harris' record became a number one R&B hit and remained on the chart for half a year. Brown's single would re-enter the chart in 1949, peaking at #11.
Harris had a reputation for carousing, and sometimes forgot lyrics. His "Good Rockin'" recording session largely followed Brown's original lyrics, but by the end, he replaced the last section with a series of raucous "hoy hoy hoy!" interjections, a commonly used expression in jump blues tunes of the time, going back to 1945's "The Honeydripper
" by Joe Liggins
The song is a primer of sorts on the popular black music of the era, making lyrical... Read More