Hardrock Gunter

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Hardrock Gunter
Birth nameSidney Louie Gunter Jr.
Also known asSidney Jo Lewis
Born(1925-02-27)27 February 1925
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Died15 March 2013(2013-03-15) (aged 88)
Genres Rockabilly, western swing, rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1939–1960s
LabelsBama, Decca, King, Sun, Cross Country, Emperor, Island, Bronjo, GeeGee, Rollercoaster
Website www.hardrockgunter.com

Sidney Louie Gunter Jr. (27 February 1925 15 March 2013), known as Hardrock Gunter, was a singer, songwriter and guitarist whose music at the turn of the 1950s prefigured rock and roll and rockabilly music. [1]

Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from musical styles such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues, along with country music. While elements of what was to become rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954.

Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, dating back to the early 1950s in the United States, especially the South. As a genre it blends the sound of Western musical styles such as country with that of rhythm and blues, leading to what is considered "classic" rock and roll. Some have also described it as a blend of bluegrass with rock and roll. The term "rockabilly" itself is a portmanteau of "rock" and "hillbilly", the latter a reference to the country music that contributed strongly to the style. Other important influences on rockabilly include western swing, boogie-woogie, jump blues, and electric blues.

Contents

Biography

He was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He formed his first group, the Hoot Owl Ramblers, in his teens, and also performed a solo novelty act in talent shows. In 1939, he joined Happy Wilson's Golden River Boys, a country swing group, and acquired his nickname when a van trunk lid fell on him before a show and he never flinched. [2] After wartime service he returned to work with the group, before leaving to become their agent and starting to appear on local TV.

Birmingham, Alabama Most populous city in Alabama, United States

Birmingham is a city in the north central region of the U.S. state of Alabama. With an estimated 2018 population of 209,880, it is the most populous city in Alabama. Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County, Alabama's most populous and fifth largest county. As of 2018, the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 1,151,801, making it the most populous in Alabama and 49th-most populous in the United States. Birmingham serves as an important regional hub and is associated with the Deep South, Piedmont, and Appalachian regions of the nation.

As a popular local personality, he was approached to record by Birmingham's Bama label. He recorded his own song "Birmingham Bounce" in early 1950, the Golden River Boys being renamed the Pebbles on the record. It became a regional hit, and led to over 20 cover versions, the most successful being by Red Foley, whose version reached no.1 on the Billboard country chart and no.14 on the pop chart. [3] Gunter's original version has become regarded as a contender for the first rock and roll record, predating "Rocket 88" by a year. [2]

"Birmingham Bounce" is a 1950s song written by Hardrock Gunter. It has been recorded numerous times, the most famous version was recorded by Red Foley who made it a hit. The song was Red Foley's sixth number one on the Folk Record chart and spent a total of fifteen weeks on the chart. The B-side of Foley's "Birmingham Bounce", entitled, "Choc'late Ice Cream Cone" went to number five on the folk music charts.

Red Foley American musician

Clyde Julian Foley, known professionally as Red Foley, was an American singer, musician, and radio and TV personality who made a major contribution to the growth of country music after World War II.

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Gunter followed up with "Gonna Dance All Night", one of the first records to feature the actual words "rock'n'roll". When the Bama label folded, Gunter signed to Decca, and his 1951 duet with Roberta Lee, "Sixty Minute Man," was one of the first country records to cross over to R&B audiences. In 1953 he began working at a radio station, and also remade "Gonna Dance All Night" and recorded "Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby", both of which were issued by Sun Records and became regional hits. In 1958 he was one of the first musicians to use both echo and overdub on his recording of "Boppin' to Grandfather's Clock", released under the name Sidney Jo Lewis. [2] [4]

Decca Records US/British record label

Decca Records is a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934 by Lewis, along with American Decca's first president Jack Kapp and later American Decca president Milton Rackmil. In 1937, anticipating Nazi aggression leading to World War II, Lewis sold American Decca and the link between the UK and U.S. Decca labels was broken for several decades. The British label was renowned for its development of recording methods, while the American company developed the concept of cast albums in the musical genre. Both wings are now part of the Universal Music Group, which is owned by Vivendi, a media conglomerate headquartered in Paris, France. The US Decca label was the foundation company that evolved into UMG.

"Sixty Minute Man" is a rhythm and blues (R&B) record released in 1951 by Billy Ward and his Dominoes. It was written by Billy Ward and Rose Marks and was one of the first R&B hit records to cross over to become a hit on the pop charts. It is regarded as one of the most important of the recordings that helped generate and shape rock and roll.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as American folk music and blues.

He continued to record with limited success, and in the 1960s left the music business to develop a career in insurance, based in Colorado. He retired to Rio Rancho, New Mexico. In 1995 he began to perform again at festivals in England, Germany and the United States. He died in 2013, from complications of pneumonia, [5] at the age of 88. [2]

Pneumonia Infection of the lungs

Pneumonia is an inflammatory condition of the lung affecting primarily the small air sacs known as alveoli. Typically symptoms include some combination of productive or dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Severity is variable.

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References

  1. Huey, Steve. "Biography: Hardrock Gunter". AMG . Retrieved 15 May 2010.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Matthew Loukes, Obituary, "The Guardian", 28 March 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013
  3. Joel Whitburn, Top Country Singles 1944-1993, Record Research Inc., 1994, p.120
  4. Hardrock Gunter discography. Retrieved 29 March 2013
  5. Hardrock Gunter home page. Retrieved 29 March 2013
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