Boy do I disagree.Johnny be Good is also a swing beat, but it might be the the most classic R&R song of all time.
I agree about the different feels, but the drumming on JbeG is not straight eighth notes. It is more like the N.O. in between feel. You see the same thing in jump blues bands. Some swing smooth and others are more raw, with the in between feel. And we are talking about drummers here not guitar player or singers or piano players who eventually pulled the drummers to eighth notes.Boy do I disagree.
True, back in the 1950's and 1960's there was sometimes some overlap between swing and rock, and every now and then a beat would be somewhere in between them. Early recordings of "Johnny B. Goode" fell into this in between territory, but no way is Chuck Berry's iconic guitar riffs or vocal delivery swing. I don't hear triplets, the hallmark of swing, but rather quarter notes, eighth notes, and 16th notes--the straight 4 of rock rather than the loose feel of swing. Moreover, over time "Johnny B. Goode" came to be played by even Berry's drummers with more of a rock feel, and that's the way I always played it. Here is a later recording of the song that to my mind is definitely rock:
For comparison purposes, here is the song played swing:
Actually, the swing version isn't very swingy, so to speak, because the guitar riffs and vocal delivery aren't really swing, though the drummer does play more of a swing beat than is usual for that song. Even then, I wouldn't call his beat flat-out swing, though it's closer to swing than rock and I gather the whole point is to play the song with more of a swing feel than usual.
A reasonable rule of thumb is to ask what the drummer's bass drum is doing. If it's playing quarter notes on every beat, the song is positioned for swing. The bass drum part on rock songs will usually be some variation of 1 and 3, not straight quarter notes. Unfortunately, Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock 'n' Roll" blew this rule out of the water with a drummer playing straight quarter notes on the bass drum in a rock song (something that always puzzled me because I didn't consider that beat old time rock at all). Then by the 1980's, or maybe before with disco, there were a lot of rockish songs with bass drums playing all the quarter notes. However, the drummers were still playing 8th notes on the ride rather than triplets and otherwise playing the songs rock.
I dunno, but just listen to "Rock Around the Clock" and compare it to "Johnny B. Goode." The vocals in the first are clearly swing, either the triplets or the doted 8th notes followed by a 16th note (depending on how you want to write it) while the vocals in "Johnny B. Goode" are clearly rock. The songs just have different feels.
I just read your friend's articles, and although he makes a good case for Wildwood as an important birthplace of rock 'n' roll and includes a lot of interesting historical details, I can't find a coherent definition of the musical genre that distinguishes it from other genres. Your friend seems to believe that he can distinguish rock 'n' roll from other musical genres, and repeatedly contrasts it with R&B especially, but doesn't tell the reader what criteria he uses to make these distinctions.Well as it happens, a friend of mine just wrote two articles about this very topic! They're worth reading - lots of great history on the background of the band, the song and the birth of rock and roll.
Part one: https://pleasekillme.com/rock-roll-wildwood-new-jersey/
Part two: https://pleasekillme.com/wildwood-part-2/
How would you describe the difference between a shuffle and a swing beat? I'm genuinely curious. I played in a band for awhile in which the guys would sometimes refer to a song as a shuffle, but that's the only place I've ever heard the term and I thought it might be a regional dialect. I understood what they meant, though, and guess would myself describe a shuffle as a swing that doesn't swing a whole lot.Re: Rock vs. Swing - I think Mongrel is half right and half wrong. It IS attitude, but its also a beat. That driving backbeat.
The closest swing comes to that is the triplet beat, but it never brings it completely home. It pushes and pulses, but it doesn't have the same drive that Rock'n'Roll has.
With Rock around the clock, you have a transitional piece, in that the drums help drive the rhythm with the backbeat, but its not brought completely home. I have to admit its one of the oddest Rock'n'Roll songs to play, from a drummers perspective and I still have trouble with getting it exactly correct....but maybe it shouldn't be.
Anyway, its a good analogy for the whole decade. Those infantile days of the new genre. As someone else here stated earlier, there were none before them to follow. They were making it up as they went but they helped lay down the ground work for the rest of us to build on.
If you ever want to study pop music, by decade, the 50's were a fascinating time to study. Most of us here do not know a world where Rock'n'Roll, and all the varients that followed, did not exist, so we sometimes find it difficult to figure out what, to us, has long been pigeon-holed as a certain and definate "thing", in its embryonic form. Its kinda there, but not what we're used to. Still, its Rock'n'Roll.
Dick Boccelli may not be the exact drummer we try to cop from the recording, and he may not have been the only drummer Bill Haley played with, with The Comets, but he was lucky enough to have gotten in on the ground foor and play with the one of the most remarkable bands of its era.
RIP Dick. You did good.
Re: Johnny B. Goode - Sometimes its easy to confuse a shuffle for a swing beat. Sometimes, either can apply. I've always played it as a shuffle. Works for me and everyone I've played with.