Interview: Greg Bittick
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An Interview w/ RocknRoll History Dilettante,
Greg Bittick



Q. 1 -- Was it Blues, or Country music which had the biggest influence on early Rock-n-roll?
GB -- I think blues music had the greatest influence on early ock 'n' roll, at least in the beginning. Later on, we saw a lot of country-western, hillbilly or "rockabilly" become influential throughout the rest of the 50's.
Q. 2 -- Where did the term 'Rock-n-Roll' originate in reference to this particular genre of music?
GB --There have been many theories about how R&R got it's name. A common one is that Alan Freed came up with the name and, of course, there were sexual connotations and innuendos that some say led to the term.
Q. 3 -- Which has proven the most influential of the 'one-hit wonder' records throughout rocknroll history?
GB -- I can't think of any one "one hit wonder" record that was the most influential and timeless. There have been many important ones, in my opinion."Incense and Peppermints" represented the psychedelic era of the late 60's, as did "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida" and many other songs. "Eve of Destruction" was an important protest song and "MacArthur Park" stands out for several reasons, including it's length, it's grand orchestral arrangement and the fact that it was probably the biggest hit by an actor/singer wannabe.
Q. 4 -- Who is in your opinion the most under-rated and under-appreciated rocknroller in history to date?
GB -- Don McLean comes to mind as being under-rated and under-appreciated. He's an extremely talented singer-songwriter who could never top the commercial success, anyway, of his masterpiece, "American Pie."
Q. 5 -- Of all the rocknroll performers who have met untimely demise, who among them do you think we'd still be hearing the most from?
GB -- Of the deceased rock 'n' rollers, Buddy Holly probably would have matured as a producer, as well as an artist. I think Elvis might have gone on to have the staying power of Sinatra had he lived and gotten off the various substances.
Q. 6 -- Who in your opinion is the REAL Father [or Mother] of rocknroll?
GB -- It's hard to say who could be called the real father or mother of R&R. I think several would be worthy of the honor: Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Carl Perkins and Elvis, just to name a few. Also, record company owners and producers like Sam Phillips (Sun), Leonard Chess, Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler (Atlantic and Atco) and songwriters such as Goffin & King, Lieber & Stoller and Pomus & Shuman were very important in the 50's and early 60's.
Q. 7 -- Were/Are the British 'better' at doing rocknroll than the Americans?
GB -- The British were not necessarily better at R&R, but maybe 'grittier' would be a better term. They tended to cut through to the basics, without trying to be commercial. What you saw or heard was what you got.
Q. 8 -- Who in your opinion were the greatest of the Canadian rocknroll bands or performers?
GB -- There have been some good Canadian bands, but I think the Guess Who would have to be considered the best and definitely the mosy successful. And, of course, Bachman-Turner Overdrive derived from them as well. There also have been a good many solo Canadian artiss who have made it big in the USA and worldwide, such as Paul Anka, Gordon Lightfoot and Anne Murray, just to name three.
Q. 9 -- What was the very first rocknroll record you ever heard?
GB -- I can't remember any one specific R&R song as being the first I ever heard, but it was probably one of my older brother's 45 RPM singles from the early 60's. I remember him joining a record club (probably Columbia House or it's forerunner) and getting records by Bobby Vee, Chubby Checker and others. I began listening to the radio alot when I was in the sixth and seventh grades ('63 - '64), so that's the time I remember really becoming aware of R&R. My interest and love of it only continued to grow as the decade went by. And, I'm still hooked on it today in the year 2000!
(c) 2000 Bittick/Hill

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