Rockabilly music is truly one of the best genres of all time. If there was ever a style of music that was inherently American, Rockabilly is that. This style of music combines all that is good about classic country music (and no I do not mean the kind of pop-country that is popular now) and everything that’s good about rock music.
This music is steeped in American tradition and is characteristic of a time where pompadours where the most popular hairstyle and women tied up their hair in bandanas.
Here is a list of the best Rockabilly musicians of the past and some more current bands who are taking this fantastic musical tradition and bringing into the 21st century.
1. Elvis Presley
This man is perhaps one of the best Rockabilly artists of all time if not perhaps one of the best musicians of all time.
It is very difficult to do this man justice when it comes to putting his career into words. But this guy is responsible for some of the greatest hits and memorable songs in America’s music history. He even has an entire amusement park dedicated to his legacy.
2. Buddy Holly
If Elvis was the hottest, coolest musician on the scene, Buddy Holly was a hole lot dorkier. Even with his goofy glasses to pair with his nerdy appearance, his still managed to rock.
His music was a little less gritty than some of his fellow rockabilly musicians. His music definitely was a whole lot more poppy than most. He capitalized on catchy melodies and like Elvis he produced music that got a lot of people on their feet dancing. He definitely carries some country influence in his music but you can also hear a lot of do—op influences in his music.
3. JD McPherson
This is a more current band! Their second album Let the Good Times Roll sounds like the title of a rockabilly album right?
Their tracks are musically tight. The guitar and drums are manned by very talented musicians and their melodies definitely harken back to the tradition of rockabilly. Their lyrics also harken back to the tradition in that there are dramatic comparisons made and a whole lot of rhyming and talk of “turning the radio up”.
Their video for head over heels is shot in a grainy, yellowy filter in the middle of a roller rink. I mean common how rockabilly can you get?
4. Whitney Morgan
In effort to bring the focus onto new bands this is another more contemporary band. They play a very dark, outlaw sounding type of rockabilly.
While influenced by rock the country influence is a bit more palpable. The lead singer sings with a palpable twang and sounds very much like a black hat cowboy.
5. Charlie Thompson
If you are into the very twangy side of country then this guy is for you. He looks more like a rockabilly of yesteryear and definitely sounds much more like a musician from the ‘50s than anything else. So if you want to hear a younger man appreciate and revitalize an old tradition I would give this youngster a listen.
Check out these songs from the best rockabilly artists!