Whole Lotta Shakin'

In an era when America was tuning into Patti Page and Mitch Miller, rockabilly was a bold, young upstart, like Marlon Brando in the movie The Wild One. Whole Lotta Shakin' is a 10-hour series exploring rockabilly – the brash, fast-paced 1950's mix of blues, gospel, jazz, country and popular music that is a foundation of rock and roll. Hosted by Rosie Flores, and produced by award-winning Lex Gillespie, the series visits the cradle of rockabilly, Memphis and profiles the stars of the genre, including Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Buddy Holly. It also presents the music's female stars and explores the rockabilly sounds of California. You'll hear the stories of many of the period's best-loved songs, from "Rave On" to "I Walk the Line." (Airs 9 am to 5 pm  and 7 to 9 pm.)

  • 9-10 am: Good Rockin' Tonight The first stop is Memphis in the segregated 1950's, where blues, gospel and country music came together to create the upbeat sounds of rockabilly. Features Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Sun Records.
  • 10-11 am: Get Rhythm Johnny Cash tells the stories behind some of his best loved songs: "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Walk the Line" and "Ring of Fire." Cash had an intense love for gospel, country music and the blues, the foundation of rockabilly.
  • 11 am-Noon: Fujiyama Mamas Showcases the women rockabilly artists who rebelled against the traditional female roles of housewives and mothers during the '50s. Features Cordell Jackson, Brenda Lee; Janis Martin aka The Female Elvis; and rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson.
  • Noon-1pm: Rebels with Guitars Features The Burnette Brothers, Johnny and Dorsey, who pursued careers in the boxing ring before taking up music; guitarist Link Wray, pioneer of the power chord, whose leather-clad motorcycle gang look was every parent's nightmare; plus Gene Vincent, who had a big hit with "Be-Bop-A-Lula."
  • 1-2pm: The Cradle of the Stars The story of the rise and fall of the influential radio program, The Louisiana Hayride, that made so many artists famous, it was dubbed "the cradle of the stars." It reached coast to coast, and launched Hank Williams.
  • 2-3pm: Real Wild Child Jerry Lee Lewis grew up praising the Lord and playing piano in the Pentecostal Church in Louisiana, known for its ecstatic services where worshipers who feel the Holy Ghost "speak in tongues." The story of one of Lewis' most celebrated songs, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," which launched his career in 1957.
  • 3-4 pm: Shake This Shack Texas rockabilly artists mixed Western swing, the blues and jazz, and included Sid King & the Five Strings and Lew Williams. We also profile Roy Orbison, one of the most enigmatic of the rockabilly cats, who came from the tiny, wind-swept oil town of Wink, Texas.
  • 4-5pm Rockin' Bones  Explores some of the lesser-known rockabilly artists, who often had one hit song then disappeared from the scene. It tells the story of the national hit "Suzie Q," and  Joe Clay, who was rediscovered in Europe in the 80s.

Continues after All Things Considered at 7pm.