The Australian press confronts early rock and roll


  • Peter Doyle



rock and roll, music journalism, moral panics


This article provides an overview and distillation of trends and themes evident in press writings of the 1950s which dealt contemporaneously with the emergence of rock and roll music in Australia. About fifty explicit references are given, selected from a much larger sampling of tabloid and broadsheet newspapers, magazines, 'serious' journals and paperback non-fiction of the period.


Acheson, M ( 1951) 'Editorial', Tempo, August

Adair, R (1960a) 'The Rock Diggers', Man, January

__ (1960b) 'Rock in the Dock', Man, February

__ (1960c) 'What Makes Johnny Run?', Man, April

__ ( l960d) 'Pounding the Rock', Man, August

Barker, A ( 1959) 'Knocking the Rock', Nation 2619

Bisset, A (1979, rev. 1987) Black Root~. White Flowers: a History ofJazz in Australia, Sydney: ABC Enterprises

Christy, T ( 1957) 'A Teenager Reviews Little Richard for Tempo', Tempo, September/October

Clare, J and Brennan, G (1995) Bodgie Dada and the Cult of Cool, Sydney: University of New South Wales Press

Durbin, W ( 1956a) 'Hot Records', Tempo, May

__ (1956b) 'Hot Records', Tempo, July

Gillett, C ( 1983) The Sound of The City: The Rise of Rock and Roll, London: Souvenir Press

Gordon, L ( 1959) 'They're Gassers, Dad', Man, October

Harris, M (1960) "Cats' Own World', Nation 13/8

Hart, G ( 1955) 'Record Reviews', Music Maker, June

__ (1956) 'Record Reviews', Music Maker, July

__ (1957) 'Haley Show Rocked Young Fans', Music Maker, February

__ (1958) 'Record Reviews', Music Maker, January

Hebdige, D ( 1978) Subculture: the meaning of style, Methuen: London.

Higham, C (1960) 'Every Little Breeze', Nation 914

__ (1961a) Teen Beat, Sydney: Horwitz

__ ( 1961 b) Big Beat, Sydney: Horwitz

Homan, S (1999) 'The Mayor's a Square: A Regulatory History of Sydney Rock Venues 1957-1997', (unpublished PhD thesis, Macquarie University, Sydney)

Howard, J ( 1959) 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On', Nation !OliO

Hull, J (1960) "Fans' Forum', Music Maker, September

James, D ( 1955) 'Rock'n'roll to have big spot on concert', Music Maker, October

__ (1956) 'Hoodlum element is barred', Music Maker, June

Loufer, J ( 1957) 'Record Reviews', Music Maker, November

Malone, B ( 1985) Country Music, U.S.A., Austin: University of Texas Press

Melly, G ( 1971) Revolt Into Style, London: Pan

Morthland, J ( 1984) The Best of Country Music, New York: Doubleday Dolphin

Oram, J ( 1961) The Business of Pop, Sydney: Horwitz

Packard, V ( !962) The Hidden Persuaders, London: Penguin

Peterson, R ( 1990) 'Why 1955? Explaining the advent of rock music', Popular Music v9n I

Rayment, J ( 1956) 'Quieter crowd at swing show', Music Maker, September

__ ( 1957) 'Adelaide Newsletter', Music Maker, November

Rigney, T ( 1955a) 'Smashing Success by Harlem Blackbirds', Music Maker, October

__ (1955b) 'Norvo 'gasses' local musicians', Music Maker, December

Rogers, B with O'Brien, D (1975) Rock 'n 'Roll Australia: the Australian Pop Scene, 1954-1964, Sydney: Cassell

South, M (1959a) 'Teenage Revolution', Man, August

__ (1959b) 'Gold Plated Tonsils',Man, November

Stratton, J ( 1992) The Young Ones: Working Class Culture, Consumption and the Category of Youth, Perth: Black Swan Press

Sturma, M ( 991) Australian Rock 'n 'Roll: The First Wave, Sydney: Kangaroo Press

Tosches, N ( 1991) Unsung Heroes of Rock 'n 'roll: the Birth of Rock in the Wild Years Before Elvis, London: Seeker and Warburg

unattributed ( 1952a) 'Hill Billy Recordings', Tempo, November

unattributed ( 1952b) (untitled) Tempo, November

unattributed ( 1953) 'Records from all over the world', Tempo, February

unattributed (1955a) 'Musical Entrepreneur Bill McColl Introduces Rock'n'roll', Music Maker, August

unattributed ( 1955b) 'Rock'n'roll is here now', Sun Herald 28/8

unattributed (1956a) 'Huge run on rock discs', Sun Herald 3019

unattributed (1956b) 'Rock'n'Roll: What It Was, Is- And Where It's Going', Sydney Morning Herald 1/10

unattributed (1956c) 'In the Groove', The Bulletin 3/10

unattributed (1956d) 'Commercial Records', Tempo, January

unattributed (1956e) 'Commercial Records', Tempo, April

unattributed (1956f) 'Commercial Records', Tempo, August

unattributed ( 1956h) 'Record Reviews', Music Maker, August

unattributed ( 1956i) 'The hoodlums are at it again!', Music Maker, January

unattributed ( 1956j) 'American girls are going wild over new singer Elvis Presley', Music Maker, April

unattributed ( 1956k) 'Elvis Presley will make just a bare million dollars this year', Music Maker, December

unattributed ( 1957a) 'Pandemonium over strip singer', Sydney Morning Herald 5110

unattributed (1957b) 'Stadium really rocked', Truth 13110

unattributed ( 1957c) (untitled) Newcastle Herald 3110

unattributed ( 1957d) (untitled) Tempo and Television, January

unattributed ( 1957e) 'Popular Records- Rock 'n 'roll', Tempo and Television, February

unattributed ( 1957f) 'Popular Records- Rock 'n 'roll', Tempo and Television, March

unattributed ( 1957g) 'Bill Haley's Comets take Great Britain by storm', Music Maker, March

unattributed ( 1957h) '-But Calypso's the coming beat', Music Maker, March

unattributed ( 1957i) 'Meet Pat Boone, a singer with high principles', Music Maker, March

unattributed (1959) 'Rock paves the way for America's traditional music, says Lomax', Music Maker, May



How to Cite

Doyle, P. (2015). FLYING SAUCER ROCK AND ROLL: The Australian press confronts early rock and roll. Perfect Beat, 4(3), 24–47.