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Doles Dickens and The Whispers

The January 23 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featured this ad:

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I’m not sure why the ad cropped Mr. Dickens’ head so that it looks disembodied – that just looks weird.

Doles Dickens (1916-1972) was a jazz musician and bandleader based mostly in New York. When not touring, he was a session musician for many famous recording artists of the 1950s, including Bill Haley, Mahalia Jackson, and LaVern Baker.

YouTube includes a few songs of his, including Rock And Roll (1949), which is a cover of an earlier version by Wild Bill Moore. Some people consider this to be the first rock and roll song ever – I think that the evolution was too gradual to name one song as the first, but Moore’s version reminds me a lot of early Bill Haley and the Comets.

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