WHERE DID ROCK ’N’ ROLL, the name coined in the 1950s to describe rhythm and blues–derived music, originate? Some say that Memphis, Tennessee, the home of Sam Phillips's Sun Studios and the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll,” Elvis Presley, was the cradle of the music.1 Others vouch for Cleveland, where deejay Alan Freed popularized the term “rock ’n’ roll” and organized groundbreaking traveling shows of musical stars.2 Maybe New Orleans, the home of boogie-woogie pianist Fats Domino; Macon, Georgia, the city that produced Little Richard, the self-proclaimed “Architect of Rock ’n’ Roll”; or the area surrounding Ferriday in eastern Louisiana, the hometown of “The Killer,” Jerry Lee Lewis deserve the credit for cultivating the music.3 Some go further back into history and look at the rural back roads of the southern states to find the music's roots.4 Yet, surely, few places could compete with 1950s Chicago...

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