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“R” is for Rock Music

“R” is for Rock Music. South Carolina has been the birthplace of numerous rock music pioneers and nationally and internationally known acts. In the 1920s, the Dixie Hummingbirds were among the African American gospel groups that influenced early rhythm and blues performers. Bill Pinckney and the Drifters pioneered the “doo-wop” style that would later be called “beach music.” Chubby Checker introduced the nation to “the twist.” However, the Carolinians with the greatest influence on popular music since the 1950s was James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul.” Joe Bennett and the Sparkletones were the first white rock and roll artists from South Carolina to attain national prominence. The most successful South Carolina-based rock act in terms of both sales and Grammy Awards, to emerge in the latter part of the 20th century, was Hootie and the Blowfish.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.