If we look up the name of the first Rock band, we find Bill Haley and the Comets. Google might be a mighty force, but in this case it seems to be mistaken.
I was reading a book on the origins of the drum kit and the first trace of a bass drum pedal can be attributed to a nineteenth century Rock band. From England! The British invasion of the 1800’s.
Do I have your attention now? Good!
Here are a few more details. A man in the 1830’s (Yes, 1830, no typo there, I didn’t mean to write 1930) had taken to collect rock. He eventually assembled them to make a formidable instrument, a sort of massive Xylophone covering 5 and a half octaves. He had taken such care to create it that it was very musical. Apparently, those stones could produce a good sound. Only problem: the beast couldn’t be played by one man only. All righty then, he trained his two sons to play with him and developed an act to be performed and toured all over Europe. They must have been really good because they even played for the Queen of England. The crowned lady liked it so much, she ask them to come back twice! That act required the rock instrument but also included other strange apparatus to make music. Those were created by a man named Cornelius Ward (I love the name, that’s the name of a mad scientist). Among those creations was a foot pedal to strike the bass drum which was made in the 1840s. Cornelius Ward the wizard had made something magical!
Who were the people who created the first rock band? What was their name? The Richardsons.
I love this story. Even if that bass drum pedal is a one off and was not developed to be played by every band. Even if the title of my blog has a play on the word “Rock”. It doesn’t matter. It brightened my Sunday.
Here’s a picture of the xylophone made of rock. I apologize, I couldn’t find a picture of the bass drum pedal Cornelius made.