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Burns said blues wasn't the only music using the term then, citing big band greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Benny Goodman who used it in their music, as well as famous gospel singers like Sister Rosetta Tharp, who sang re-written lyrics to popular church songs so the phrase could be included.
"Even country artists were using the term in a new form of music that sounded like an early form of rockabilly," he said. "Buddy Jones was an early popular singer in the genre with his song ‘Rockin' Rollin' Mama.'"
Using the term alone isn't enough to give a song the title of being the first rock ‘n' roll record, Burns explained.
"Too often rock ‘n' roll is described as the coming together of blues and country, but that's too simplistic," he said. "Rock ‘n' roll is a much more complex music that draws from six forms of music, three dominant and three sub-dominants."
He lists the dominant forms of music as blues for the basic chord progressions, country for stringed instruments becoming dominant and major melody lines and what was then termed "white pop" and "tin pan alley" style music for the concept of dance and hit song writing. The sub-dominant forms of music, Burns said, are jazz for a boogie-woogie beat, gospel for the vocal influence and folk for the influence of social concern.