It was the mid-1950s and there seemed to be a lot to be thankful for, including the end of the Korean War and a brand new president named Ike whom everyone seemed to like.
Industry seemed to be steadily picking up, and the music itself seemed to make a dramatic turnaround from quartet singing groups, many balladeers and bands.
That change came in July 1954 as Bill Haley and his Comets lit the world on fire with his rendition of "Shake, Rattle and Roll." This is where, I believe, real rock and roll got started.
The phrase "rock and roll" was earlier initiated by Cleveland DJ Alan Freed. The song itself was recorded earlier by Big Joe Turner.
But when Haley hit the scene with his screaming sax player, drums, piano and guitars, plus his vocals, I believe it was truly the birth of rock and roll.
Lyrics like "Get out from that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans / Well roll my breakfast 'cause I'm a hungry man," and a chorus like "I said shake, rattle and roll" exploded.
Haley's group was categorized as being way out, and with his last name, it is no wonder they became the Comets.
Several singers sang that song, including Elvis, but it was the Comets who were most identified with it. Haley became much more famous with other songs like "Rock Around the Clock" (which was used as the theme song for the movie "Blackboard Jungle") and "See You Later, Alligator."
Haley was made visible with his signature cowlick billowing down on his forehead and those plaid dinner jackets worn by the whole band amidst their raw energy bursts.
Other future rock and roll stars were observing Haley's music and moves. Words like "cool" - which is still so much in use - and "daddy-o" were taking hold.
Another future star, Chuck Berry, who was a hairdresser in St. Louis, just wanted to make a little extra money and thought of joining a blues combo. He recorded "Maybellene," and his career skyrocketed immediately.
Pat Boone became a household name, along with Little Richard, and other unknowns like Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino and the Everly Brothers.
There was also a very young kid from Texas, just patiently waiting for his turn, when it happened big time. His name was Buddy Holly.
Another young high school kid from Memphis wanted to make his fortune as a truck driver, but instead his magic voice, rhythm and swiveling hips changed his thoughts quickly and he became the King of Rock and Roll. We all know him as Elvis Presley.
Singers kept coming, like the great Roy Orbison, Rick Nelson, Brenda Lee, the Beach Boys, the Sherelles, the Four Seasons, the Drifters, Jan and Dean, the Skyliners and so many more.
Then the early '60s came and along came the Beatles from Liverpool, England, and most regular rock and roll artists just stood back and watched as this group really took over.
The disc jockeys were so valuable to all of those early artists and played their latest hits on radio. We were quite fortunate in our Valley to have had the very best DJs.
With the onset of rock and roll, WHOT in Youngstown came up with a group of DJs known as the Good Guys, who are still remembered fondly. Those names were Dick Thompson, Boots Bell, Johnny Kay, Jerry Starr, George Barry and Barney Pipp. Thompson and Kay are in the Ohio Broadcaster's Hall of Fame.
So rock and roll has come a long, long way since a wild band with plaid coats and their leader sporting a cowlick first sang "Shake, Rattle and Roll."