The Legends of the Rocking Dutchman - episode 197

The history of boogie-woogie

Today the history of a left-hand piano rhythm that slowly conquered African-American music and Rock 'n Roll - the boogie-woogie. It originated in Eastern Texas, probably in the 1870s, but we even start fifty years before that, with a piano sonata of Beethoven that bears a remarkable resemblance to the boogie-woogie.

The early history of boogie-woogie is hardly documented but we do know that it originated in the African-American culture. We will never know if the musical genius that first pounded out the typical musical figures, will ever have heard that sonata of Beethoven - or played it himself from a piece of sheet music. Maybe not the most likely scenario but definitely not impossible.

The first boogie woogie sheet music and recordings come from the mid-twenties. From there, we will go to the boogie-woogie craze of the late thirties and early forties, and make a step into Rock 'n Roll. This definitely is a show you should not miss.



  1. Friedrich Gulda - Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111 (fragment)
  2. Louisiana Five - Weary Blues
  3. Jimmy Blythe - Chicago Stomps
  4. Jimmy Blythe - Mr. Freddie Blues
  5. Pinetop Smith - Pinetop's Boogie Woogie
  6. Pinetop Smith - Jump Steady Blues
  7. Meade Lux Lewis - Honkey Tonk Train Blues
  8. Jimmy Yancey - Beezum Blues
  9. Jimmy Yancey - The Fives
  10. Meade Lux Lewis - Bear Cat Crawl
  11. Joe Turner & Pete Johnson - Roll 'Em Pete
  12. Albert Ammons - Shout For Joy
  13. Will Bradley - Beat me daddy eight to the bar
  14. Louis Jordan - Choo Choo Ch' Boogie
  15. Chuck Berry - Roll Over Beethoven
  16. Camille Howard - X-temperaneous Boogie


  • Wild Bill Moore Sextette - Bongo Bounce
The following music served as background music during the spoken parts:
  • Albert Ammons - Bugle Boogie
  • Albert Ammons & Pete Johnson - Boogie Woogie Dream
  • Deryck Sampson - Boogie Express
  • Jimmy Yancey - Jimmy's Rocks
  • Meade Lux Lewis - Randini's Boogie