<b>Jerry Lee Lewis </b>Jerry Lee Lewis was a guy who didn&apos;t just embrace the rock &apos;n&apos; roll lifestyle – he wrote the how-to guide. In his prime, the piano-pounding singer, aka “The Killer,” was the very picture of wild-eyed abandon, a hellion with great hair, a voice to match and two blurs for hands.<b> </b>
<b>Sam Cooke </b>The world knows Sam Cooke as one of popular music&apos;s greatest singers - the velvet-voiced gospel star turned pop idol who became a sensation in the late 1950s and early &apos;60s with hits such as &quot;You Send Me,&quot; &quot;Cupid,&quot; &quot;Only Sixteen,&quot; &quot;Win Your Love For Me&quot; and &quot;(What A) Wonderful World.&quot; But from 1959 until his death in 1964, Cooke also ran his own successful record label, writing, producing, arranging and recording songs for a hand-picked roster of gospel and pop artists that included The Womack Brothers, The Valentinos, The Simms Twins and his old gospel group The Soul Stirrers.<b> </b>
<b>Little Richard </b>Richard Wayne Penniman, better known to the world as Little Richard, was the wild-eyed, flamboyant boogie-woogie piano-pounder who helped create rock &apos;n&apos; roll in the 1950s with straight shots of rhythm and blues like &quot;Tutti-Frutti,&quot; &quot;Lucille&quot; and &quot;Good Golly Miss Molly.&quot; Born in 1932 in Macon, Ga., he combined gospel and mascara with piano pounding and a wild falsetto. He also brought an outrageous stage personality and sanctified energy to rock &apos;n&apos; roll.<b> </b>
<b>Fats Domino </b>What was the very first rock &apos;n&apos; roll record? Trying to narrow it down is a fool&apos;s game, but let&apos;s not let that stop us. Many experts think it was Ike Turner&apos;s “Rocket 88.” Others stand by Bill Haley&apos;s “Rock Around the Clock.” Others might vote for Elvis Presley&apos;s “That&apos;s All Right.” Long before any of those records saw the light of day in the 1950s, though, the New Orleans musical team of Antoine “Fats” Domino and Dave Bartholomew had a hit called “The Fat Man.” The year was 1949. And the infectious song had a fresh sound, with youthful lyrics and a groove as lively as a Mardi Gras parade. In the &apos;50s and early &apos;60s, Domino and Bartholomew scored more than three dozen Top 40 hits, including such classic songs as “Ain&apos;t That a Shame,” “I&apos;m Walkin&apos; ” and “Walking to New Orleans.” At the time, only Presley sold more records.<b> </b>
<b>James Brown </b>Born in 1928, Brown put on high-energy shows that earned him the title &quot;The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.&quot; Brown revolutionized black music in the late &apos;50s and &apos;60s by reshaping the bedrock of gospel and rhythm &apos;n&apos; blues into soul and funk. Without him, Sly and the Family Stone wouldn&apos;t have made sense. Neither would George Clinton&apos;s various aggregations, let alone Living Colour or Digital Underground.<b> </b>
<b>Everly Brothers </b>Don and Phil Everly recorded some of the biggest hits of the early rock era -- &quot;Bye Bye Love,&quot; &quot;Wake Up Little Susie,&quot; &quot;All I Have to Do is Dream,&quot; &quot;When Will I Be Loved,&quot; &quot;Cathy&apos;s Clown&quot; and more. But their lasting contribution to the music lies in their seamless vocal harmonies, a style they developed by marrying the country sound of sibling vocal groups such as The Stanley Brothers and The Louvin Brothers with the exciting new R&amp;B styles of Bo Diddley, Ray Charles and Little Richard.The Everly Brothers sound was an inspiration for a generation of &apos;60s rockers, including The Beatles, Simon &amp; Garfunkel, The Hollies and The Byrds.<b> </b>
<b>Buddy Holly and the Crickets </b>The guitar-playing singer and his band, the Crickets, established two guitars, bass and drums as a template for rock groups. They notched a No. 1 single in 1957 with “That’ll Be the Day,” followed by the Top 10 hits “Peggy Sue” and “Oh, Boy!” Holly and the Crickets also recorded such future rock standards as “Not Fade Away” and “Rave On.”Holly died Feb. 3, 1959, at the age of 22. He was killed along with J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens in a plane crash near Mason City, Iowa, en route to a concert in Minnesota.<b> </b>
<b>Ray Charles </b>The gods may have blessed him with that heavenly voice, but Ray Charles&apos; true musical genius had less to do with the fates than his own stubborn refusal to be contained by any one musical genre or style. Indeed, during the course of his brilliant 50-year recording career, Charles (1930-2004) mastered virtually every musical form in America.<b> </b>
<b>Chuck Berry </b>The first artist inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, Chuck Berry put together an amazing string of hit records in the 1950s: &quot;Johnny B. Goode,&quot; &quot;Sweet Little Sixteen,&quot; &quot;Roll Over Beethoven,&quot; &quot;Back in the U.S.A.&quot; and more. He defined rock &apos;n&apos; roll and inspired new generations of rock musicians.<b> </b>
<b>Elvis Presley </b>The first real rock &apos;n&apos; roll star, he brought the music to a national audience. As the instrument of producer Sam Phillips&apos; plan to have a white man sing black music, he helped bring more passionate music to the bland pop world.<b> </b>