Just downloaded the 2CD Bo Diddley Chess box. Holy fuckin' hell. You don't listen to records by him or Chuck Berry or Little Richard for a few years, and you start to forget. You start to view them through the misty haze of memory and the fog of their place in Rock History, and you forget how goddamn anarchistic those records were. I mean, Billy Zoom of the punk band X stole every one of his licks from Chuck Berry, but when you listen to the original recording of "Roll Over Beethoven" you realize that Zoom cleaned 'em up! These Bo Diddley sides are so raw, so soaked in from-the-bottomless-pits-of-hell reverb, they're psychedelic long before there was any such word. And Little Richard's Specialty Records sides are just flat-out explosive—there's no other word for it. He sounds like he's gonna overload the microphones with every note.
But never mind all that crazy talk. The 1950s were a time of boring conformity in America, and we were very nearly doomed to a life of Leave It To Beaver stultification until the Beatles came along to save us from ourselves. Right? Right?