Three things you should know about Bill Monroe if you’re a rock and roll fan:
1. The first song Elvis Presley performed on the Grand Old Opry was Monroe’s Blue Moon of Kentucky. After hearing Presley’s version, Monroe altered his own.
2. Rock Around the Clock by Bill Hailey and the Comets, arguably the first rock and roll song, is virtually identical in rhythm and melody to Bill Monroe’s Heavy Traffic Ahead.
3. You know those Chuck Berry guitar licks (think intro to Johnny B Goode) that were so influential on the creation of bands like the Beatles and the Stones? Yeah…Chuck Berry basically copped Monroe’s mandolin style and transferred it to an electric guitar. That’s it.
4 (just for good measure), the following are quotes from Bill Monroe:
When meeting Frank Sinatra at the White House: “Yeah…I believe I’ve hearda you”
When told that Beethoven had long hair: “Really? Well what did he play?”
On hearing the dobro in a bluegrass band: “That ain’t no part a nuthin!”