The History Of Dutch Rock 'n' Roll 1956-1965
The Blue Diamonds Electric Johnny & The Skyrockets

Excerpts from The Dutch Rock 'n' Roll Homepage
By Henri Smeets, used with permission

In 1955 the rock & roll scene from the USA reached the Netherlands. In the beginning only the original records of the US-rockers were played. There was just a single duet who dared to sing this new wild music: The Melody Sisters (hitrecording "Sh-boom" in 1955).

In the years 1956-1957 a whole bunch of popular artists of that time played humoristic rock & roll (The Melody Sisters with "Rock Around The Clock" ('56), Andy Field (more known as songwriter and label owner Johnny Hoes with "On The Beach Of Bali Bali / Oh Oh Marie" ('57), De Jonkers & De Joffers with "Bellow's Rock & roll" ('57), The Bee Bee Sisters with "Rock And Roll Waltz / Dungaree Doll" ('57), Cees de Lange with "Rock & Roll" ('57), De Spelbrekers with a dutch version of "Rock Around The Clock" ('57), Eddy Christiani with "Ik Fluit De Rock & Roll" ('57), De Drie Kleine Kleuters with "Opa's Rock And Roll" ('57), Rudy Wairata & The Hawaiian Minstrels with "Rock And Roll And Breezes" ('56) and "Honolulu Rock-A Roll-A" ('56).

In 1958 there was a change in the Dutch rock and roll scene (something which had happened earlier in other European countries before): the teenagers took over the rock & roll scene. Novelty rock was replaced by highschool rock. In the Netherlands two local scenes arose: the "white" rock & roll of the original Dutchmen ("nederrock") and the "blue/black" rock & roll of the Indonesians living here in the Netherlands ("indorock") and a small scene, the "surirock" of the Surinam people living here in the Netherlands (with their most wellknown representatives Max Woiski Jr., Marius Monkau and John Russell).

It was The Tielman Brothers (indorock) who in 1958 as the first dutch teenage rock & roll band recorded a rock & roll-single on the belgian label Fernap Records in Brussels: "Rock Little Baby Of Mine / You're Still The One" (both own compositions). It took till 1959 before others followed: Peter Koelewijn (& Zijn Rockets), Ria Valk (the dutch female Elvis), The Black Dynamites, Fred Franken & The Rocking Diamonds, Arthur & The Cronies, tennis player Paul Gimbel, Shirley Zwerus (the dutch Connie Froboess), The Butterflies, The Fouryo's (first teenage vocal group), Annelies de Graaf, Herman van Keeken (the dutch Jimmy Rodgers), The Hurricane Rollers, Lydia & The Melody Strings, Pim Maas (the dutch Elvis) & De Presley Cats, Rein de Vries and others... But there were just a few who had hit records: Peter Koelewijn with "Kom Van Dat Dak Af"  (the first rock & roll-hit in the dutch language, 1959)  and Ria Valk in 1960 with "Hou Je Echt Nog Van Mij Rocking Billy ?" Lydia (Tuinenburg) had a huge hit in 1959 with a countrysong in typical indostyle "Send Me The Pillow".

It took till 1960 when the dutch record industry (Philips, Decca, Fontana, Omega, Delta, CNR, Imperial) saw that rock & roll was established and that there was a market for it... more rock & roll groups, rock & roll recordings and hits followed: The Blue Diamonds (with millionseller "Ramona"), Harry Bliek (a hit with Ricky Nelson's "Hello Mary Lou"), Hans Boekhout, Electric Johnny & The Skyrockets, The Emeralds, Erik van Eldik & The Shakin' Hearts, The Four Sweeters, John Lamers & Cees & The Skyliners  and a whole bunch of other teenage rockers.

In 1962 two of the most prominent dutch male teen idols entered the scene; Rob de Nijs (Ritme Van De Regen, '63) and Johnny Lion. In the meantime a lot of groups were formed as copies of Cliff Richard & The Shadows (UK). But their excellent instrumental guitarwork is internationally highly recommended! The most well known guitar groups were: René & The Alligators, The Jumping Jewels, Electric Johnny & The Skyrockets, The Lords, Johnny & The Cellar Rockers, Willy & The Giants. Slowly the beat scene entered and the rock & roll groups changed to this new music scene. This was mainly the case for the so called "nederrock" groups, the indorock groups still played rock & roll.

In 1966 definitly the last authentic rock & roll songs were recorded. An exciting era of rock & roll had ended and paved the way for other music scenes.

By Henri Smeets,

Henri's website contains many stories, bio's and lots of pictures of the Dutch rock 'n' roll scene from 1956-1965, and also many information about the rock 'n' roll scene in the rest of the world (and beyond).

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