Rock and Roll Billy Ward and the Dominoes 1951



When Billy Ward and the Dominoes name came up in the research I drew a blank. The name just didn’t ring a bell. I remembered the Dominoes but couldn’t remember why. As far as Billy Ward I had nada. Sure I remembered that very, very suggestive song ” 60 Minute Man” but I was pretty sure it had been done years later during the early 60’s.

So when all else fails go to youtube and slip on the headphones. The instant I heard that deep, smooth lead singer, Bill Brown,  I remembered the song as if I had been a teenager back in 51. I wasn’t. I guess it was either covered or re issued or just played as an oldie after I was old enough to take an interest.  The not so subtle sexual inferences played well with both the R & B record buyers and the emerging white teen market as well. They hit number one on the R & B chart and number 17 on the white pop charts. This was news. This was one of the first cross overs and that’s probably why it is among the contenders as the first rock and roll song.


Other personalities in the Dominoes who would later blossom individually were Clyde McPhatter and his Domino replacement, Jackie Wilson. The group would go on from 60 Minute Man to make several good hits and retain a high level of “stardom” throughout the 50’s. Later generations labeled their work as “Doo Wop” .

Some of their songs included:

                         60 Minute Man            Stardust               Harbor Lights        

                        Have Mercy Baby      Deep Purple

                                    Jennie Lee          You can’t keep a Good Man Down    

                                                         St. Therese of the Roses

Y’all enjoy the music. It’s a good break from what ails ya !

John Boykin

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