The Ides Of March: Is This The Most Rocking Day of the Year?

March 15 is a heavy day in general, and for rock in particular. To the ancient Romans, the “ides” marked the mid-point of any given month—a period of time that was sacred to Jupiter, the god-of-gods among the ancients. The Ides of March, then, was Jupiter’s feast day smack in the middle of the month named for Mars, the sword-wielding deity of war. That’s not just heavy, it’s cosmic.

The Ides of March is also best known as the occasion on which Roman emperor Julius Caesar fell victim to a fatal gang-knifing by Senators who objected to his recent claiming of the title “dictator perpetuo”; i.e.—“dictator for life.” J.C. didn’t get to rest on that particular laurel for terribly long.

So with that kind of blood and thunder surrounding the Ides of March, it’s no wonder that it also may mark the birthdate of rock-and-roll itself.

On March 3rd or 5th, 1951 (exact recollections vary), Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm, under the name Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, recorded “Rocket 88.” By the middle of the month, the 45rpm single was loose among the public and the lightning bolt that is generally acknowledged to be the first rock-and-roll took hold. All music and culture to follow in its wake was thereby changed forever after.

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