Jonathan "Rocky" Burnette made quite an impression in the family business. His father, Johnny Burnette, was the rockabilly hitmaker who notched such international hits as "You're Sixteen (You're Beautiful, and You're Mine)" and "Dreamin'" before tragically perishing in a boating accident in 1964; his uncle, Dorsey, was a member with Johnny of The Rock and Roll Trio and a recording artist in his own right on such labels as Imperial, Dot, Reprise, Motown, and Capitol before his own sad death at age 46 of a heart attack in 1979. Rocky made his LP debut that same year with the aptly-titled The Son of Rock and Roll. Now, that classic album is receiving its long-overdue CD premiere from Iconoclassic Records. This Friday, October 28, the label will reissue The Son of Rock and Roll in an expanded edition with two bonus tracks (one of which is previously unreleased).
Memphis native Rocky was just eleven years old when his father died. The rockabilly sound was in his DNA, and in 1979, he was signed to the EMI America label. Produced by Jim Seiter and Bill House and recorded in both the U.S. and the U.K., The Son of Rock and Roll was dedicated to Johnny and Dorsey, among others. The LP was primarily penned by Rocky with such collaborators as Jim Seiter and Everly Brothers bassist Ronald Coleman, and welcomed special guests including Rockpile's Dave Edmunds and Dorsey's son and future Fleetwood Mac member Billy Burnette.
The album's blazing opening track, "Tired of Toein' the Line," climbed to the top ten of the U.S. Pop chart in summer 1980, also achieving international success in Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Rocky's follow-up album Heart Stopper appeared on the independent The Goods Records label in the U.S. while EMI distributed it in altered form as Rocky Burnette in international territories.
Since those heady days, Rocky has continued to celebrate his rock-and-roll heritage while making vivid music of his own. He most recently contributed a version of "Mystery Train" to the 2021 collection Americana Railroad. Director Sally Steele's new documentary film, Raised on Rock: The Burnette Family Legacy, is heading soon to streaming services.
Iconoclassic's reissue adds two bonus cuts: the non-LP B-side "Boogie Down in Mobile, Alabama" (the U.S./Canada flip of "Tired of Toein' the Line") and Rocky's previously unreleased cover of Sam Cooke's "Shake." Note, too, that Iconoclassic's reissue has the full 12-song sequence; EMI America originally chopped off two songs for the North American release.
The audio has been newly remastered from the original tapes by Nick Robbins, while Bill Dahl has contributed a new essay based on an interview with Rocky. John Sellards has designed the period artwork, and while the reissue's cover replicates the international design, the North American version is on the back of the booklet (and can be easily flipped in the jewel case to become the de facto front cover). The Son of Rock and Roll is due on Friday, October 28, from Iconoclassic Records, and can be pre-ordered at the links below!
- Tired of Toein' the Line
- Anywhere Your Body Goes
- Fallin' in Love (Bein' Friends)
- Angel in Chambray
- Bertha Lou
- Because of You
- The Boogie Man
- Baby Tonight
- You're So Easy to Love
- A Woman in Love
- Clowns from Outer Space
- Roll Like a Wheel
- Boogie Down in Mobile, Alabama (EMI America single 8043-B, 1980)
- Shake (previously unreleased)