|August 21th marks the start of a new series of stamps. The theme is Norwegian popular music and the first stamps in the series celebrate the four artists who played a central role when rock and roll came to Norway at the end of the 1950s.
It is easy to establish the date and place of the start of Norwegian rock history. On 20 September 1956, "Rock around the Clock" with Bill Haley and his Comets had its premiere at Sentrum cinema in Oslo. After the 7 o'clock showing, frenzied fans spilled out on to the street. The riots that broke out were met by mounted police and water hoses. "Rock around the Clock" was a pretty mediocre film, but it presented a new form of music. Young people wanted it and all over the world rock'n roll helped to form a whole new generation. Their guiding stars were Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Tommy Steel, Cliff Richard and The Shadows, and later on The Beatles.
Norwegian rock bands emerged in the wake of the Sentrum riots. They consisted of young boys who were not content just to watch Elvis & Co in the cinema. They copied their heroes in recreational clubs and basement rooms.
The first to make a record was Rocke-Pelle (Per Hartvig). In 1958 he recorded "Tennessee Toddy" and "A Teenage Love Affair" with Sigurd Jansen and His Rocking Five and he won the Norwegian rock'n roll championship the same year.
The very first of Norway's rock'n roll pioneers, in addition to Rocke-Pelle, were Per "Elvis" Granberg, Jan Rohde and Roald Stensby. Per "Elvis" Granberg was crowned Oslo's King of Rock'n Roll in 1958, signed a recording contract and went on tour with The Suvenirs band. He took a break in the 1960s, but made a strong comeback around 1970, when he made more records and went on a number of tours with the New Jordal Swingers.
Jan Rohde was discovered at a talent competition at Ovrevoll. He started his own band, The Cool Cats, and in 1959 published a single with "It Takes a Worried Man" and "Lotta Lovin'". In 1963 he started promoting the jenka dance with The Wild Ones from Sweden and enjoyed great success in Norway and Finland. His career really took off in the 1970s. He went on several tours with Rohdes Rockers, giving shows characterized by leather jackets and a tough image. He always sang "Tell Laura I Love Her".
Roald Stenby was the last of the four Norwegian rock'n roll pioneers to give out a record. This was an EP, "Roald, the Scandinavian King, Live at the Jordal Amfi", published in 1959. The same year he won both the Norwegian and the Nordic rock'n roll championships. 1959 was Stenby's greatest year. In 1960 he left to do his national service, which more or less put an end to his rock career. In the mid 1960s he was back again as leader of the TV programme "Pop-Korn".