Rock historians attribute the term “Rock and Roll” to radio dj Allen Freed in 1951. And while he set a name to that combo of rhythm, blues, country, jazz that got Elvis wagging his hips around, he wasn’t the first to put the words together.
The origins of the term are nautical…17th-century sailors would describe ship’s movements as rocking and rolling.
The first recorded mention of the words “rock” and “roll” together? That would be the Edison Quartet, who also went by the Haydn Quartet when not recording with old Thomas Alva. Their 1904 recording of Camp Meeting Jubilee contain the lyrics “rocking and rolling in your arms”. Here they are on a brown wax cylinder recording from 1904.