The story goes that rock and roll was dead by 1959,
what with many of its pioneers already in jail, in the service, back in the church, or suddenly off this plane of existence entirely. Yet it was rhythm and blues, largely responsible for the cultural explosion in the first place, which found itself suffering most as the lines between roots music and pop began to blur and then to disappear entirely. 1959 nevertheless had its share of raw and authentically "black" music, but it was largely subsumed by the poppier stuff -- when it made it to national radio at all. Here are the best of 1959's R&B classics.