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It has been suggested that it was also used by men building railroads, who would sing to keep the pace, swinging their hammers down to drill a hole into the rock, and the men who held the steel spikes would "rock" the spike back and forth to clear rock or "roll", twisting it to improve the "bite" of the drill.
"Rocking" and "rolling" were also used, both separately and together, in a sexual context; writers for hundreds of years had used the phrases "They had a roll in the hay" or "I rolled her in the clover".
In August 1939, Irene Castle devised a new dance called "The Castle Rock and Roll", described as "an easy swing step", which she performed at the Dancing Masters of America convention at the Hotel Astor.
The Marx Brothers' 1941 film The Big Store featured actress Virginia O'Brien singing a song starting out as a traditional lullaby which soon changes into a rocking boogie-woogie with lines like "Rock, rock, rock it, baby ..."'.
Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" is often cited as the first rock and roll record to achieve significant commercial success and was joined in 1955 by a number of other records that pioneered the genre.
The alliterative phrase rocking and rolling was originally used by mariners at least as early as the 17th century, to describe the combined rocking (fore and aft) and rolling (side to side) motion of a ship on the ocean.
Other notable recordings using the words, both released in 1938, were "Rock It For Me" by Chick Webb, a swing number with Ella Fitzgerald on vocals featuring the lyrics "... "; and "Rock Me" by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a gospel song originally written by Thomas Dorsey as "Hide Me In Thy Bosom". was a semi-detached in Bolton with a nice little back garden leading to a farmer's field, so there were incidents of cows breaking into the garden on a regular basis.