Pianist Merrill Moore's unique style fused Western swing, boogie-woogie, and early R&B in a melting pot that many critics felt was a distinct influence on rockabilly, especially Jerry Lee Lewis. Born in Algona, IA, in 1923, Moore began playing the piano at age seven and by 12 was performing on a Des Moines radio station. After high school, he played in a band on the Midwestern ballroom circuit, taking a break to serve in the Navy during World War II. Afterwards, he married his high-school sweetheart and moved to San Diego, where he started playing the club circuit. He got a regular gig with local club kingpin Jimmy Kennedy and put together the Saddle, Rock & Rhythm Boys as his backing band in 1950. Kennedy helped get Moore a record deal with Capitol in 1952, and that year he released his first single, "Big Bug Boogie." 1953's "House of Blue Lights" became a national hit, but Kennedy refused to allow the band to tour or promote the record: He'd signed them to a seven-year deal to play six nights a week and had only gotten them the record contract to increase their local drawing power. Moore continued to record occasional boogies and novelty tunes for Capitol, issuing an extremely rare self-titled EP in 1955. That same year, he walked out on his contract with Kennedy and moved to Los Angeles.