The History Of Rock And Roll By Seth Spence 1/22/2012 Rock and Roll music is a genre that has been around our lives since the early 1940’s and has evolved every decade since. From the beginning with the rise of Elvis Pressley, to The Beatles in the 1960’s, to artists of today like U2 and Metallic, rock and roll has had important aspects in every generation it has been involved in. Rock and roll was for and about adolescents.
Its lyrics articulated teenage problems: school, cars, summer vacation, parents, and, most important, young love. Though rock and roll has had plenty of ups and downs with how it has adapted over the years, the influence it has had in our country and worldwide, and the controversy it has had to fight through at times. Rock music is a genre of music that came about in the late 1940s and early 1950s in the southern region of the United States. Rock music evolved from the combination of many other genres.
Rock music includes elements of several black and white American music styles: black guitar-accompanied blues; black rhythm and blues, noted for saxophone solos; black and white gospel music; white country and western music; and the songs of white popular crooners and harmony groups With the migration of many African American’s to the United States in the early 1900’s meant the clash and transformation of each other’s music into a new style of music called Rock and Roll.
As Rock and Roll came up in popularity the piano and saxophone was found to be the lead instrument, but as a few years past it was replaced by the guitar and use of the snare drum. From the beginning Rock and roll was destine to branch off into many types of rock. The first version was called “Rockability. ” “The term ‘rockability’ is a portmanteau of rock and ‘hillbilly,’ the latter a reference to the country music that contributed strongly to the styles development. ”(Kumar, Wikipedia) After that came a style called “Doo Wop,” this was popular in the 1950s.
In 1955 Rock and Roll got its first national recognized album by Bill Haley and the Comets titled “Rock around the clock”. In the 1960s came the British invasion of rock with bands like The Beatles, as well as pop rock and blues rock. The 70’s brought along for the first time Christian rock and the start of the heavy metal rock like punk and metal. “Turning point in rock music occurred in the mid-1970s in the form of punk rock, which was a response to the stagnation of the genre and a nihilistic political statement.
The music was filled with contempt for previous styles; its fast-tempoed songs, usually propelled by electric guitar, featured irreverant lyrics often obscured by the clangerous music”. ( Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, University library) As the 90s and 2000s approached these genres of punk and metal brought new evolution of each with the introduction of post hardcore-emo to indie rock. “Also in the 90s the continuing popularity of older bands, such as the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones, bore witness to the enduring appeal of this form among both the young and the increasingly middle-aged.
The appeal of older and past rock bands was also evident in the fanfare surrounding the opening (1995) of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. ”(Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, University Library) Rock is always evolving into a new style of music so more and more styles of rock will emerge. With the rise of rock in the United States has brought the influence of rock into political views. Political expression in music has been seen all over the world though it has never been fully proven if audience relates their music to a political level.
Music has had a big influence in protests, like anti’ war songs, and in pro-establishment ideas like national anthems, patriotic songs, and political campaigns. Many bands have been known to use some of their music to express political views such as U2s “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” which is a major anti-terrorism song, or the song “Pride,” which has become an international anthem for peace. “Rock has been credited with changing attitudes towards race by opening up African American culture to white audience the global spread of rock music has been interpreted as a form of cultural imperialism. (Kumar, Wikipedia) Rock and Roll came about when racial tensions were changing with the beginning of civil rights movements for desegregation. There are many people who say that rock and roll had a huge had in segregation by creating a new form of music that encourages racial cooperation and shared experiences. Not only has rock and roll had an influence in the United States but has also had an influence on countries around the world. Rock and roll in the early 1960s had finally spread over seas and Great Britain was the first to jump into the rock scene with the quick uprising of The Beatles.
It soon spread to Liverpool with The Searchers, and The Hollies from Manchester and of course The Rolling Stones from London. All these groups began combining US forms of music and infusing it with a high energy beat of their own. “An important transformation of rock occurred in 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan, noted as a composer and writer of poetic folk songs and songs of social protest like “Blowin’ in the Wind,” appeared, playing electric guitar and backed by an electrified rock band.
A synthesis of the folk revival and rock subsequently took place, with folk groups using rock arrangements and rock singers composing poetic lyrics for their songs”( Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia,university library). At the same time The Beatles were hitting the scene, rock and roll had migrated all the way to Japan. Many Japanese bands imitated The Beatles and other bands which in Japan were known as “Group Sound,” which was very popular in the 1960s. After the boom of Group Sounds there were several influential singer-song writers like Nobuyasu Okabayash and Wotaru Takada”(Kumar, Wikipedia) The 80s brought the inspiration to try alternative rock music which lead to many bands in the 1990s to achieve a great amount of commercial success. As with bands in the United States many of these bands especially in Europe like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles used songs to express their political views and encourage change in the world. As with many other genres, rock and roll was no different when it came to its musicians being controversial whether it be with drugs or subliminal messaging.
Many rock musicians were known as hard living characters with their heavy use of drugs and alcohol. With rocks popularity and open promotion of recreational drug use made its youth believe it was acceptable to do. These hard core drug user claimed many talented musicians such as Elvis Pressley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison. Along with drug use a sense of rebellion spread across the countries youth with its fast past beats and crazy lyrics, making our youth rebel against anything lawful. Rock and roll has also had to deal with the accusation of using subliminal messaging which is also known as “back masking. “During the 1970s, media reports raised a series of concerns of its impact on listeners, stating that satanic messages were calling its listeners to commit suicide, murder, abuse drugs, and engage in sex. ” (Kumar, Wikipedia) The biggest known trial of subliminal messaging as against Judas Priest, as two young men in December of 1985 committed suicide while drinking, smoking marijuana, and listening to Judas Priest all day. The song “Better by you, better than me,” was the plaintiff’s main focus for subliminal messaging.
Unfortunately they could never fully prove that is sent a message to commit suicide and kept it where rock and roll artist could continue to be creative in writing their music. From the birth to rock and roll in the United States to its spread to other countries around the world rock and roll will forever be a part of our lives and have some kind of influence on us. Rock and roll also got to feel the other side of the hill with all the negative vibes that come with its type of music and something that makes people more connected to a genre when it goes through a period of adversity.
Rock and roll music is only getting stronger and ever evolving and will always have a place in our hearts. References 1) http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Rock_music#Social_impact 2) http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Rock_music#Social_impact 3) http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Social_effects_of_rock_music 4) http://engridwhisenant. suite101. com/judas-priest-and-metal-on-trial-a49944 5) http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Rockabilly 6) Rock music. Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 11/1/2011 7) Cloonan, Martin, The production of English rock and roll stardom in the 1950s.