History of Rock and Roll

INTRODUCTIONRock and Roll started after the year 1955 with its roots being in Blues,Gospel, and Jazz. This influenced vocal music, which was popular with theAfrican American population.

Hep Harmony which added rhythm and harmony wassung by groups such as The “Mills Brothers” and the “Ink Spots”.Small Swing Bands or Jump Bands featured saxophone soloists and repeatedphrases. These city style blues featured singers such as Joe Turner, DinaWashington, T-Bone Walker, and composer-singer Percy Mayfield.During this era, country blues traditions of the south becameinfluential in the North as well. Blacks moved from the South to the North andChicago became the center of blues recordings. This emphasized electricguitars, harmonicas, and drummers who emphasized after beats (beats 2 and 4 ofthe measure).

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Black gospel music was very popular and given the label ofrhythm and blues (R&B). This music was carried on radio and popular with thedisc jockeys.In the mid 50’s, Chuck Berry and Little Richard were popular and changedthe face of music, which was named rock and roll by the D.J.

‘s.1956-1962At age 21, in 1956, Elvis Presley was introduced to the public with hisrockabilly style of music. His first record, “Heartbreak Hotel” was recorded.It was the first of a consecutive 14 records to sell over one million copies.He inspired other country singers to sing rock and roll.

This started atrend for “cover” recordings. This was when white singers simplified versionsof Black recorded songs. White singers were played on more radio stations andbecame very popular.Young listeners became their largest audience.

Young singers were hiredto record songs featuring adolescent issues. “Young Love”, “16 Candles”, and”Teenage Crush”. Such singers as Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and JerryLee Lewis became famous and popular.Love ballads also became more popular, with the musical audience lookingfor sentimental and honest expression. This turned some of the more popularmusic from rock to folk ballads.

Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Peter, Paul, andMary were the more popular folk singers.1963-1969During this period, the Beatles became the most popular band of the1960’s. In the 1950’s, the Beatles were also known as Johnny and the Moondogsand then the Moonshiners. They first became known as the Silver Beatles. Theybrought about the renewal of rock and roll, starting in Liverpool, England.John Lennon (10/9/40-12/8/80), led the Beatles as the lead singer andsongwriter. Also writing the songs for the Beatles was Paul McCartney (6/18/42-present).

George Harrison (2/25/43-present) added to the sounds of the Beatles.In 1962, Ringo Starr (7/7/40-present) became the drummer for the band. Theywere now known as The Beatles, (the Fab Four).Their first song “Love Me Do” was recorded in 1962, after Ringo joinedthe band. In 1964, the Beatles ‘invaded’ the United States, by bringing theirmusic here and driving the crowds wild.

The Beatles bridged the generation gapand language barriers. They were trend setters, with their style of dress andhair changing the face of the young people. They also influenced the use ofhallucinogenic drugs, Indian music, and Eastern mysticism.The Beatles last concert was in San Francisco in 1966.The band brokeup in 1970. Lennon went on to record solo albums and with his wife, Yoko Ono.McCartney went on to form Paul McCartney and Wings, with his wife, Linda.

Harrison and Starr also went on to do solo albums. Ringo also starred in somefilms. Rumors of a reunion were believed until the murder of John Lennon in1980.Some of the groups influenced by the Beatles were The Who, Cream withEric Clapton, and Chicago Blues. They brought out sounds such as loud music,guitar screeches, and on stage smashing of instruments. During this time, rockoperas and rock musicals became popular, such as Tommy, The Who and Hair.Formed in 1962 the Rolling Stones started becoming popular. In 1964,The Rolling Stones were first known as Muddy Waters.

They had wild stageantics and brutal lyrics. The group consisted of 5 members from London. MickJagger led the group as the lead singer. Keith Richards on guitar, Brian Jones(replaced in 1969 by Mick Taylor). Mick Taylor was replaced in 1976 by RonWood (from Rod Stewart’s band). Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer, Charlie Wattsmade up the rest of the Stones. By the late 60’s they called themselves theworld’s greatest rock band.The Stones were number one on both sides of the Atlantic, with their hit”Satisfaction” in 1965.

The Stones put out more than 35 albums. Many of theirlyrics covered taboo subjects ( for their time), such as sex and drugs. In the1980’s, thier image mellowed and they went on to other endeavors. In 1985,Jagger recorded a solo album, “She’s The Boss”. Following this album, he did ahit remake with David Bowie of “Dancing in the Streets”. The Stones reunitedin 1989, for a 4 month, 40 city tour, which was seen by over 3 million people.They rolled in over 70 million dollars from ticket and merchandise sales.Motown became popular during the late 60’s with the emergence of femalesingers such as Diana Ross and the Supremes.

Other Motown singers such as theTemptations used dance and music together to enhance their popularity. StevieWonder was also another Motown great. This started the trend of soul music.During the 1960’s hippies, drugs (LSD and Acid), and protests filled theair of this time. Groups such as The Mamas and The Papas, Country Joe and theFish, Jefferson Airplane, and the Greatful Dead were influenced by these trends.

The Woodstock Festival that took place in August 1969, showed that bythis time that music was an important element in the life of America’s youth.This brought about a whole different look at the music industry.1970-1979This decade saw the division of rock into subdivisions beyond thegeneral categories of hard rock (extremely loud and electrically amplified) andmellow rock (softer, and with acoustic instruments). Rock blended with reggae,which emerged from Jamaica around 1972, and is a mix of rock, soul, calypso,and other Latin rhythms.Other styles emerging in the 70’s were punk rock, bubble gum music, andheavy metal rock which continued the hallucinogenic approach of acid rock, butusing loud volume, electronic distortion, and vulgar stage antics. Some bandsexpressing these feelings were Kiss, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin.

Led Zeppelin, who is a British rock group was most popular during 1970s.The members were: lead singer Robert Plant (born 1948), guitarist Jimmy Page(born 1944), bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones (born 1946), and drummerJohn Bonham (1948-80). Led Zeppelin was founded in1968 by Jimmy Page.Theyreleased their first album, Led Zeppelin, in 1968. Other popular albumsincluded Led Zeppelin II (1969), III (1970), and IV (1971), Houses of the Holy(1971), The Song Remains the Same (1976), and In Through the Out Door (1976).Their most famous song was `Stairway to Heaven’ (1971).

With the death ofBonham in 1980, the band was at a great loss, and band members (Plant and Page)went on to solo careers. The reunion of the remaining band members was in1985, for a Live Aid benefit concert in Philadelphia. Another reunion tookplace in 1988 for Atlantic Records’ 40th anniversary celebration (John Bonham’sson, Jason, played the drums).SUMMARYThere were many other bands not mentioned in this report that influencedmusic in the 60’s, 70’s, and the 80’s. Some of these bands include Pink Floyd,The Doors, Eagles, Genesis, CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young), The Monkees,Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Browne, MichaelJackson, and many others.Rock and Roll has been an important part of young peoples lives fordecades and decades to come.

Music is a way of expression for some and a wayof relaxing for others.Category: Music and Movies