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It is not easy to believe that in the early 1900s there was no rock music. People did not even know about this music style. A lot of scientists and historians claim that the beginning of rock music started in 1954. At that time, rock and roll music appeared. The musical tastes had changed and revolutionized intensely with the introduction of this music style to the world. This music spread among a younger generation and changed the humanity.
It is obviously that the new musical style had not appeared from anything. It was not developing in a vacuum. Rock and roll was formed from integration of two main styles such as R&B and Country. At this time, in the market of music, new technologies developed and were created. They improved special musical instruments and gave an opportunity to make the sound better.
As it is already known, rhythm and blues is based on blues. Rock and roll music had developed from R&B. One of the innovators of rock and roll music, Little Richard, said that rock & roll was a baby of R&B music. He was absolutely right because most of famous R&B exponents, i.e. J. Turner, W. M. Thornton and M. Waters were the founders of the rock and roll musical style.
Rock and roll is the music style which was brought into the world in the late 40s. The music style, which is very popular nowadays, has originated from the United States of America and widespread all around the world in the early 50s. This music style was shaped by different people that were doing the things they appreciated. Some others were trying to change the world; the others tried to protect them by creating different songs. Using this way, they were fighting for better life conditions. They expressed their own emotions in the unusual ways. Even now, rock’n’roll music style has been transformed and molded. First and foremost, rock and roll was formed from the combination of jazz, country and gospel music, as well as blues. According to Peterson (1999), some elements of rock and roll can be noticed even in the records of country music of the 1930s as well as in blues of the 1920s (p.9).
At the present time, it is possible to define the term rock and roll in different ways. However, people use these terms as they have the common meanings. The first meaning is that this music style is a synonym to rock music established in the 1950s. Later, rock and roll music has developed “into the more encompassing international style known as rock music".
With the development of new technologies, the saxophone based rhythms with sounds of the electric guitar, the firm beat of rock, the pulsation of piano, passion and enthusiasm, and deep passionate desire as well as carelessness had been added to to R&B music. Classical rock and roll is usually played by electric guitars (two ones or one, depending on the composition), bass guitar and drums. Rock and roll is not just a simple musical style. To tell the truth, it is influenced by everything in the modern world. People have changed their lifestyles, attitudes, clothes and even the language. All these features have formed a perfect musical style widespread among youngsters. Mostly, the younger generation had accepted and got a new angle of view on music as they were able to accept the proper boundaries of that time.
The first people trying themselves in the rock and roll musical style were black artists. They appealed after the World War II. These artists needed to enhance public freedom, enthusiasm and joy. After a certain period of time, white singers started to appear on the stage with rock and roll compositions. Moreover, some of them became very popular and famous all over the USA. However, the music is not limited to any race, origin, and gender. Its comprehensiveness is one of its strongest points. This music style is regularly making some progress and adapting to different situations. This allows it to stay contemporary to every following generation. Nowadays, it has a great success among the people of various age groups instead of its creation more than 60 years ago.
The origin of this unusual musical style is extremely complicated. It has emerged from a great mixture of different musical genres. Everyone from these genres was developing during the proper period of time. Furthermore, everything in the human life starting from fashion and ending with ideas and the way of life was changing. To tell the truth, the greatest impact on this music had the black population of America. They were using the African origin of rhythmic elements, which made the unusual vocal sample. Thanks to the time influence, African musical elements mixed with the white ones; for example, the folk ballad and Spanish guitar.
Once, Palmer (1992) said the following:
Rock 'n' roll was an inevitable outgrowth of social and musical interactions between the blacks and whites in the South and Southwest. Its roots are a complex tangle. Bedrock black church music influenced on blues, rural blues influenced on a white folk song and the black popular music of the Northern ghettos, blues and black pop influenced on jazz, and so on (p. 4).
Some of the African Americans were budding jazz and swing music, which they were playing for dancing. They played this music in special areas where the social integration was taking its place. In the middle 30s, mostly in every type of blues and folk music, there could be found some rock’n’roll elements. Rock and roll could be heard everywhere where the African Americans lived. At that time, white people heard the music played by black people. As a result, the exchange process had started to take part in the musical life of each nation. As well, rock and roll music had been created thanks to the fast development of new electronic recording techniques. At that time, Charlie Christian had invented the electronic guitar. Moreover, during this period of time, the small radio was invented. It became enormously popular as it was very small and portable. The prices on radio were not high, so people could allow buying them. Mostly, every American could afford to buy a transistor radio. They were placed in every room. Thus, people had the opportunity to listen to music. At that time, car radios became very popular as well. This invention has given to people the opportunity to listen to music while driving. Not surprisingly, that radio stations started to program a new musical style to fit the audience. In the early 50s, the radio stations were divided into separate groups. One station could play music for adults, while the other one used to play music for teenagers.
As a rule, children from their childhood listened to music being listened by their parents. The teenagers from some metropolitan areas started to change their musical tastes and began to listen to music they had never heard before. Of course, this music was not something new for black people. However, for the whites it was a new style which made them completely desired. With the time, white people had made up a huge audience. They were dominating over black Americans. After this, radio stations understood that the main shift of listeners was about to arise, and in sequence to remain with the white listeners and as well to appeal to black ones, they had to put on air and support R&B or somewhat similar to R&B.
The songs by Big Joe Turner started to be played on radio stations being popular among white people. At that time, white producers began to look for white singers that played somewhat like R’n’B. Such singers like Presley and the groups like The Comet brought tough conditions to the Rock and Roll music development. From that time, a mix of R&B and Country music had become the Rock & Roll music genre.
In the late 30s, the supporter and musical producer Hammond staged the first show in New York. He tried to highlight the musical style of Black Americans. This show concluded a lot of artists, i.e. pianists and singers. They flashed a vogue across the American culture. This concert can be considered as the beginning of the rock and roll way.
All these events have influenced on the combination of a simple based on blues song composition being hasty and memorable. People were able to dance and got a great excitement doing it. These features made rock and roll greatly admired by teenagers. At last, they had for the first time “their” music.
In 1950s, a lot of different bands and singers appeared. For example, in 1952, Bill Haley formed the band The Comets. This band is considered as the first rock and roll band. It was the year when Allan Freed staged the first rock and roll concert. Moreover, the same year, the first rock and roll song Crazy Man Crazy entered all charts. Simultaneously, Sam Phillips “was recording first Elvis Presley’s record in his Sun Studio using two recorders to produce the effect of "slap back" audio delay that would become the typical sound of rockabilly.” A lot of recording companies were enormously fast to lift up their chance. They began to make the public rock and roll songs from the recent singers. They presented them to the audience. In 1955, the hit Rock around the Clock was released. It became nationwide popular. At that time, a lot of different rock and roll hits were introduced to listeners. It was considered as something new and interesting. It meant that rock and roll had its power; thus, Elvis Presley took over the contract from the Sun Records Company.
Doo wop musical style was enormously popular in the 1950s. It accented vocal accords and insincere backing lyrics. That is why this musical form had the name of doo wop. As usually, doo wop was holding up with light instrumentations. According to Bogdanov (2002), the origin of this music was derived from the African American bands of the 1930s and 1940s (p. 1303). The names of some bands are The Ink Spots and The Mills Brothers. They had a profitable success with the preparations founded on close harmonies.
These bands were followed by The Orioles, The Clovers and The Ravens. They crossed over the charts with the enormous success. The most popular songs were The Great Pretender and The Coasters with the song named Yakety Yak. Bogdanov has claimed that they became the most famous and listened songs and bands of this period. As well, a lot of other nations tried them in the Doo Wop musical style. For example, some Italian singers, other white groups as The Mystics and Dion. This musical style had the foremost influence on surf and soul music, including The Beatles.
Among the most popular songs of that era was The Crests’ song Sixteen Candles. The record was released as a single song in 1958. It positioned the 2nd chart position in Billboard Hot 100 charts and the 4th position in R&B charts. The artists being the participants of the band were J.T. Carter, Talmoudge Gough, Harold Torres, Patricia Van Dross and Johnny Maestro. The label of this album was Coed Records. The song was written by Luther Dixon and Allyson R. Khent. All vocalists were playing their personal instruments. For instance, Johnny Maestro was playing with the rhythm guitar. This band actually respected the genre; but in the late 70s they started to adjoin members.
At that period of time, there appeared a lot of significant bands and singers. They were Elvis Presley, Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Jerry Lee, Bo Diddley and The Everly Brothers.
A lot of early white rock hits were made as the covers of black blues songs. According to Aquila (2000), there was much hard work of Freed and other producers. As a result, the African American music was a ban on numerous white-owned radio passages, but producers and artists had rapidly recognized the profit of rock and roll (p. 5. As Deffaa (1996) has claimed mostly all of Elvis Presley’s hits were the covers of black rhythms as Lawdy Miss Clawdy, That’s All Right and Hound Dog (p. 183).
At that time, in the United States of America, the covers were extremely easy to create. Moreover, they were customized. The compulsory license provision was provided in the USA. This license has been effective till nowadays. A lot of artists made the booming covers, i.e. for example, Louis Prima’s Oh Babe” and Gunter’s Birmingham Bounce. Cover versions were not the clear-cut imitations. The artist that had made covers were changing rhythm, temp, transformed the text and made this faster or slower. According to Tyler (2008), “Bill Haley's incompletely bowdlerized cover of Shake, Rattle and Roll transformed Big Joe Turner's humorous and racy tale of adult love into an energetic teen dance number” (p. 79).
In the 1960s, in the rock and roll industry a new direction appeared. Rock and toll style became tight and melodic. That time was popular for the “motown sound”. Such artists and bands as The Miracles, Diana Ross, The Temptations, The Supremes and The Four Tops made people familiar with this music. At that time, one band named The Beatles became very popular. The artists were playing at schools and clubs, but after they became enormously popular all over the United States and the whole world. The band was influenced by Carl Perkins. A lot of other bands became popular in the 1960s. They were The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and others. The Rolling Stones were influenced by Howlin Wolf. A great amount of British artists were affected by Americans. The affect was not very satisfactory because the music turned the 60s rock and roll music into rock music. The music became more aggressive and louder than in the1950s. There was more rock and a reduced amount of roll in every next record.
In the 1960s, Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ In the Wind, The Beatles’ Michelle, The Beach Boys’ California Girls and Jefferson Airplanes’ White Rabbit were among the most popular songs. The first song was included into the album named The Freewheelin by Bob Dylan. It was released in 1963. The producer of the track was John H. Hammond. The song was released by Columbia Records. Bob Dylan wrote the song ranked in the 14th position in The Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The Beatles released their song Michelle in 3 December 1965 in the Rubber Soul album. It is a unique song because it was written in French. It won the Grammy Awards and turned into one of the most famed The Beatles’ track. The album reached the 1st position in the Billboard Pop Albums chart. The persons of the band are Paul McCartney being a leading vocalist and a bassist, John Lennon, playing the acoustic guitar. George Harrison is playing the lead guitar and Ringo Starr is playing drums. The producer of the song is George Martin. The song was written by Paul McCartney. In the middle 80s, it was co-written with John Lennon. The Beach Boys’ song California Girls was released in The Summer Days’ album in 1965. It was extremely popular as well. It ranked in the 3rd position in the Billboard Hot 100 hits chart. Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston, Al Jardine, Mike Love and David Marks were the members of the band. The producer of The Beach Boys was Brian Wilson being one of band members. The label was Capitol Records. The song was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. The next composition, which had changed the human tastes and feelings, was White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane. It was released in The Surrealistic Pillow album in 1967. It positioned in the 8th chart position in the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The artists being the participants of the band were John Casady that played the bass guitar, Grace Slick that was a leading vocalist, Martin Balin, a vocalist, Jorma Kaukonen playing the electric guitar and Paul Kantner with Specer Dryden as the drummers. The producer of the song was Rick Jarrard. The label was RCA Victor. The song was written by Grace Slick.
“In the 1970s, rock and roll records continued its path of fusion with other musical forms.” At this time, there appeared different forms of rock and roll music, for example, folk rock, jazz rock and country rock. By the middle of the 70s, this type of music had started to neglect rock and roll dance elements. Most of rock was done for pop radio. Among the most popular artists there could be seen The Police, The Clash, Eric Clapton, The America and Elvis Costello. Rock and roll has, at last, become unpopular and come out of age.
Enormously popular there was the song by Eric Clapton Layla released in 1971. The participants of the band were Eric Clapton being a lead vocalist and playing the acoustic guitar. Duane Allman was playing the slide guitar, Jim Gordon was a drummer, Carl Radle was a bassist and Bobby Whitlock was a background vocalist. The producer was Russ Titelman. The song was written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon. Another popular song of the 70s was Tin Man by The America released in Holiday album in 1974. It had ranked in the 4th chart position in the Pop chart for 3 weeks and in the 1st position in the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The band consisted of Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley, Willie Leacox, Michael Woods and George Martin. The band’s producer was George Martin being a participant of the band. The composition was written by Dewey Bunnell.
In the 1980s, the recognition of radio and media, for instance, CD and video, took rock and roll music to a better profitable ebb tide than it had been ever before. A lot of popular bands were doing mega tours, for example, Pink Floyd, U2, Michael Jackson and The Rolling Stones. What is the most interesting is that these bands became known from the unknown artists playing at schools and clubs.
U2’s song Sunday Bloody Sunday was released on 11th March 1983 in War Date album. The participants of the band were Bono, a lead vocalist and guitarist, Larry Mullen Jr., a drummer, and Steve Wickham, a violinist. The producer of the band was Steve Lillywhite. The label was Island Records. The song was written by The Edge and Bono. Another famous song was Thriller represented by Michael Jackson in the album Thriller in 1984. It ranked in the 4th position in the Billboard Hot 100 charts and in 3rd in the Hot R&B/ Hip-Hop Songs chart. Michael Jackson was a vocalist, guitarist, trumpeter, synthesizer, saxophonist and trombonist. The producer was Quincy Jones. The song was composed by Rod Temperton.
In the 1990s, the teenage rock fans were strained in "grunge" groups. They were Pearl Jam and The Stone Temple Pilots. At the same time, their parents and older people enjoyed The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Red Hot Chili Peppers. In the middle 90s, the main U.S. television net took The Beatles to a completely new invention. The popular song of this period of time was Under the Bridge sung by Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was released in 1992 in the Blood Sugar Sex Magic album. It ranked in 2nd position in the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The participants of the band were Anthony Kiedis, a lead vocalist, John Frusciante, a guitarist, Flea, a bassist and Chad Smith, a drummer. The band’s producer was Rick Rubin. The song was written by Anthony Kiedis, a participant of the band.
The musical rock and roll style has influenced on lifestyles and attitudes, the language and fashion. According to Altschuler (2003), “rock and roll has helped to cause the civil rights’ movement because both African American teens and white American teens enjoyed the music” (p. 35).