Rock and Roll
Thousands of screaming youngsters, cheering, applauding, jumping up and down, dancing to the seemingly hypnotic “hooby-doopy, oop-shoop, ootie ootie, boom boom de-addy boom, scoobledy goobledy dump” (Altschuler, 2003) music. One look at these fanatics and it is clear, rock n’ roll is “the music of the young” (Gish, 2005). Like any other music genre, rock and roll has evolved over time, leaving significant names, mirroring social issues, reemerging from past forms, and influencing society. I. Historical Development and Evolution
Rock and roll was born in the 1950s and takes root from rhythm and blues or R & B, which was initially performed by black musicians. Sh-Boom, sang by the black group Chords, is thought to be the first rock and roll song. Since the 50s was a time when black music always had a White cover version for them to be more acceptable to listeners, Sh-Boom was then later recorded by the white group Crew Cuts. It was not long when young people got attracted to R & B as they have been fed up with what their parents have been listening to.
Hence, with the desire to have a sound they can call their own, coupled with the growing effect of radio, television, and records, rock and roll came into being (Gish, 2005). Following the first stages of the genre, rock and roll started to be both written and sang by the musician. They got inspiration from R & B and country-western music primarily because of their intense utilization of guitar (Gish, 2005). The first record to be a hit was Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley (“Rock music,” 2009). The 1960s then saw the rise in popularity of the genre thanks to Elvis Presley whose dynamic delivery and sexuality appeal to young audiences.
The sound of Motown that was popularized by black singers, who, with a harmonious backup group rendered impressionistic melody story lines, came after. Soon after, rock and roll, which was then known as just rock, emerged back to the music scene with the coming of the Beatles and later groups with unusual names like the Rolling Stones. In the late 60s, rock saw a marriage with folk music with Bob Dylan composing folk songs backed up by an electric band. Rock also mirrored the events of the time as content focused on rebellion, social protest, sex, and drugs.
By 1967, rock festival became the ultimate venue to listen to rock music. In the 1970s, punk rock was born and by the 1980s, rock became even more popular with the emergence of music videos (“Rock music,” 2009). II. Characteristics Rock and roll is considered a hybrid of different music genres. Its elements include “black guitar-accompanied blues, black rhythm and blues noted for saxophone solos, black and white gospel music, white country and western music,” the music of white famous crooners and harmony groups (Rock music,” 2009), indigenous American jazz, and swing.
The practice of covering further characterizes rock and roll. This was done by either a white group doing another version of a black artist’s record or by a group doing their version of another group’s past hit record (“The Rise of, n. d. ). Nonetheless, rock and roll cannot be defined by just one style. Elvis’s style for instance was dubbed “rockabilly” for it combined blues with country. Another style was known as “doo woop,” which was born in the urban North and characterized by a stress in harmony, a variety of different voices or parts, and the inclusion of nonsense syllables such as “doo woop” or “sha na na na.
” Famous names for this style include boy groups called The Marcels, The Diamonds, Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, and Dion & The Belmonts, and girl groups like The Crystals, The Ronettes, The Chiffons, and The Shirelles. Moreover in the early 60s, a new strain from California grew popular, with themes including love, fast cars and surfing. Credited for this surfing craze was the Beach Boys (“The Rise of, n. d. ). Furthermore, a study by Burns (2003), where he analyzed a sample of 100 rock and roll songs from 1955 to 1959, revealed the musical characteristics of early rock and roll.
According to this study, majority of the songs had fast tempo and were in 4/4 or straight beat time. Also, rock and roll music was described as “familiar to the ear, and easy to listen to. ” Moreover, it was popular because it is full of teenage angst, depicts a rebel attitude, and is safe as it required little demands from the listener, quick to identify, sounds alike with all the others, movements were familiar, and listener was comfortable (Burns, 2003).
Yet rock and roll is also loud and exciting amplified by electric guitars and screaming saxophone style combined with the beat that was easy to dance to. In a sense, rock and roll gave its young fans an exclusivity and source of identity. Furthermore, rock and roll also enabled singers to express their feelings as effectively as the lyrics (D’Anjou, 2003). Indeed, rock and roll cannot be defined by a single characteristic. III. Famous Artists One of the first rock and roll artists was Bill Haley.
He was successful in attracting younger audiences because his music possessed an exciting beat, invited them to get up and dance, depicted action in the lyrics, melody was dictated by the electric guitar, and lyrics were earthy and simple. He ceased the reign of 1940s ballads and translated black R & B in music white youngsters will accept and appreciate. Other early influential rock and roll artists were Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins (“Rock music,” 2009). Nonetheless, the most popular artist of this genre is Elvis Presley.
He is credited for making white audiences accept the genre and known as the first rock and roll superstar. His success did not only come from his music but also from his flashy and sexual performances (“The Rise of, n. d. ). Other notable names were the Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and Gladys Knight and the Pips who all popularized Motown music; famous bands such as the Beatles and Rolling Stones, 1970s rock performers Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin, and extreme performers Alice Cooper and David Bowie (“Rock music,” 2009).
Indeed, these names have made their notable contribution to the genre. IV. Influences The influences of rock and roll to society and culture are both positive and negative. On the positive, songs have been instruments of expressing power and sweetness of female desire like in Ronnie Spector’s “Be My Baby,” of communicating sexiness as strength and softness like in the songs of Tina Turner and Chrissie Hynde, of bringing to light the importance of marriage like in Bruce Springsteen’s “One Step Up.
” Hence, the best rock and roll music “celebrated honesty, intimacy, and openness; it encouraged emotional expressiveness (Joni Mitchell), honored tolerance (from Boy George to Melissa Etheridge), individualism (from Bob Dylan to PJ Harvey), and social responsibility (Bonnie Raitt, U2’s Bono, Bruce Springsteen)” (Shea & Riley, 2004). Furthermore, rock and roll initiated many changes by leading the culture towards healthier and happier male-female relations, exploring the triumphs and pitfalls of relationships, (Shea & Riley, 2004) and giving young audiences a chance to hear their voices and express themselves.
On a larger scale though, rock and roll was said to have freed a lot of people. For instance, rock and roll was dubbed to be a decisive factor in loosening up communist societies and bringing them closer to freedom. Similarly, other European leaders and writers credited rock and roll as their inspiration in fighting against communism (Nichols, 2003). Nonetheless, rock and roll has its share of negative influences particularly with the youth. According to parents, rock and roll was trash that led their children to delinquent behavior and into becoming troublemakers (Altschuler, 2003).
Similarly, the ill behavior and unacceptable conduct of some rock artists such as the use of drugs and alcohol delivered a negative message to the young consumers of the genre. For instance, Jimi Hendrix was known to use heroin and LSD, Kurt Cobain was reported to abuse heroin, and Richard Hoon was known to be involved in his band’s drug use. All three cases led to the untimely death of the said stars (Mcclure, 2010). Because of the connection with drugs, the genre has left a bad image to some people. Hence, the influences of rock and roll are both positive and negative. V. Conclusion
Rock and roll has undoubtedly changed society and culture in different ways quite like how it has changed and evolved over time. It has indeed left unforgettable names in the world of music, has reflected critical social issues of the time, and has impacted society both positively and negatively. Hence, rock and roll will always have a special place in people’s lives not just in the past or at present but also in the future. References Altschuler, G. C. (2003). All Shook Up: How Rock ‘N’ Roll Changed America. New York: Oxford University Press. Burns, J. (2003). The music matters: An analysis of early rock and roll.
Journal on Media Culture, 6. Retrieved from http://www. icce. rug. nl/~soundscapes/VOLUME06/Music_matters. shtml D’Anjou, L. (2003). The riddles of rock and roll: Unintended outcomes. Journal on Media Culture, 6. Retrieved from http://www. icce. rug. nl/~soundscapes/VOLUME06/Riddles_rocknroll7. shtml Gish, D. L. (2005). Rock ‘N’ Roll. Minnesota: Smart Apple Media. Mcclure, J. (2010). The deadly effects of rock and roll. Retrieved from http://www. articlesbase. com/health-articles/the-deadly-effects-of-rock-and-roll-2432801. html Nichols, B. (2003, November 6). How rock ‘n’ roll freed the world.
USA Today. Retrieved from http://www. usatoday. com/news/world/2003-11-06-rockroll-usat_x. htm “Rock music. ” (2009). In Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 6th ed. Retrieved from http://web. ebscohost. com/ehost/detail? vid=2&hid=11&sid=f21250b1-1477-40d5-8674-941fda3f6359%40sessionmgr113&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=prh&AN=39028845 Shea, S. S. & Riley, T. (2004). In love with the written word; rock ‘n’ roll heroes. Chronicle of Higher Education 50(45). doi: 00095982. “The Rise of Rock ‘n Roll: 1953-1964. ” (n. d. ). Retrieved from http://faculty. smu. edu/dsimon/Change-Music. htmlSample Essay of PaperDon.com