I won’t unload all my thoughts on this vast topic, but I’ll take a quick stab at it.
What exactly is Rock & Roll?
Is it a musical arrangement style? No.
Is it a particular instrument or group of instruments?
Is it an image and clearly stated emotional ties to something? Yes.
Is it juvenile?
Is it really difficult to define? Of course.
Depends where you’re from, when that was, and what you know.
Rock & Roll is a marketing term originally used to help sell the records of black artists to the much larger white market. Rock & Roll was soon thereafter many white artists redoing songs, often illegally, from original black artists.
I also know that Rock & Roll means something to many people – get your ya-ya’s out, have a good time, stick it to the man, and Yolo.
Rock and roll is sexy and much needed, however it was born.
It gave many creative maniacs a career and it helped america through the tumultuous last half of the 20th century.
So when did it start?
Musically, you can argue yourself all the way back to the 1800’s looking for the roots of rock.
I personally believe in EVERY year since humans had ears we were rocking, without electricity just fine. I am sure they were rocking thousands of years ago.
But with youtube we can take a quick tour through the early days of recorded rock music.
Some straight up fast blues from a gospel artist, aka rock and roll, from 1938:
There’s this from 1946:
That shit is as hot as anything Fishbone ever rocked, music and image!
There’s still a big-band jazz feel going on there, but they are definitely rocking.
In 1947 they started adopting the term and turning up the bravado:
Fat’s Domino brought the blues progressions and the big backbeat in 1949:
By 1951 you had Ike Turner’s crew doing this:
There we so many of these good records that people with record presses started to imagine selling them to the young white music buyers of the world, not just the adults that frequented music clubs.
A huge new market opened up and by the mid 50’s you had white DJ’s spinning mixed records to mixed crowds in cities across america.
In 1955 the Rock Star was born, and we never looked back: