Rockand Roll is a term that is certainly known worldwide even in these days. Itgrouped together people of different races and classes, shown the rebel way forteenagers and despite being it a style that is nowadays not heard much inradios – it’s a huge genre everyone knows and remembers.
Why is that so and howis Rock n Roll different I will cover in my work about cultural and demographicfactors that helped to differentiate Rock ‘n’ Roll from the Popular music that precededit. Rockand Roll is a genre that evolved in America in late 1940s and early 1950s. Itwas a brand-new style that later helped Rock to come to the world. Gone werethe instruments essential for Jazz and Blues, they were replaced by a guitarsand rebellious lyrics. Rock n Roll genre evolved from Blues and Rhythm, influenced by African Americanmusic. As people immigrated they brought their music with them and the stylesbegan to mix. That’swhy it’s also called race music: both white and black Americans enjoyed thisgenre. Formerslaves in America were suddenly living in large numbers next to white peoplefor the first time ever.
Hearing and seeing each other, it resulted in mixingthe styles and even clothing, influencing fashion, languages and attitudes.Cultures clashed, radios played what they didn’t before, and a brand-new style wasevolving. Rockn Roll didn’t first belong in the mainstream. It was a genre for the lowerclass, for the youth that was taking over the previous generation as post wasbaby boom happened.
The usual topics of the songs lyrics were bolder thanpreviously. Sex, violence, fun, cars, school, dating. Those were lyrics of the real-lifethe young listeners experienced. They were mostly teenagers and the styleitself was a revolution – something every teenager likes or is acquaintanceclosely with. Gone was the taboo and boldness took the grips which was met withcriticism but also huge new audience. Rock and roll tried to break free fromthe past where some topics should be undiscussed and sang them out without ashame, expressing feelings that were not talked about – but wanted to be.
Rockn roll was revolution. Itsname literally means Rocking and Rolling. It can mean the movement of dance,though the phrase has also had a sexual innuendo. Many combinations of thewords rolling and rocking were used in rhythm and blues records from 1940s onwards.The specific term was accepted when disc jockey Alan Freed were to describe themusic he played on his radio shows to attract more listeners.
Asthe first Rock and Roll record is considered song: Rock around the clock byBill Haley, even though there were some specific attributes that defined thisgenre played in blues and before this song came out. This record was a hit, sellingmore than 15. Million copies worldwide. Americaduring 1950s was ‘ruled’ by teenagers. Their age group was outpacing the othergroups.
The parents of these youths didn’t really like the new genre, the fashionand behaviour associated with it. With outrageous lyrics and assumption that itcaused the juvenile delinquency, they tried to ban it from radios and stoptheir children from buying such a record. But teenagers done what teenagers do –didn’t listen as they finally felt like this is the music they belong to. Rock nRoll can thank this generation for its success as the mass market and spendingfor records was dominated by youth. By the year 1970, half of the population inAmerica was in their 20s and the music and film makers needed to adapt to thebuying audience. Much to parents’ concern, the movies were also aboutrebelling, criminality and gangs as antihero characters replaced the heroes withaccompanying music being – of course was rock n roll. This new genre was metwith such a hostility like none else before.
It was such a huge deal, that some white people started forming jazz cults inaim to oppress it, not liking how teenagers inclined to the black subculture,fashion and music in conservative America. What were then the real dangers of rock and roll when the other styles of musicwere already having base in black music?