in this post I will talk about the Rock ‘n’ Roll origins. This style was born in the United States as an evolution of the blues. Nowadays it is still difficult to indicate a real date of birth. Beyond the origins, it is important to consider the great popularity that the genre has had in the history of music, starting from the second half of the last century. Rock and roll still represents something that cannot be considered in the musical sphere alone; film, television, mass culture but not only. Styles, fashion, trends, attitudes, language, simple words or gestures. All this has led to a real cultural and artistic revolution.
The birth of the genre can be dated between the end of the 40s and the beginning of the 50s. It could be said that the father was Elvis Presley who was given the nickname of the king of Rock and roll. However, many argue that this genre was born when a black Saint Louis singer, Chuck Berry, discovered that young white kids listened to rhythm’n’blues and country. He thought of creating a hybrid between black and white music and in the end Rock and Roll was born. But this genre, from which the Rock was born in the 1960s, was rooted in many styles including jazz, blues, boogie woogie, folk and gospel, all of which share their origins, African American music.
The Origin of the Name
Roy Brown used in one of his songs (Good Rocking Tonight) the word Rocking, already widespread among gospel singers to indicate mystical ecstasy, intended as a certain irony, to describe a passionate night. After the song was released, many musicians used the phrase “rocking and rolling” in their song titles. Finally, in 1949 Wild Bill Moore definitively consecrated the genre, calling Rock and Roll his own song.
To say who, how and to what extent has influenced and developed this genre is completely impossible. Songs like Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Lucille, Great Balls of Fire marked the beginning of a journey that gave birth to what we now call Rock, a multi-faceted genre that lends itself to countless variations: punk rock, hard rock, progressive rock. As early as the second half of the 1950s this style began to evolve and change according to the tastes and moods of the time.
Decline and rebirth
The same Rock and Roll in the 1960s came to a sharp halt. It was during this time that many musicians died, including Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, while The King, Elvis, joined the army and Chuck Berry was arrested. Despite the rapid decline, Rock and Roll had taken root and from it was reborn with the new forms of Rock.
In the sixties there is a new beginning. The birth of sub genres creates true icons. Starting from 1961 when the Californian Beach Boys invented the “Surf Rock”, a Rock & Roll in which the vocal and melodic part was very accentuated, this music was the background for moments of fun on the beach and at parties. Later, however, the Rock & Roll became busier and tied to politics, an example is Bob Dylan’s Folk who sang the pacifist hymn blowin ‘in the wind.
In the same period the Beat was born that influenced young people from all over the world, with the timeless Beatles that revolutionized the way of making music, the Animals with their the house of the rising sun, the Who of my generation and obviously the Rolling Stones. Towards the end of the 60s, during the student movement, the “Psychedelic Rock” of artists like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and Doors developed, linked to the hippie movement born in those years.
Another decade and new genres are born and evolve from the genus of Rock. In the early 70s, especially in England, there was a real explosion of creativity. The main genres of the period were the “Glam rock” by artists such as Elton John and David Bowie, and the “Progressive” by Genesis and Jethro Tull and finally also “the Hard Rock” that would later evolve into “Heavy Metal”. The forerunners of the new genre were Led Zeppelin, accompanied by Alice Cooper, ZZ Top and Deep Purple.
In the second half of the 70s the “Punk” was born, inspired by groups that played an alternative Rock, like Television and Talking Heads. The first Punk group ever was the Ramones who with their songs marked an era. It was the period in which it was not necessary to know how to play well to make music. It was enough to take the guitar and form one’s own group. In England many groups were formed following the example of the Ramones, among the most famous are obviously the Sex Pistols who gave shape and content to the Punk, their mission was simple: to kill the commercial Rock. But their plan failed with the Clash, which opened the doors of Punk to Rock, Reggae, Ska and New Wave.
In the early 1980s, the “New Wave” phenomenon developed for groups such as Dire Straits and Sting’s Police, which mixed Rock and Pop. In this period rock was “mutant”, as it mixed with electronics and other genres. During the same years there was also a return to classic rock, the “King” of this revival is certainly Bruce Springsteen. There was also a return to psychedelia and garage rock with groups like Velvet Underground and REM.
In the 90s the alternative scene called “Grunge” developed, Groups like Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam shouted their anger in full. In this period the phenomenon of Cross Over was born. The mixing of different genres gave birth to an infinity of genres and sub genres.
The 2000s until today
In these years the Pop Rock evolves and the Indie Rock is born. In reality Indie Rock originated in the eighties but only in the new century has its true and own explosion. The term indie derives from the contraction of the term independent. It refers to a genre of music (that of independent record labels) characterized by a different approach with respect to the methods of production.
It was generally opposed to those used in mass pop music produced and distributed by major record companies. The peculiarity of indie rock groups and authors originally resided mainly in the mostly autonomous approach. Often they to do everything on their own. The registration phase, but also in the publication and distribution. Some of them also the organization of their own concerts.
The musical genres are in continuous evasion and the rock is no exception. Periodically there are always innovations that enrich every genre and sub genre.
I hope you enjoyed this post and don’t hesitate to comment.