I absolutely adore Rock & Roll music! There is nothing like a Beatles or a Rolling Stones song to make you feel energized in the morning. The moment I hear the sweet riffs and beautiful drum beats, I wanna put on my shoes and dance like nobody’s looking. Rock & Roll is not just mere loudness; its passion, intensity, honesty, charisma, and excitement all rolled in one. It’s influence can be seen even today in movies, music, lifestyle, language and culture. But in order to truly understand Rock & Roll, it is important to understand how it came to be and how influential it was for America in a time when racial tensions were very high.
Although Rock & Roll is heard by everyone around the world, it first originated from the USA in the early 40’s. Electrify blues music, add a dash of country music to it and there you have it, Rock & Roll music in its rawest form. This music form came at a time when racial tensions in the US was moving to a new phase, with black citizens asking for their basic rights. Rock & Roll music was ‘in your face’ rebellious, and fought against the stereotypes that were rampant around then. It was a way that both black and white teenagers could identify themselves. Because of this, both black and white teenagers liked rock ‘n’ roll, they were more likely to interact and be willing to break the barriers of prejudice that have existed for generations.
Unfortunately, also provoked strong reactions from people like religious leaders, government officials, and parent groups, who branded it the “devil’s music.” Many white parents in the 1950s and 1960s tried to ban their children from listening to rock ‘n’ roll believing that it was to provocative and exposed their children to “black lifestyles.”
Nevertheless, Rock & Roll was the one thing that could bring groups of racially different people together for the same purpose, music enjoyment and entertainment. It allowed people to forget about the tension and anger in the world around them and enjoy the sounds great music. It also paved the way for originality, self expression, free thought and allowed artists to speak on political issues and influence government.
Here is an ode to those legends of Rock & Roll who made great contributions to the music industry, whose impact on culture and society is undeniable. Here are the 5 legendary names from the Rock & Roll era that live on in our hearts and minds :-
5) Chuck Berry (1926 – 2017) – Chuck Berry, also known as the “Father of Rock & Roll” is a pioneer in this genre. He was an amazing singer, songwriter and guitarist. His music usually consisted of deceptively simple tunes, many constructed with simple chord progressions and classic verse-chorus-verse formats. He is well-known for songs like “Johnny.B.Goode”, “Maybellene” and “Rock and Roll music”. He is the only Rock & Roll Star to have his music sent to outer space on a satellite called “The Voyager”.
Here is a live performance of his song “Johnny.B.Goode” by him that portrays his amazing stage presence and musical talent :-
4) The Rolling Stones (1962 – present) – The Rolling Stones is a British Rock & Roll band that fused its music with other genres like Blues, Soul, R&B, Country, Jazz, etc to make music unique to them. The band was formed by best friends Keith Richards and Mick Jagger who bought the band together in 1962. They were known dubbed as “World’s Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band” in the 70s. Well known songs by them include “(I can’t get no) Satisfaction,” “Paint It Black,””Gimme Shelter” among many others.
This song made Rolling Stones the huge success we know today. With a catchy guitar riff and relatable lyrics, this song is arguably the greatest song of all time. Check it out :-
3) Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977) – Everyone has heard off the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. His golden voice, hip-swinging and stage presence made him one of the pioneers of Rock and Roll revolution. His style of music was very diverse incorporating everything from hillbilly rave-ups and blues wails to pop-crooner ballads. In 1954, he began his singing career with Sun Record Labels in Memphis. By the time 1956 rolled in, he was an internationally recognized singer and star, also the year in which he recorded the song “Heartbreak Hotel,”. He is also known for songs such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Hound Dog” and “Love Me Tender.”
This song by the movie “Jailhouse Rock” will get you hip-swinging like you’re in the 70s :-
2) Bob Dylan (1941 – present) – Robert Zimmerman aka “Bob Dylan” is one of the most influential singer-songwriters of the 20th century. He was a voice of a generation in the 60s and through his music, he talked about social and political issues that plagued his country. His songs “Blowin’ in the wind” and “The Times Are A Changin’” made him famous as they served as anthems for the rising anti-war and civil rights movements during the mid-60s. He is also versatile and has pivoted his style according to the times.
This song called “Mr. Tambourine Man” is mellow and has beautiful lyrics that will instantly put you in a good mood :-
1) The Beatles (1960 – 1970) – The Beatles are one of the most popular bands of all time formed in Liverpool, England, in 1960 by a man named John Lennon. He was a musical genius and the mastermind behind the very creation of this band. Him and Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr together were known as “The Fab Four”. Their music consisted of crisp harmonies and solid musicianship blended with beautiful yet energetic singing and playing. They are most popularly known for songs like “Yesterday,” “Here Comes the Sun” and “A Day in the Life,” among many others.
Listen to one of the finest love songs of all time “Hey Jude” and bask in the glory of the Beatles :-
As the decades went by, not only did rock n’ roll keep its groove, but it also evolved into other forms of rebellious attitude and music that delivers strong messages. In other words, the purpose of rock came to be more than for just pure enjoyment. Rock music has evolved into many sub genres and is a far cry from its origins.