From its very beginning, rock ‘n’ roll was the rebellious music. It was marked by the unprecedented demand and its newness. It emerged during the 1950s and made a bombshell impact on the pop market. The time went by, but rock ‘n’ roll culture is still with us, as it managed to preserve its rebellious spirit and still encourages people to add color to their daily life.
Brief Historical Sketch
Rock and roll appeared as a result of mixing rhythm and blues, boogie-woogie, and country. The first rock and roll song “Rocket88” was performed by Ike Turner in 1951, and the first hit was “Rock Around the Clock” sung by Bill Haley in 1954. Before the advent of rock and roll, Americans preferred commercial orchestras that accompanied the celebrities.
Youth experienced the thirst of expression and idols, which caused mass hysteria. As a result, young people turned to the wave of black stations. White people started showing interest in black music; that was the time when Alan Freed began playing such kind of music during his radio broadcasts. He called it rock ‘n’ roll. He coined this name from the popular song “We’ll Rock, We’ll Roll”. Freed was the first to broadcast this name on air. It became the newest term for this musical genre. This was not the end as Alan started popularizing rock ‘n’ roll arranging special balls. At these balls, black and white people gathered together, and such meetings escalated into mass brawls. Having learned about that, American public declared a war against rock ‘n’ roll.
Radio and television were overwhelmed with the statements of famous personalities, who emphasized that rock ‘n’ roll destroyed America. Moreover, schools forbade teens to wear jeans as they perceived it as an attribute of the so-called “black contagion”. The situation has changed after the release of the famous movie “Jungle Slates”, which contained the rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack performed by Bill Haley; after this movie release, the public started accepting this musical style.
During the 1960s, rock ‘n’ roll became the center of youth culture. Young people started perceiving it as a new religion.
Before the emergence of rock ‘n’ roll, young people were imitating their parents. Rock ‘n’ roll has changed it. It created a separate tribe, with its own rituals, uniform, secrets, language, and music. It was noisy, rough, flashy, and energetic. Undoubtedly, Elvis Presley was the most famous rock ‘n’ roll performer. Elvis Presley was the first rock ‘n’ roll superstar, who popularized rock ‘n’ roll on a wider scale than any other single performer. By 1956, he had emerged as the singing sensation of the nation. He was considered the “king of rock ‘n’ roll”. This man was immensely popular and was even perceived as a sex symbol.
Growing up in a poor southern family, as a youngster Presley was exposed to both country and western music as well as black musical traditions that fed rhythm and blues. Because of the strong country music sensibility that Presley brought to his singing, he was responsible for pioneering the popular sub-genre of rock ‘n ‘roll that came to be called “rockability”. Presley was probably the performer most responsible for distinguishing rock ‘n’ roll as a certain musical form, separate from the rhythm and blues that constituted so much of its original makeup. Presley was the leader allowing white America or those who felt disinclined to embrace “black” music and accept rock ‘n’ roll as their own.
It should be emphasized that Presley’s music represented the mix of white and black culture into one mainstream; such a fusion has never been witnessed before. Elvis had an advantage over all contenders, as he was familiar yet exotic. Strangeness of his sound and person made him even more thrilling.
The name of Elvis Presley is generally considered to be the synonym to rock ‘n’ roll as his name evokes direct connotations with this musical style. This is because he was the person that made it popular all over the world. He filled this style with his personality, his great songs, and his soul.
For me personally, rock ‘n’ roll means a lot because of its rebellious nature. This is the musical style, which promoted the brave new start. Before it appeared, young people were the dull copies of their adult parents. They wore standard clothes, behaved well, and lived colorless life. Rock ‘n’ roll has changed human existence. Young people stopped being dolls in the hands of their parents and showed the world that they had their own ambitions. This moment is particularly essential for me. The thing is that rock ‘n’ roll was not just relaxing type of music, it evoked concrete actions, united millions of teenagers, and promoted life with its pros and cons. People should live their lives, they have to feel them, and rock ‘n’ roll turned to be the music, which opened human eyes and souls.
Every time I listen to the famous rock ‘n’ roll hits, I feel how the rebellious energy wakes up inside me. I feel that I can change my life and overcome all the difficulties on my way. This kind of music affects me as an individual and causes inner changes. Rock ‘n’ roll is with a part of my life, and I like it because nearly every song of this style has a deep meaning.
This is not just silly “I love you”, but strong words combined with energetic rhythm. I would also like to note that this kind of music is really significant to me, because it is tightly linked with the historical past of my country. It is not just music of nowhere, it is totally American music. You cannot just listen to it; you should feel it to grasp the gist!
It should be emphasized that rock ‘n’ roll was not just a musical style; it was a unique culture marked by its own customs and traditions. This music has changed millions of lives and inserted passion and sexuality in human hearts. Even today, the impact of rock ‘n roll still could be felt. It is immortal, because it still exists in human souls.