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Rock And Roll Essay

1436 words - 6 pages

Rock And RollThroughout history major social transformations have taken place that has changed how people perceive themselves and the world around them. With each social reformation, cultural forms and institutions also change as well as their meanings. For Example, "The development of recording and electronic communication within United States capitalism spurred the unique coming together of disparate music traditions in twentieth century United States society."(Gilmore 61) The development of these technologies allowed music to reach beyond regional boundaries. The most influential form of music spread across the nation is rock and roll. Rock is defined as "a genre of popular music originating in the 1950s; a blend of Black rhythm-and-blues with White country-and-western; "rock is a generic term for the range of styles that evolved out of rock'n'roll."(Webster) Rock and roll is the fusion of several distinct types of music. Rock and roll's unique sound is a blend of the blues, country, folk and pop. Music has always been a popular means of likeminded people to express their ideas, but never before had rock music been able to influence society in such numerous ways.The merged black and white musical traditions of the early white rock and rollers, most especially Presley, introduced the entire nation to elements of black music. While Elvis was not the first artist to play what became known as rock and roll, he was able to popularize it. Unlike his predecessors, Elvis had the charisma, voice and good looks needed to accomplish the task; more importantly though, he was white. He became the perfect tool for rock music to begin to reach white and black people across America. Rock and roll transported black culture out of the confines of black communities and into white homes and vice versa. It represented white America's first love of something black. Rock and roll was a step blacks used to slowly gain acceptance into a culture that had previously been off limits. It let blacks and whites take a peek into each others' lives, breaking the barriers between the two groups. Rock and roll made possible greater acceptance, appreciation, and a wider audience for black culture. "The strength of the rock and roll generation's break with previous attitudes, which first manifested it musically, would reach full fruition in the social and political upheavals of the sixties."(Lipscomb and Stuessy 83)Much of the power created by Elvis and those that followed him, such as Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry, had dissipated by the end of the fifties. There seemed to be declining interest in hearing another twelve bar blues song. The payola hearings had also put a serious damper on the many small independent record companies who had sponsored the majority of the previous rock mixture. (83) Popular music in the late fifties and early sixties was characterized by the fact that the performer was just a tool used by the producer to create a hit...

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