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The Music Of The 1950s: Elvis Presley

1286 words - 5 pages

The music of the 1950s showed an incredible mixing of the cultures represented in the United States. The music of the 1950’s was led and created by a number of people like B.B. King, Elvis Presley, and Little Richard. The “50’s music” was influenced greatly by the African American culture of the South. Blues and Jazz played a tremendous role in bringing out new music genres during that time. One of those was the big rock craze.
Elvis Presley was one of the biggest recording artists of that time period (PBS 1). He helped to start the big rock craze of the 50s. His first big break was a song known as Heartbreak Hotel (PBS 1). Elvis listened to African American gospel music and integrated that style into many of his best known songs . He sold millions of records and his popularity helped to make rock music popular . Elvis Presley made it possible for music from the different cultures to be brought over and intermixed . Elvis performed with a sexuality that appealed to young teens of the 50s. He signaled to mainstream culture that it was time to move on from the old and onto the new. He also became the perfect target for critics, parents and clergymen because of his explicit display of sexually suggestive undulations while on stage (PBS 1).
Another very popular artist during the 1950’s was a man known as B.B. King. He was born with the name Riley B.King but later on went by the stage name of B.B. King (Wilson 1). He was known as the “King of the blues” because of his love for blues jazz. He was also known as the “ambassador of the blues .” B.B. King kept up traditional blues trends while also keeping up with modern music trends during the 1950s (Wilson 1). He was best known for his single note solos on his well known Gibson guitar, “Lucille”. B.B. King managed to change with the rest of the music industry yet still stay true to his well grounded cultural roots. He brought the blues from the background into the spotlight. He made the rock style of blues very popular during the 50s. “I’ve always felt that there’s nothing wrong with listening to and trying to learn more,” King has said. “You just can’t stay in the same groove all the time.” (Wilson 1) He believed that it was okay to move on and try something new instead of being stuck in the same trend. B.B. King had deep roots in black gospel and blues music. He helped to form a new form of music that brought multiple cultures together.
Little Richard was another very influential music artist during the 50s. Little Richard grew up in a bad home. He was thrown out of his home at a young age because of his sexuality, Little Richard was gay. His father did not approve of his sexuality. As a young teen in the 50s, Little Richard had a passion for music and playing the piano. Even though he was gay, which many people may not have been aware of, he was extremely popular as a musical artist. Little Richard tried to start a career but it did not take off on a running start as he thought that it would. As he...

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