In the 1950’s, a new era of music began. At the time, this music was little more than blues with some electric guitar. Alan Freed, a popular disc jockey (DJs had their own radio programs, hosted record hops or dances and soon had television shows.), called it “rock and roll.” Some of the first people to play this way were Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. In the beginning, there were some “rules” that producers followed. The first was that success in the past meant success today. The second rule is the opposite, find something new and different to impress the audience.
Rock and roll has evolved and changed throughout the years. In the 1950’s, it wasn’t much different from blues. The 1960’s had many new types of rock branch out. There was progressive rock, folk rock, and heavy metal. There was also the British Invasion, when rock and roll made its way from the UK to the US. From the British Invasion came the Beatles. In the 1970’s, some struggling bands were angry that they couldn’t have any elaborate equipment. In response to this, they made a new genre called “punk.” It rejected all elaborate equipment and musical knowledge. Punk branched off into many new types of music called, as a group, the New Wave. The 1980’s had heavy metal bands with crazy hair and wacky music. There was also indie and alternative rock. The 1990’s brought grunge with it. Grunge has guitar with feedback and dark lyrics. It expressed teenage angst.
Chuck Berry was born at Wentzville, Missouri, in 1926. His music was influenced by blues and country-style rock. His songs like “Roll Over, Beethoven” and “Johnny B. Goode” influenced many bands, such as The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys.
Buddy Holly was born at Lubbock, Texas, in 1936. He started out singing country music. When he began singing his songs in a rock and roll style, he became one of the first pioneers of rock and roll. Buddy Holly’s first big hit was “That’ll be the Day.” Sadly, he died in a plane crash at the age of 22.
Rock has changed a lot to be what it is today. Some people might even say rock and roll is just anything popular on the radio. Now we have soft rock, rap, emo, death metal, black metal, thrash metal, classic, and so many more. Old bands, such as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, are considered “classic rock.” It is a very different type of music than it was before, expressing something for everyone and fitting everyone’s taste. Rock and roll is an amazing type of music that I hope you have learned more about.