When we hear it we think good music with guitars and strong beats. However 60 years ago the term inspired a very different reaction, at least from part of the population. As much loved as the genre is today, it was…
Husbands went to work. Woman stayed home with the children. Children went to school and hoped to either be the quarterback or homecoming queen. It was the ideal interpretation of white middle class suburbia; a very orderly and conservative time. IT was, also, a time of segregation, racial tension, and a need for boiling social change just under the surface. “Rock ‘n’ Roll was everything that the 1950s suburbia was not.” ("America Rocks and Rolls") Needless to say, parents were shocked when they heard the “new” music that their children were listening to. Despite some popular ideas that rock ‘n’ roll just suddenly appeared onto the scene is hardly true, ”It came about gradually over time through many cultural and musical influences.”
(Garafalo, and Bowman) The origins can be traced to rhythm and blues, jazz, country, zydeco, latin elements all mixed together. In cities like New Orleans, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Cincinnati is where the seeds had first taking root. As great artists like Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, and Little Richard were already bringing these inspirational beats and amplified instrumentation to audiences. This “black” music was spreading quickly and the sounds were attracting white teens. “Children were moving to a new beat.” ("America Rocks and Rolls") However, due to racial issues these talented artists were not getting the airplay they needed to be recognized beyond local circles.
Record producers were seeing the potential of this “new” music and its obvious growing popularity. They hoped that by recording white performers covering the works of the black performers would make it more marketable. This was a failure. These hired performers had thinned out and softened the feeling and passion of the songs that had made them so inspiring to begin with. It was a not until a white southern boy, with good looks, a soulful sound, and gyrating hips became the “new” face that would popularize the ...
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