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Rock and roll

Parents: music genre - counter culture

Bands and artists: Steve Albini - Clash - Cramps - The Gun Club - Ramones - Rolling Stones - Sex Pistols - Sonic Youth - Stooges - Suicide - Neil Young - Velvet Underground

Connoisseurs: Lester Bangs - Greil Marcus

New York Dolls, photocredit unidentified

London Calling (1979) - The Clash [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Related: art rock - black rock - garage rock - glam rock - guitar - hard rock - industrial music - krautrock - post-rock - progressive rock - punk - rockabilly - rockism - Rockers

Songs About Fucking (1988) - Big Black [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Essentially hybrid in origin, rock music includes elements of several black and white American music styles: black guitar-accompanied blues; black rhythm and blues, noted for saxophone solos; black and white gospel music; white country and western music; and the songs of white popular crooners and harmony groups. Emerging in the early fifties, rock music was initially referred to as “rock 'n' roll.” After 1964 it was simply called “rock music.” The change in terminology indicates both a continuity with and a break from the earlier period; rock music was no longer just for dancing. After 1964 the music was influenced by British groups such as the Beatles. --Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2004.

From [an] "alternative" point of view (one that puts creativity before sales) there were three watershed years in the history of rock music: 1955, when Chuck Berry invented rock and roll; 1966, when Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, the Doors, the Velvet Underground and others caused a massive revolution in a slumbering music scene; 1976, when the "new wave" and punk-rock caused a similar revolution in a similarly slumbering scene. Each of these golden ages was followed by an era of "re-alignment" in which creativity was replaced by sell-out, as the record industry (and commercial bands) capitalized on the innovations of the previous years. --Piero Scaruffi


Rock and roll (also spelled Rock 'n' Roll, especially in its first decade), also called rock, is a form of popular music, usually featuring vocals (often with vocal harmony), electric guitars and a strong back beat; other instruments, such as the saxophone, are common in some styles. As a cultural phenomenon, rock's social impact on the world is likely unparalleled by any other kind of music. It has been credited with ending wars and spreading peace and tolerance, as well as corrupting the innocent and spreading moral rot. Rock has become popular across the globe, far from its birthplace in the United States, and evolved into a multitude of highly-varying styles.

The term rock and roll is broad, and its boundaries loosely-defined. It is sometimes used to describe a number of genres only distantly related, including soul, heavy metal and even hip hop. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_and_roll [Feb 2005]

Rock and Roll in the forties

Going back to the new music style of the late forties, it is interesting to note that the new music style was in place but it had no official name. The name for the music came, when the noted disc jockey Alan Freed (Albert James Freed, 1921-1965) went on the air again on the 11th July, 1951, with his first Rock and Roll Party in which he actually programmed black music for a white audience. Alan Freed had been talked into returning to radio by Leo Mintz, a record store owner in Cleveland, after a position as disc jockey at a television station, and Leo Mintz even suggested that Alan Freed should try to play the rocking tunes known as 'race records', that were so popular and bought in large numbers by the jukebox operators in the Negro neighborhoods. Alan Freed is said to have coined the new phrase from the lyrics of the 1947 rhythm'n'blues hit "We're Gonna Rock (We're Gonna Roll)" released on Apollo label by Wild Bill Moore (William M. Moore, 1918-1983), but Wild Bill Moore also recorded the tune "Rock and Roll" on Modern label in 1949. The same tune had in fact been released on Manor label by Paul Bascomb in 1947 before the record ban, so it might have been that tune instead that gave Alan Freed the new phrase. After Alan Freed had used the new phrase in his radio shows other disc jockeys at big radio stations all over America followed suit. -- http://juke-box.dk/gert-rocknroll.htm

Music of the United Kingdom and rock and roll

The UK was, with the US, one of the two main countries in the development of rock and roll, and has provided bands including The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Queen, Status Quo, the Sex Pistols, the Manic Street Preachers, Oasis, and Radiohead. Since then it has also pioneered in various forms of electronic dance music including acid house, drum and bass and trip hop, all of which were in whole or part developed in the United Kingdom. Acclaimed British dance acts include Underworld, Massive Attack, The Chemical Brothers and Portishead. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_of_the_United_Kingdom#Music [Apr 2005]

Social impact of rock and roll

From its beginnings, rock and roll has been associated with youth, rebellion, and anti-establishmentism. The combination of black influences, suggestive lyrics, and wild response by the younger set made rock and roll shocking and threatening to the older generation. The ability to shock the elders in turn became part of the appeal of the music to young people. Attempts to control the influence of rock often turned comical; after several previous television appearances became controversial, Elvis Presley was famously shown from the waist up (to avoid offending viewers with his suggestive hip swivels) on the Ed Sullivan show in 1956. Hollywood was quick to capitalize on the trend, turning out a series of rock-and-roll themed exploitation films designed to thrill teenagers and horrify adults.

As the original generations of rock and roll fans matured, rock music became an accepted and deeply-interwoven thread in popular culture. Beginning in the early 1970's, rock songs and acts began to be used regularly in television commercials; starting in the 1980s rock music was often featured in film and television program soundtracks. While mainstream rock music was no longer able to shock or offend, new forms of music, particularly Punk rock and Rap emerged to fill this role; people who as youths delighted in the effect rock and roll had on their parents found themselves railing in a similar fashion against their childrens' music. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_music#Social_Impacts

Rock and fashion

Rock music and fashion have also been inextricably linked. The tough, leather-clad image of early rockers such as Wayne Cochran in the U.S. and the Rolling Stones in the UK influenced a generation of young people on both sides of the ocean. A cultural war broke out in the late 1960s in the UK over the rivalry between the "Mods" (who favored high-fashion, expensive styles) and the "Rockers" (who wore T-shirts and leather); followers of each style had their favored musical acts, who eagerly fed into the conflict by releasing records praising one style and disparging another (the Mods versus Rockers controversy would form the backdrop for The Who's rock opera Quadrophenia). Rock musicians were early adopters of hippie fashion and introduced such styles as the Nehru jacket; bands such as the Beatles had custom-made clothing that influenced much of '60s style. As rock music genres became more segmented, what an artist wore became as important as the music itself in defining the intent and relationship to the audience. In the late 1970s, Disco acts helped bring flashy urban styles to the mainstream, while New Wave groups began wearing mock-conservative attire (including suit jackets and skinny ties) in an attempt to be as unlike mainstream rockers (who still favored blue jeans and hippie-influenced clothes) as possible. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_music

The "Sell Out" dilemma

Rock musicians and fans have consistently struggled with the paradox of "selling out" -- to be considered "authentic", rock music must keep a certain distance from the establishment and its constructs; however certain compromises must be made in order to become successful and to make music available to the public. This dilemma has created friction between musicians and fans, with some bands going to great lengths to avoid the appearance of "selling out" (while still finding ways to make a lucrative living). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_music

The Triumph of Vulgarity: Rock Music in the Mirror of Romanticism (1987) - Robert Pattison

  1. The Triumph of Vulgarity: Rock Music in the Mirror of Romanticism (1987) - Robert Pattison [Amazon.com]
    This is a provocative, opinionated study about the origins of rock and about rock as an idea. The author sees rock as grounded in the ideology of the American Revolution and as an extension of 19th-century Romanticism. He finds rock foreshadowed in Shelley and in the pantheism of Whitman. At the same time, he dwells on the vulgarity of rock (and youth, democracy, and popular culture), though he admits rock brings intense pleasure to many. He considers rock devoid of logic and perceives the lyrics as "trite, obscene, and idiotic." Nevertheless he has produced a logical critical study, which, for all its paradoxes, many will find valid and stimulating. Recommended for academic collections. Daniel J. Lombardo for From Library Journal

Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) - Joe Dante, Allan Arkush

  1. Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) - Joe Dante, Allan Arkush [Amazon.com]

    See Joe Dante

The Aesthetics of Rock (1970) - Richard Meltzer

  • The Aesthetics of Rock (1970) - Richard Meltzer [Amazon.com]
    The Aesthetics of Rock is a book by Richard Meltzer (born May 10, 1945). Written between 1965 and 1968, it was published in 1970. Da Capo Press in 1987 published an unabridged edition with a new foreword by Meltzer. It is one of the first works of rock-music criticism and analysis. He wrote it as an undergraduate at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and as a graduate student at Yale University, from which he was, as he relates in his foreword, "kicked out toot-sweet on my rock-roll caboose" for writing papers with rock-music themes for philosophy classes. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Aesthetics_of_Rock [Jul 2006]

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