History Of Rock And Roll
Over the decades, historians have repeatedly disagreed on the history of rock and roll music. While many claim that rock and roll found its origins in 1950, others argue that rock and roll truly began in the 1920s, as rock and roll musicians were generally inspired by various musical genres including mainstream music, country and western, and rhythm and blues (R&B).
The true origins of rock and roll began prior to the popularity of televisions. Music was mainly heard on the radio in living rooms across the nation. Sounds of live bands or studio acts would fill the airwaves of family homes.
The "big band era" from 1935 to 1945 saw the emergence of lead singers which changed mainstream music in a big way. Artists started leaving their bands to venture off into the music industry alone as soloists. Perhaps the most famous soloist of the 1940s was Frank Sinatra. He attracted a huge audience, setting the stage for different music tastes across the nation.
Despite mainstream music winning over the majority of listeners, the southeast, southwest, and west were enjoying country songs focused on cowboys and subjects of the like. Most of the country music in this era were influenced by the white gospel community, but later, traditional folk merged with cowboy themes to create "country and western" music. The Grand Ole Opry became the "capital" of country and western and Hank Williams became the first star of the genre. Later, "country and western" styles would find their way into rock and roll music.
In the late 1940s and 1950s, R&B began attracting a larger audience. The styles of R&B included a variety of different genres including acapella "doo-wop" and the gospel music of the black community. While R&B had enjoyed significant success and airplay, it wasn't entirely accepted in the white mainstream community as the music often included sexual references and was performed by African American talents. Ray Charles was one of the most influential R&B performers of the time. While adults didn't exactly approve R&B music, teenagers, including the white suburban youth turned to the R&B to rebel against their parents values.
After Les Paul's invention of the electric guitar, the emergence of rock and roll accelerated. Teenagers hoping to defy their parents turned to tunes that were different from those of their parents, including Little Richard and Chuck Berry. Rock and roll gained national attention as teens explored this "wild side" of music. Elvis Presley soon hit the music scene and was deemed "The King of Rock and Roll." His style of music mixed country styles with rhythm and blues and gained fans from all races all over the United States. Elvis created the path for future rock and roll musicians including Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis.
As many of the great rock and roll musicians left the music scene, rock and roll met its fate. Rock and roll soon became part of the mainstream, mixed in with every other music genre and lost its true genres of country and western, and rhythm and blues. True rock was eventually pushed aside as catchy dance beats took center stage.