Rock And Roll

In this essay, I’m going to introduce to the reader a

topic not touched a lot because of its complexity and its avoidance by

conservative adults. This topic is, of course, Rock Music. During one

week, I looked for information in the library and at my house, and from

the information I gathered and my one knowledge about the topic, I’m

going to lead the reader to a better understanding of Rock n’ Roll. I

chose to do Rock music because I can identify myself with it. Rock music

is very complex. In fact "It’s stylistic scope is to broad to be

encompassed by any single definition" ("Rock Music", Groliers, p.1). The

nearest definition suggests a kind of music that represents and speaks

for the teenage society. This music is characterized by using a heavy

beat. In this essay, I’m going to divide Rock music into four sections:

Rock of the 50´s, of the 60´s, of the 70´s and of the 80´s. Within these

sections I’m also going to discuss several sub-topics such as famous

composers and groups, and characteristics of the music.

The first section of this essay is Rock n’ Roll of the

1950’s, when Rock n’ Roll was born. It emerged from rhythm and blues, a

music similar to jazz played by blacks. This kind of music started to

attract white teenagers. Disc jockey Alan Freed was the one who

introduced this music and later gave it the name of Rock n’ Roll. Record

companies distributed records played by whites but composed by blacks.

Whites were frustrated because there weren’t any white artists and they

didn’t want the blacks to be the stars until Bill Haley appeared with his

"Rock Around the Clock". In this decade, Elvis Presley introduced a music

that was sexual suggestive and outraged dull adults. In time he changed

the style of the music by adopting a country and western style and became

a national hero. By the end of this decade and the start of the next,

Rock n’ Roll started to decline because it was formula ridden and it was

too sentimental. Teenage audiences transferred their allegiance to Folk


In 1963 the renewal of Rock n’ Roll came when The Beatles

started to play. The Beatles, for some the best rock group ever, were

from Liverpool, England. Through the 60’s, The Beatles dominated the

record industries and with their dominant instrumentation, which

included: electric leads, rhythm, and bass guitar, drums and sometimes an

electric organ, changed the name of Rock n’ Roll to just Rock. During the

1960’s many other styles of music arose from Rock like, Motown, Soul

music, Jazz-rock , Folk-rock and others.

Folk-Rock the most appreciated of this derivations and was

first suggested by Bob Dylan. This kind of music brought to folk music a

hard beat and amplification; and to Rock, a new poetic style. California

was one of the major centers of rock activity and experimentation during

the decade. First it was characterize for its surfing music, a very

joyful music that reflected the fun people had while surfing. The Beach

Boys were the ones who introduced this kind of music.

At the end of the century this happy kind of music changed

to a more rebellious style that was designated the name of "hippie

music". Groups that played this music were Country Joe and The Mamas and

The Papas. Along with this hippie ideas popularity of hallucinogenic

drugs produced a psychedelic style of music called Acid Rock. By the end

of the 60´s the distinctions between Rock n´ Roll and Rock were evident.

The early instruments- saxophone, piano, amplified guitar, and drums- had

been changed to electric guitar and bass, amplified drums and other

electronic devices. Not only did the instruments change but so did the

ideas behind the music. For example, "to the lyrics of teenage love and

adolescent concerns were added social commentary, glorification of drugs

and free-association poetry"("Rock Music", Groliers, p.1). Groups like

The Beach Boys, Crew Cuts and The Everly Brothers were replaced by more

imaginative, non-descriptive names groups like The Who, Jefferson

Airplane, Big Brother and Holding Company. The Who, the most famous of

these groups, were originally from England and were reknowned because of

their bizarre stage performances, they