Blog #24
Blog #24: Genre of the week
Rock n' Roll

Rock n' Roll

Rock and roll is a form of rock music developed in the 1950's and 1960's. Rock music combines many kinds of music from the United States, such as country music, folk music, gospel music, work songs, blues, and jazz.

Rock and roll developed in the early 1950's from a kind of music called rhythm and blues (R 'n B) performed by black singers and musicians. At first, this music was popular only with African-Americans. In the later 1950's and in the 1960's, rock and roll became popular across the United States and in Europe. Rock still is popular today, but has lost the level of fame that it enjoyed between the 50's and 90's. 

Development of Rock n' Roll

Popularity for Rhythm and Blues music began to become much more widespread in the 1950's.  Radio stations began playing songs in this genre and access to it grew a great deal very quickly.  This music was seen as rebellious by both young people who wanted to rebel and adults who wanted it to stop.  Rock music began to form into its own genre from different parts of the country such as New Orleans and Memphis. 

Famous musicians of the 1950's: Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry 

As the genre began to expand, new sub forms of rock and Rn'B began to take root.  Motown grew as a genre between rock, soul, funk, and gospel in Detroit.  Surf Rock took over the California music scene.  Folk Rock began to combine influences of beatnik poetry and traditional folk/country sounds.  In the U.K. the popularity of the blues led to their own development of rock n' roll which made it's way to the U.S. shortly there after. 

Famous musicians of the 1960's: The Supremes, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, The Beatles

In the 1970's, rock continued to evolve with the times. Expanding soundscapes and use of effects and pedals on guitar, keyboard, and vocals pushed the genre into knew directions. Psychedelic rock pushed the genre into massive venues and stadiums with festivals such as Woodstock.  Progressive rock bands challenged their listeners with more complex harmonies and sounds that bordered on weird at times.  Heavy Metal was starting out and making rock louder, more distorted, and more aggressive.  Disco and punk, two other popular genres of the 70's, influenced musicians to gain popularity with a different group of audience members. 

Famous musicians of the 1970's: Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, The Bee Gees, The Ramones, The Clash

The 1980's saw rock at it's biggest stage, with everything being bigger, louder, and more produced.  Stadiums were the standard for many rock band shows.  Many shows included elaborate props, pyrotechnics, costumes, and more to produce a production rather than just a show.  Rock began to split into different directions again, as genres like metal, heavy metal, glam rock, and hair bands went big, and alternative rock went small.  This also saw the beginnings of the Grunge music scene that ruled the 1990's.  

Famous Musicians of the 1980's: Motley Crue, Ratt, Guns N' Roses, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, Pixies, The Cure.


1990's and beyond:
While rock continued to find popularity after the 1980's, there was a very different musical landscape for it to fight for listeners.  The quickly growing genre of rap and hip-hop was taking over the airwaves, while pop music was as in demand as ever.  The rise of the internet and the popularity of MTV helped people rely less on the radio and more on their own opinions of what they wanted to spend their money on.  Today, there are plenty of rock groups that are still making music, and even some new bands that are trying to keep rock alive, but its popularity is nothing like it was for the four decades from its start through the 1980's.  

Famous musicians of the 1990's and beyond: Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metalica, Green Day, Radio Head, Blink 182



Chuck Berry
"Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry

The Beatles
"Come Together" by The Beatles

Led Zeppelin
"Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin

Guns n' Roses
"Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns N' Roses

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana

Click this link to respond to the questions below

Listen to at least two of the listening examples and compare and contrast the differences and similarities between the two.

Why do you think a genre can be so popular for so long, and then lose its popularity?