History Of Rock N Roll

This article, the history of rock n roll will harmony definition take a journey back in time. To the birth of rock n roll.

If something goes on today socially then it is reflected in the music we listen to, well back in the forties, fifties, sixties etc. the same thing happened.

So in order for us to get a better understanding of the history of rock n roll, we need to take a look at what was happening politically and socially at the time.

So let's step back in time to the fifties, where the birth of rock n roll comes about. Music at the time was basically reflecting what was going on socially.

i.e. America just emerged from World War II, the economy was booming, and people were happy and had more money to be going out and enjoy themselves. The music of the time reflected this; being enjoyable, pretty, no controversy going on etc.

Also at the same though, very sad things were going on. Segregation was happening and the country was divided between "White" and "Colored" and of course this also had an effect on the music at the time.

Before rock n roll the three major music markets were:

Because rock n roll uses elements of all three of these genres we will take a brief look at them all to get a better understanding of the history of rock n roll.

The 3 Influences On Rock N Roll


A lot of pop music up until the fifties was written by songwriters at "Tin Pan Alley", an area in New York where all the publishing houses were based. Main characteristics of pop music were:

The pop market was a national market and was very profitable at the time with the major labels having a stranglehold on the music industry.

Check out these songs to get an idea of what the music was like:


Country and Western was a slightly smaller market and was more regional, being based mainly in the southern states of America.

Basically the country and western labels were independent labels (or indies). Low budget, few artists and used singles rather than albums as it was cheaper. They weren't the same sophisticated machine that the pop major labels were. It was geared towards white adults

Check out these songs to get an idea of what the music was like:


Probably the most obvious connection between these three styles and rock n roll comes from rhythm and blues. The rhythm and blues market was black orientated and ran by independent labels. Within the history of rock n roll this style of music was with out a doubt the biggest influence on rock n roll as we know it today and when you listen back to the records you can really hear it.

Check out these songs to get an idea of what the music was like:

The Rise Of Rock N Roll

During the early fifties the pop, country & western and rhythm & blues markets all coexisted as 3 separate entities. What started to happen then was what we call "crossovers" which was when artists that originated in one market crossed over into a different one.

It was these crossovers and merging together of different styles that gave birth to rock n roll.

You have to remember that before rock n roll music most of the music market was orientated towards the adults, for the simple reason that adults was were the money was at. So if you were a kid growing up then you pretty much listened to whatever music your parents were listening to. Of course when rock n roll came along all that changed.

But this all changed during the mid fifties when the youth of America started to have more money due to the economical boom that was happening, this meant they had more disposable income to spend on things like records, cars, clothes etc.

rebel without a cause blackboard jungle What started to happen was the evolvement of the "teenager" as we know today.

Films such as "Rebel Without A Cause" and "Blackboard Jungle" played a major role in this creating the whole "Rebellious" attitude often associated with teenagers and rock music.

rock around the clock
So this in turn encouraged the teenagers to do their own thing and listen to their own music.

Throughout the history of rock n roll there has been a lot of influential players but probably the most famous song for bringing rock n roll to the mainstream was Bill Hailey and the Comets 1954 hit "rock around the clock" which featured in the film "Blackboard Jungle".

This was the first rock n roll song in the history of rock n roll to top the billboard charts and thus opened the door worldwide for this new wave of popular culture.

Following this was when of the biggest stars in the history of rock n roll came to fruition, the king himself, Elvis Presley. The story of Elvis is a topic all in itself so I wont go into it here but he really did change the face of music and from that point on things would never be the same.

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