Rock ‘N’ Roll: A Turn In Society Rock ‘n’ Roll began to boom in the 1950’s. The music of Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and of course Elvis Presley quickly became popular to the younger American generation. As for most parents or older Americans, they were afraid that this new style of music would promote sex and rebellious behavior. Rock ‘n’ Roll music however, did so much more for the United States in the 1950’s and 60’s. Because it started in the black culture, Rock ‘n’ Roll was bound to change American views on race.
It explores how the Rock and Roll culture was able to roughly integrate and later conflict with preceding cultural values. This is especially apparent in chapters regarding race and sexuality. Overall, Rock and Roll was extremely controversial amongst parents and educators. This new music genre was condemned by the previous generation as noise and a threat to established cultural norms. However, this genre of music was able to challenge racial barriers, teen sexuality, and family values.
The diverse age of Rock and Roll existed concurrently with the movement to grant civil rights to African Americans in the establishment of a new genre of music. When it first became known, with its wild sound and influence over a younger audience that involved sex, drugs, and a social change from past norms, white, religious, middle class and elderly groups interpreted it as a risqué and obscene music genre. Adults mainly disapproved of Rock and Roll’s sexual lyrics and its performers with the rebellious attitudes it created, and that it originated from African American culture. In most cases, parents disliked white youth listening to “black sounding” music and attending concerts where half the audience and artists were black. Changing racial attitudes and the popularity of Rock and Roll music encouraged American white racial barriers to be threatened by white and black teenagers.
Research Proposal: The Social Realities of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Birth and the Teenager The story of the birth of rock ‘n’ roll has a mythical quality to it. It speaks of racial barriers bridged through the fusion of Afro-American musical styles with white popular music in 1950s America. Not only did white record producers and radio disc jockeys market Afro-American artists, but white artists began to cover their songs, as well as incorporate Afro-American style into their own song writing. The musical style was so powerful that the white audience was infected by it, despite the social stigma that listening to “race music” possessed. The common view of teenagers’ participation in the creation of rock ‘n’ roll as an act of rebellion runs parallel with the music’s legendary origins.
They felt helpless and viewed the government in a very strong negative way based on the lack of help African American’s were given in the contexts of housing, education, and living. As rap music developed and more artists started bringing their own styles to the hip hop community more messages were being brought. Hip hop as a culture was formed on the political views of many black gang bangers who society cast aside and never thought would even be able to have political thoughts. In the mid nineties rap changed in a way that surprised many by having female artists come onto the scene. They were usually portrayed in a degrading manner by male artists in their lyrics and videos, but now women came forward and described themselves as sexual beings and how they have power over men based on their sexuality.
At the time "Rock & Roll" was an urban african american term for sex, I think Alan realized that the popular white culture would be turned off by the term R&B, which was mainly associated with black artists, so he decided to give it a different name and expose that style of music to the general public. His radio name and nickname was "Moondog". These were also the names of his non-segregated concerts in which black and white teenagers came to listen to good rock & roll regardless of the singer's color. Moondog Balls were very popular and drew much criticism from white parents. At the first Moondog Ball over 25,000 kids, mostly white, showed up in the March of 1925 in Cleveland.
However their disapproval only added to Elvis’s popularity and made him a hero to the young people. These older conservative types saw Rock and Roll as the start of a dangerous trend where the morals and values that were so important to them were under threat. Rock and Roll originated in New Orleans where it was performed for a black audience in clubs, and this is a very important part of why it was considered to be inappropriate for a white audience. Indeed many people believed Rock and Rolls sole purpose was to bring young white people down to the level of the black people. Young people were breaking away from the ways of life and conservative attitudes, habits and past times of their parents and defining themselves through music.
In the 1950’s, segregation was a popular lifestyle within the United States. Segregation was the separation between the blacks and whites. Most black people were discriminated against just by the color of their skin, but with the help of Elvis Presley’s music he helped break those barriers between the white and black communities. Presley exposed the new generation of white Americans to the culture of African Americans. Demonstrating in which the ways they were treated and especially the difference in the style of music they listen to.
The civil rights movement was one of the biggest social changes in history and was a time where a lot of great artist prevailed and made songs on the issue. Elvis Presley showed just how social changes could influence or reflect the history of rock “n” roll. Presley started a culture, his hairstyle, the way he dressed all became part of the youth around the country. As I said our country was fighting its own war with segregation, Elvis music help bring people together. His music not on appealed white crowds, but black crowds listened to him as well.
Bill Haley officially made the new genre “rock” music when his song “(Were Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” appeared in the movie Blackboard Jungle in 1955, breaking rock into the mainstream (Kallen, 2012, 14). Although Haley is credited for bringing rock to mainstream, other black artists such as B.B. King, Little Milton, Howling Wolf, and Ike Turner were the true pioneers of the rock music style but were not as popular because of their race. After the success of Haley, a Memphis studio owner, Sam Phillips was desperately looking for a rock artist that could become mainstream, Sam had previously recorded for other talented black artists but their music wasn’t getting as much attention because of racial prejudice. Phillips’ dream of promoting a rock musician became true when a young man named Elvis Presley recorded a demo in his studio in 1954 (Kallen, 2012, 18).