Rock and Roll in the Early Fifties Essay

Rock and Roll in the Early Fifties Essay

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Rock and Roll in the Early Fifties

Hail, hail rock ‘n’ roll,
Deliver me from the days of old.
Long live rock ‘n’ roll
The beat of the drum is loud and bold,
Rock, rock, rock ‘n’ roll,
The spirit is there body and soul.”
- Chuck Berry (Hibbard and Kaleialoha, 19)

An African- American euphemism for making love, rock and roll spurred from all genres of music, but mainly that of folk, country, jazz, pop and rhythm & blues (Yorke, 11). It is a type of music that generally involves heavy pounding of the piano, a loud drum beat, saxophone backgrounds and boisterous shouting by the singer. It was a new blend of music emerging from 1948- 1951 as a result of a generation’s need to express their own identity. Originally, rock and roll was performed by black artists because it was a result of the incorporation of a more upbeat background to rhythm & blues. Examples of such artists would be Little Richard and Chuck Berry; both were coined “the fathers of rock and roll” even though they started out as rhythm & blues artists (Szatmary, 16). In context of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” the characters most likely to support rock and roll are Maggie, and Mae’s children. This new upbeat, new- age, gibberish was a symbol of independence, escapism, and rebellion for youths of the early1950’s (Brown, 4).

Although its initial peak of success occurred in 1956, rock and roll had been developing since 1951. The introduction of the 45 rpm disc, transistor radio, and television; and finally, its lively, upbeat sound all contributed to the success of rock and roll(Peterson, 102- 104). The “baby boomer” generation after the Second World War, was a major influence on the success of rock and roll. Unlike their parents, this g...


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... Roll. New Jersey:
Prentice- Hall Inc., 1996.

This book provides a very detailed outline on how and where rock and roll originated. It places much emphasis on the transition from Black to White rock artists and how society reacted to this change. Szatmary also presents sufficient information on the many aspects of rock and roll, ranging from what the lyrics are about, to the beginnings of rock and roll and new age rock.

- Yorke, Ritchie, Rock- The History of Rock’n’Roll. New York: Methuen/ Two Continents
Publications, 1976.

In Rock- The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Yorke provides a chronological approach to rock and roll from 1877- 1974. Although it is not extremely detailed, a general overview of each year’s music is presented. Throughout the book, many descriptive summaries of individual artists may be found along with classic pictures.

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