Early Rock n' Roll

1950's-Although aspects of it starting showing in earlier music, Rock n' Roll was considered to be born in the 1950's.  Blues, gospel, and country combined to create a unique style called Rock.  Many artists gained their fame among young crowds by performing on American Bandstand, a show that aired from 1952 until 1989.  Important artists from this decade that helped develop Rock n Roll include... Fats Domino- Fats Domino was known as an R&B and Rock n' Roll pianist.  You hear in this song a very common triplet pattern used in early rock n roll piano. Ain't That A Shame Fats was born and raised in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz.  His family was of French Creole background and his family was very musical.  His father played the violin and his uncles was involved in the jazz scene.

Chuck Berry- Roll Over Beethoven Chuck Berry is still alive and performing!  He's the only artist that we are talking about today from the 50's who is still alive.  When listening to his guitar playing you can hear the blues influence in his music.  He plays with bends in the notes and is an incredible improviser.  Chuck Berry received the nick name the "Eternal Teenager" because of his appeal to younger audiences.

Buddy Holly-Peggy Sue  Buddy Holly died in a plane crash during a music tour.  He was in the same plane that killed Ritchie Valens.  It was an incredibly tragic event that inspired Don McCleon to write the song American Pie.

Weezer recorded a song called Buddy Holly in '94.  What do you think the connection is to Buddy Holly?

Bill Haley- Bill Haley and His Comets are recognized as being the group that really started to popularize Rock n Roll in the early 50's with Rock Around The Clock.  Both of Bill Haley's parents were musicians and no doubt had a profound effect on his access to learning it.

Elvis Presley- Elvis became known as the King of Rock n Roll.  He grew up in Mississippi where his music career began.  He incorporates many aspects of the blues including forms such as the 12 bar blues and AAB lyric form.  Elvis spent two years in the military in 1958.  When he returned home he resumed creating music and even spent some time in Hawaii.  I think all the cool people go to Hawaii!  Jailhouse Rock

Ray Charles- Hit The Road Jack Ray Charles was a very important musician in the development of Rock n' Roll.  He fused blues, gospel, and soul to contribute a very unique sound.  Additionally, he used country blues and stride piano styles in his music.  Stride piano is a technique used in jazz music that uses a wide range of notes in the bass hand and lends the right hand the freedom to improvise.

 1960's-There are so many incredible artists from the 60's that contributed to the development of Rock n Roll.  I'm going to mention a couple here.

Stax Records was a recording studio that had a large role in bringing people together to record music.  Stax's house band was Booker T and the MG's.  Green Onions  Booker T and the MG's are an instrumental funk band that had a huge influence over southern and Memphis soul music.  As the house band for Stax they accompanied many important performers including Otis Redding.

The Supremes-Lead singer Diana Ross and the Supremes were one of the most influential Motown (Detroit record label) groups of the 60's.  They started as Detroit School girls who were recognized as very talented.  They received support from their community to enter competitions.  Baby Love was one of their most popular songs of the early 60's.

The Beach Boys-This all male band was formed in 1961 and were incredibly talented in surf rock.  Surfin' USA is one example of their popular beach themed songs.  You can hear improvised guitar riffs.  Call and response in the vocals during the chorus is reminiscent of gospel music.

The Beatles-In only 10 years, I can't imagine a band that was more prolific and more experimental than the Beatles.  They were political, psychedelic, and incredibly popular.  From Britain, they toured all over Europe and America and even recorded some of their songs in German.  I'd like to share a medley of their music with you.  How many of these songs are familiar to you?  Medley

Jimi Hendrix-Purple Haze is an example of Jimi's virtuosity in guitar playing.  He bends his notes and improvises when playing.  His music embraces blues, ballads, R&B, and jazz.  Jimi Hendrix performed at the music festival, Woodstock, in 1969.