Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rock And Roll History

My Rock collection contains a number of artists spanning different eras in Rock Music. While looking at my Rock Collection one day, I asked myself, 'How does this music all fit together?' and then I created this blog to try to understand it.

Although this blog isn't intended to be a historical lesson of Rock & Roll, I think it's important to summarize Rock and Roll in a historical context. After all, music is all about history, how it affects history and how history affects it.

Oddly enough, there is still debate on the origins of Rock & Roll and depending on who you speak with you may get a different response. It's generally accepted that Rock And Roll's roots come from an infusion of so-called black and white music. Specifically, Blues, Jazz, Boogie Woogie with Rockabilly, Western Swing, Bluegrass & Honky Tonk. Adding to the flavor of all these music genres we can also add Folk, Gospel and Big Band into the mix. The problem with the above idea is that it doesn't really tell us what the Eureka moment was that created Rock & Roll, or perhaps it's to vague and expectation. Also, since the above music genres are offspring of other music genres the true heart of Rock & Roll becomes a little less obvious. Since this isn't an attempt at locating the exact origins of Rock & Roll, and I'm not a music historian, I will add my own viewpoint on the history of Rock & Roll. For me, Rock as it was known back in the 195o's comes from the Blues and Country.

Digressing, it is important that the term Rock & Roll not be confused with the sound of Rock & Roll. The earliest recorded use of the term Rock & Roll can be heard on a spiritual recording "The Camp Meeting Jubilee", by an unnamed vocal "quartet, "We've been rocking and rolling in your arms / Rocking and rolling in your arms / In the arms of Moses". Clearly not Rock & Roll music as we understand it. Also, the term Rock and Roll has nautical origins and was apparently used by 'sailors to denote the side-to-side and forward-and-backward motion of ships on the ocean'.

That said, it is widely accepted that the first Rock & Roll album can be traced to Wynonie "Mr. Blues" Harris 1948 Rock & Blues cover of blues musician Roy James Brown's 1947 "Good Rocking Tonight".

Although Roy James Brown was a blues musician, he also influenced by music that was popular in his day, including music by Bing Crosby of all people.

The song "Good Rocking Tonight" had a profound impact on the King Elvis Presley who covered it in his 1954 Album, and Elvis added his own unique blend to the song, taking it fully into the spectrum of 'White Society'.

The point is that Rock & Roll is probably the first popular multi-racial music genre in the United States to become widely embraced and staking a lasting foothold in the musical landscape. This is very important because it shows that Rock & Roll was the music of the people, for the people. Like the socialist movement in Europe earlier in the century, Rock & Roll affected people in a revolutionary new way due to its non-exclusivity.

So, as I gaze at the led Zeppelins and Pink Floyd's and Beatles CDs on the shelf, I have grown to appreciate my Rock Collection outside of the music itself. To me this is so because the concept of Rock & Roll is a living journal of human growth and experience. It also shows us that music is a moving entity, not a motionless bog, but a raging river that gathers content from surprising sources. Rock & Roll stands out prominently because it embodies this essence and is less concerned with conformity than feeling. In this way, the name Rock & Roll, with it's nautical roots is a very appropriate name for this genre of music.

Lastly, this blog isn't law, meaning that if you object to the content or feel that the information needs to be updated let me know. After all, Rock & Roll is all about movement and not a stagnating energy. I hope you enjoyed the start to You Rock Collection.

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