The History of Rock and Roll


Allie Perry, Global News Editor

       Ask any teen his or her favorite musical genre, and one would receive many different answers: HipHop, Pop, Rap, Country, Screamo Punk, Alternative, Metal, and Rock. Lots of choices, right?  However, according to most sources, “Rock is. . . popular music’s home base. Everyone, even those who aren’t rock fans, know at least one rock song. Many of the great mass appeal artists are rock based…”

        How many of you know the history of this precedent setting, groundbreaking form of music?  Rock and Roll is not just one genre, but is made up of the main three genres found in American culture at the beginning of the music insurgence: Pop, Country, and Blues.  In the 50’s, before rock was born, music was more class conscious.  Most mainstream music that the middle and upper class teens would listen to (i.e. Frank Sinatra), fell under the category of pop.  Lower class Americans and working farmers preferred country, and gospel and the blues became the representation of black culture in America. Rock and Roll really took off in the late 50’s when teens wanted to rebel, so they created a genre of their own, which is a fusion of all the previous forms.

          According to sources, Elvis Presley was one of the first and most well-known rock and rollers of the time. Elvis really appealed to the kids, but he appalled the parents with his gyrations. Elvis was rebellion at its finest. Only when he was drafted in the war and quit music to serve his country did Elvis become popular with adults. Other artists like Bill Haley and Buddy Holly had short but very impactful careers. With hits like “Rock around the Clock”, “That’ll be the Day”, and “Peggy Sue”, these artists shaped the future of Rock and Roll.

         After the death of Buddy Holly in 1959, the 60’s brought a new musical culture that branched off Rock and Roll, thanks to a shaggy-haired British foursome named John, Paul, George and Ringo, who created Beatlemania. With the Beatles rising to popularity in America, so did the anti Vietnam War and psychedelic movement. Artists like Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Grateful Dead moved front and center as representatives of the peaceful, anti-war, psychedelic movement.  This is the movement that brought the country Woodstock and the summer of love, and then the infamous Mick Jagger as music entered the 70’s. This period marked the peak of Rock and Roll. WIth bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who, The Eagles, Black Sabbath, Kiss and The Rolling Stones, rock became an entrenched and secure genre. The 80’s birthed MTV, and artists like Queen, Bon Jovi, Guns and Roses, Van Halen and Aerosmith.

    From this point forward, Rock has evolved into many different forms, but is still a respected genre today, although not technically a frontrunner. A popular form of music today is known as “Electro Music”, and most students at Hubbard High School are very familiar with this genre through artists like the Chainsmokers, Greenday, and Major Lazer. When asked about how electro music came from Rock and Roll, senior Harrison Cover explained, “EDM and other electro music would not have been around without the experimentation of the Beatles. Bands like Skrillex would be nonexistent.” Another senior, Corrine Teaberry was asked about her favorite band, and she replied, “The Chainsmokers are my favorite band. It’s hard to believe their roots came from Rock and Roll.”  Yes, the genre of Rock and Roll has had a rich history in the United States and has influenced the music of many other international cultures just as much as it has influenced ours.