Rock 'n roll
Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll or rock 'n' roll) is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of predominantly African-American genres such as blues, boogie woogie, jump blues, jazz, and gospel music, together with Western swing and country music. Though elements of rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until the 1950s.
The term "rock and roll" now has at least two different meanings, both in common usage: referring to the first wave of music that originated in the US in the 1950s and would later develop into the more encompassing international style known as "rock music", and as a term simply synonymous with the rock music and culture in the broad sense. For the purpose of differentiation, this article deals with the first definition.
In the earliest rock and roll styles of the late 1940s and early 1950s, either the piano or saxophone was often the lead instrument, but these were generally replaced or supplemented by guitar in the middle to late 1950s. The beat is essentially a blues rhythm with an accentuated backbeat, the latter almost always provided by a snare drum. Classic rock and roll is usually played with one or two electric guitars (one lead, one rhythm), a string bass or (after the mid-1950s) an electric bass guitar, and a drum kit. Beyond simply a musical style, rock and roll, as seen in movies and on television, influenced lifestyles, fashion, attitudes, and language. In addition, rock and roll may have contributed to the civil rights movement because both African-American and white American teens enjoyed the music. It went on to spawn various genres, often without the initially characteristic backbeat, that are now more commonly called simply "rock music" or "rock".
The term "rock and roll" now has at least two different meanings, both in common usage. The American Heritage Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary both define rock and roll as synonymous with rock music. Encyclopædia Britannica, on the other hand, regards it as the music that originated in the mid-1950s and later developed "into the more encompassing international style known as rock music".
The phrase "rocking and rolling" originally described the movement of a ship on the ocean, but was used by the early twentieth century, both to describe the spiritual fervor of black church rituals and as a sexual analogy. Various gospel, blues and swing recordings used the phrase before it became used more frequently – but still intermittently – in the 1940s, on recordings and in reviews of what became known as "rhythm and blues" music aimed at a black audience.
In 1934, the song "Rock and Roll" by Boswell Sisters appeared in the film Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round. In 1942, Billboard magazine columnist Maurie Orodenker started to use the term "rock-and-roll" to describe upbeat recordings such as "Rock Me" by Sister Rosetta Tharpe. By 1943, the "Rock and Roll Inn" in South Merchantville, New Jersey, was established as a music venue. In 1951, Cleveland, Ohio disc jockey Alan Freed began playing this music style while popularizing the phrase to describe it
Men gaat ervanuit dat de Amerikaanse diskjockey Alan Freed degene was die de term rock-'n-roll voor het eerst gebruikte in zijn radioprogramma om de nieuwe muzieksoort aan te duiden. Hij ontleende de naam aan het nummer "My Baby Rocks Me with one Steady Roll". De naam werd in elk geval in 1947 al gebruikt en moet al in de jaren '20 zijn opgedoken in het 'slang' van de zwarte Amerikanen: de term stond toen voor de geslachtsdaad.
Early rock and roll
The origins of rock and roll have been fiercely debated by commentators and historians of music. There is general agreement that it arose in the Southern United States – a region which would produce most of the major early rock and roll acts – through the meeting of various influences that embodied a merging of the African musical tradition with European instrumentation. The migration of many former slaves and their descendants to major urban centers such as Memphis, New York City, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and Buffalo (See: Second Great Migration (African American)) meant that black and white residents were living in close proximity in larger numbers than ever before, and as a result heard each other's music and even began to emulate each other's fashions. Radio stations that made white and black forms of music available to both groups, the development and spread of the gramophone record, and African American musical styles such as jazz and swing which were taken up by white musicians, aided this process of "cultural collision".
The immediate roots of rock and roll lay in the rhythm and blues, then called "race music", and country music of the 1940s and 1950s. Particularly significant influences were jazz, blues, gospel, country, and folk. Commentators differ in their views of which of these forms were most important and the degree to which the new music was a re-branding of African American rhythm and blues for a white market, or a new hybrid of black and white forms.
In the 1930s jazz, and particularly swing, both in urban based dance bands and blues-influenced country swing, was among the first music to present African American sounds for a predominantly white audience. The 1940s saw the increased use of blaring horns (including saxophones), shouted lyrics and boogie woogie beats in jazz based music. During and immediately after World War II, with shortages of fuel and limitations on audiences and available personnel, large jazz bands were less economical and tended to be replaced by smaller combos, using guitars, bass and drums. In the same period, particularly on the West Coast and in the Midwest, the development of jump blues, with its guitar riffs, prominent beats and shouted lyrics, prefigured many later developments In the documentary film Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll, Keith Richards proposes that Chuck Berry developed his brand of rock and roll, by transposing the familiar two-note lead line of jump blues piano directly to the electric guitar, creating what is instantly recognizable as rock guitar. Similarly, country boogie and Chicago electric blues supplied many of the elements that would be seen as characteristic of rock and roll. Inspired by electric blues, Chuck Berry introduced an aggressive guitar sound to rock and roll, and established the electric guitar as its centrepiece, adapting his rock band instrumentation from the basic blues band instrumentation of a lead guitar, second chord instrument, bass and drums.
Rock and roll arrived at a time of considerable technological change, soon after the development of the electric guitar, amplifier and microphone, and the 45 rpm record. There were also changes in the record industry, with the rise of independent labels like Atlantic, Sun and Chess servicing niche audiences and a similar rise of radio stations that played their music. It was the realization that relatively affluent white teenagers were listening to this music that led to the development of what was to be defined as rock and roll as a distinct genre.
Because the development of rock and roll was an evolutionary process, no single record can be identified as unambiguously "the first" rock and roll record. Contenders for the title of "first rock and roll record" include Sister Rosetta Tharpe's "Strange Things Happening Everyday" (1944); Goree Carter's "Rock Awhile" (1949); Jimmy Preston's "Rock the Joint" (1949), which was later covered by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1952 "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (backed by Ike Turner and his band The Kings of Rhythm), recorded by Sam Phillips for Sun Records in March 1951 In terms of its wide cultural impact across society in the US and elsewhere, Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock", recorded in April 1954 but not a commercial success until the following year, is generally recognized as an important milestone, but it was preceded by many recordings from earlier decades in which elements of rock and roll can be clearly discerned.
Other artists with early rock and roll hits included Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Gene Vincent. Chuck Berry's 1955 classic "Maybellene" in particular features a distorted electric guitar solo with warm overtones created by his small valve amplifier. However, the use of distortion was predated by electric blues guitarists such as Joe Hill Louis, Guitar Slim, Willie Johnson of Howlin' Wolf's band, and Pat Hare; the latter two also made use of distorted power chords in the early 1950s. Also in 1955, Bo Diddley introduced a new beat and unique electric guitar style, heavily influenced by African music and in turn influencing many later artists.
"Rockabilly" usually (but not exclusively) refers to the type of rock and roll music which was played and recorded in the mid-1950s primarily by white singers such as Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis, who drew mainly on the country roots of the music. Many other popular rock and roll singers of the time, such as Fats Domino and Little Richard, came out of the black rhythm and blues tradition, making the music attractive to white audiences, and are not usually classed as "rockabilly".
In July 1954, Elvis Presley recorded the regional hit "That's All Right" at Sam Phillips' Sun Studio in Memphis Three months earlier, on April 12, 1954, Bill Haley & His Comets recorded "Rock Around the Clock". Although only a minor hit when first released, when used in the opening sequence of the movie Blackboard Jungle a year later, it set the rock and roll boom in motion. The song became one of the biggest hits in history, and frenzied teens flocked to see Haley and the Comets perform it, causing riots in some cities. "Rock Around the Clock" was a breakthrough for both the group and for all of rock and roll music. If everything that came before laid the groundwork, "Rock Around the Clock" introduced the music to a global audience.
In 1956, the arrival of rockabilly was underlined by the success of songs like "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash, "Blue Suede Shoes" by Perkins and "Heartbreak Hotel" by Presley. For a few years it became the most commercially successful form of rock and roll. Later rockabilly acts, particularly performing songwriters like Buddy Holly, would be a major influence on British Invasion acts and particularly on the song writing of The Beatles and through them on the nature of later rock music
Doo wop was one of the most popular forms of 1950s rhythm and blues, often compared with rock and roll, with an emphasis on multi-part vocal harmonies and meaningless backing lyrics (from which the genre later gained its name), which were usually supported with light instrumentation. Its origins were in African American vocal groups of the 1930s and 40s, like the Ink Spots and the Mills Brothers, who had enjoyed considerable commercial success with arrangements based on close harmonies. They were followed by 1940s R&B vocal acts like The Orioles, The Ravens and The Clovers, who injected a strong element of traditional gospel and, increasingly, the energy of jump blues. By 1954, as rock and roll was beginning to emerge, a number of similar acts began to cross over from the R&B charts to mainstream success, often with added honking brass and saxophone, with The Crows, The Penguins, The El Dorados and The Turbans all scoring major hits. Despite the subsequent explosion in records from doo wop acts in the later 50s, many failed to chart or were one-hit wonders. Exceptions included The Platters, with songs including "The Great Pretender" (1955) and The Coasters with humorous songs like "Yakety Yak" (1958), both of which ranked among the most successful rock and roll acts of the era. Towards the end of the decade there were increasing numbers of white, particularly Italian American, singers taking up Doo Wop, creating all-white groups like The Mystics and Dion and the Belmonts and racially integrated groups like The Dell Vikings and The Impalas. Doo wop would be a major influence on vocal surf music, soul and early Merseybeat, including The Beatles
Some commentators have suggested a decline of rock and roll in the late 1950s and early 1960s. By 1959, the death of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens in a plane crash (February 1959), the departure of Elvis for the army (March 1958), the retirement of Little Richard to become a preacher (October 1957), the scandal surrounding Jerry Lee Lewis' marriage to his thirteen-year-old cousin (May 1958), the arrest of Chuck Berry (December 1959), and the breaking of the Payola scandal implicating major figures, including Alan Freed, in bribery and corruption in promoting individual acts or songs (November 1959), gave a sense that the initial phase of rock and roll had come to an end.
There was also a process that has been described as the "feminisation" of rock and roll, with the charts beginning to be dominated by love ballads, often aimed at a female audience, and the rise of girl groups such as The Shirelles and The Crystals. Some music historians have pointed to important and innovative developments that built on rock and roll in this period, including multitrack recording, developed by Les Paul, the electronic treatment of sound by such innovators as Joe Meek, and the 'Wall of Sound' productions of Phil Spector, continued desegregation of the charts, the rise of surf music, garage rock and the Twist dance craze. Surf rock in particular, noted for the use of reverb-drenched guitars, became one of the most popular forms of American rock of the 60s
Rock and roll influenced lifestyles, fashion, attitudes, and language. In addition, rock and roll may have contributed to the civil rights movement because both African-American and white American
teens enjoyed the music.
Many early rock and roll songs dealt with issues of cars, school, dating, and clothing. The lyrics of rock and roll songs described events and conflicts that most listeners could relate to through personal experience. Topics such as sex that had generally been considered taboo began to appear in rock and roll lyrics. This new music tried to break boundaries and express emotions that people were actually feeling but had not talked about. An awakening began to take place in American youth culture
From its early 1950s beginning through the early 1960s, rock and roll music spawned new dance crazes. Teenagers found the syncopated backbeat rhythm especially suited to reviving Big Band era jitterbug dancing. "Sock hops", gym dances, and home basement dance parties became the rage, and American teens watched Dick Clark's American Bandstand to keep up on the latest dance and fashion styles. From the mid-1960s on, as "rock and roll" yielded gradually to "rock", later dance genres followed, starting with the twist, and leading up to funk, disco, house, techno, and hip hop.
Rock 'n Roll
During the development of the musical genre rock and roll, dances to go with the music were also created. From swing, which came into being around 1920, Lindy Hop emerged, the first partner dance ever to feature acrobatic elements. Lindy Hop was modified around 1940 to suit faster music, creating the style known as boogie woogie.
A 1959 dance book describes "Rock 'n' Roll" as "performed without undue tension, the body and legs being flexible, so that there may be a physical rhythmic expression of co-ordination with the beats of music." "...a dance which leaves much scope for personal expression and interpretation in style, movement, rhythm, and even in the manner in which the figures are constructed." The basic rhythm is Quick, Quick, Slow, Slow. The Slow steps "will be taken first on to the ball of the foot, the heel then lowering.
Technique and basics
Like other forms of dance, Rock and Roll has evolved around the world over time. Depending on your location, the basics start with the Basic 6 step.
Boogie Woogie / East Coast Swing
The name boogie-woogie is used mostly in Europe; the closest thing in the US is probably East Coast Swing. What today is called boogie-woogie would during the 1950s have been called rock'n'roll. The term boogie woogie is confusing; the dance can be danced to the music style called boogie-woogie but is most often danced to rock music of various kinds. The name was taken since the name rock'n'roll used in competition dance was already taken by a highly acrobatic dance form. Boogie woogie as a competition dance is a led dance, not choreographed, and can contain acrobatic elements, but not like in acrobatic rock'n'roll. The limitation of aerials are various in European countries, but by the strong Lindy Hop influence, they cannot be completely removed from the dance. Mainly the couples have to maintain some contact during the acrobatics, this rule helps to avoid moves like double/triple saltos and the like.
The dance was created by dance studios including the Arthur Murray dance studios in the 1940s, based on the Lindy Hop. Lindy Hop was felt by dance studios to be both too difficult and too unstructured to teach to beginning dancers, but there was market demand for training in Swing Dance. The dance studios had initially dismissed Lindy Hop in particular as a fad. East Coast Swing can be referred to by many different names in different regions of the United States and the World. It has alternatively been called Eastern Swing, Jitterbug, American Swing, East Coast Lindy, Lindy (not to be confused with Lindy Hop), and Triple Swing. Other variants of East Coast Swing that use altered footwork forms are known as Single Swing or "Single-step Swing" (where the triple step is replaced by a single step forming a slow, slow, quick, quick rhythm common to Foxtrot), and Double Swing (using a tap-step footwork pattern).
East Coast Swing is a Rhythm Dance that has both 6 and 8 beat patterns. The name East Coast Swing was coined initially to distinguish the dance from the street form and the new variant used in the competitive ballroom arena (as well as separating the dance from West Coast Swing, which was developed in California). While based on Lindy Hop, it does have clear distinctions. East Coast Swing is a standardized form of dance developed first for instructional purposes in the Arthur Murray studios, and then later codified to allow for a medium of comparison for competitive ballroom dancers. It can be said that there is no right or wrong way to dance it; however, certain styles of the dance are considered correct "form" within the technical elements documented and governed by the National Dance Council of America. The N.D.C.A. oversees all the standards of American Style Ballroom and Latin dances. Lindy Hop was never standardized and later became the inspiration for several other dance forms such as: (European) Boogie Woogie, Jive, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing and Rock and Roll.
In practice on the social dance floor, the six count steps of the East Coast Swing are often mixed with the eight count steps of Lindy Hop, Charleston, and less frequently, Balboa.
East Coast Swing has a 6 count basic step. This is in contrast to the meter of most swing music, which has a 4 count basic rhythm. In practice, however, the 6-count moves of the east coast swing are often combined with 8-count moves from the Lindy hop, Charleston, and Balboa.
Depending on the region and instructor, the basic step of single-step East Coast Swing is either "rock step, step, step" or "step, step, rock step". In both cases, the rock step always starts on the downbeat.
For "rock step, step, step" the beats, or counts, are the following:
Steps for the "lead" (traditionally, the man's part)
Rock Beat 1 - STEP back with your LEFT foot
Step Beat 2 - STEP forward with your RIGHT foot (to where you first started)
Step Beat 3 - STEP to the left with your LEFT foot
Beat 4 - Begin to shift your weight back to your right foot
Step Beat 5 - STEP to the right with your RIGHT foot
Beat 6 - Begin to shift your weight to the left and back
Steps for the "follow" (traditionally, the woman's part which mirrors the lead's part)
Rock Beat 1 - STEP back with your RIGHT foot
Step Beat 2 - STEP forward with your LEFT foot (to where you first started)
Step Beat 3 - STEP to the right with your RIGHT foot
Beat 4 - Begin to shift your weight back to your left foot
Step Beat 5 - STEP to the left with your LEFT foot
Beat 6 - Begin to shift your weight to the right and back
For "step, step, rock step," the rock step occurs on beats 5 and 6, but the overall progression remains the same.
The normal steps can be substituted with a triple step or double step "step-tap" or "kick-step" instead of a single step. This is commonly used during songs when a slower tempo makes the single step difficult (an example progression would be "rock step, triple step, triple step").
In ballroom dancing, the jive is a dance style that originated in the United States from African-Americans in the early 1930s. It was originally presented to the public in 1934 by Cab Calloway. It is a lively and uninhibited variation of the Jitterbug, a form of Swing dance. Glenn Miller introduced his own jive dance in 1938 with the song "Doin' the Jive" which never caught on.
The jive is one of the five International Latin dances. In competition it is danced at a speed of 176 beats per minute, although in some cases this is reduced to between 128 and 160 beats per minute.
Many of its basic patterns are similar to these of the East Coast Swing with the major difference of highly syncopated rhythm of the Triple Steps (Chasses), which use straight eighths in ECS and hard swing in Jive. To the players of swing music in the 1930s and 1940s "Jive" was an expression denoting glib or foolish talk. Or derived from the earlier generics for giouba of the African dance Juba dance verbal tradition.
American soldiers brought Lindy Hop/jitterbug to Europe around 1942, where this dance swiftly found a following among the young. In the United States it was called swing. In the UK variations in technique led to styles such as boogie-woogie and swing boogie, with "jive" gradually emerging as the generic term.
After the war, the boogie became the dominant form for popular music. It was, however, never far from criticism as a foreign, vulgar dance. The famous ballroom dancing guru, Alex Moore, said that he had "never seen anything uglier". English instructors devel
oped the elegant and lively ballroom Jive, danced to slightly slower music. In 1968 it was adopted as the fifth Latin dance in International competitions. The modern form of ballroom jive in the 1990s–present, is a v
ery happy and boppy dance, the lifting of knees and the bending or rocking of the hips often occurs
The Lindy hop is an American dance that evolved in Harlem, New York City, in the 1920s and 1930s and originally evolved with the jazz music of that time. It was very popular during the Swing era of the late 1930s and early 1940s. Lindy was a fusion of many dances that preceded it or were popular during its development but is mainly based on jazz, tap, breakaway and Charleston. It is frequently described as a jazz dance and is a member of the swing dance family.
In its development, the Lindy hop combined elements of both partnered and solo dancing by using the movements and improvisation of black dances along with the formal eight-count structure of European partner dances. This is most clearly illustrated in the Lindy's basic step, the swingout. In this step's open position, each dancer is generally connected hand-to-hand; in its closed position, men and women are connected as though in an embrace.
There was renewed interest in the dance in the 1980s from American, Swedish, and British dancers and the Lindy hop is now represented by dancers and loosely affiliated grass-roots organizations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
Lindy hop is sometimes referred to as a street dance, referring to its improvisational and social nature.