The History of Rock n Roll Music

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Marcus (216-18) posits that, in the American music industry, the Rock n Roll music gained its popularity from 1951 through to 1957. Though the first Rock n Roll song, The Fat Man, was released by Antoine “Fats” Domino in 1949, it was the subsequent artists in the later years who came to reap the benefits. The man who is credited for the popularity of the Rock n Roll music is Alan Freed, a White Cleveland disc-jockey, who made the decision to start a radio program, “Moondog Rock n Roll Party.” The intention of the program was to spread the music to a wider U.S. population audience, specifically targeting the teenagers.

In regards to the historical context of the Rock n Roll music, the music was being created by the Blacks and was mainly distributed locally. There was a growing audience for the music from 1952. Though the Blacks were the main artists for the Rock n Roll music and ere increasingly becoming renowned, the Whites too started to have an immense interest on the music. The Blacks had the talent while the Whites had the money. Consequently, a niche of independent labels recording the Black Rock n Roll artists for the White audience was created (Marcus 224).

In 1952, Frank Sinatra rose to became one of the most prominent Black artists. However, despite some few Black artists becoming famous, the Rock n Roll was still not enjoying a wide audience, especially among the Whites since the U.S. was still a racially-divided nation.  The situation created the need for Rock n Roll to not only attract the audience within the U.S. but also internationally. In 1953, the record label, Sun Records, was founded in Memphis (Tennessee) with the specific goal of attracting a larger population of the Whites to the Black-created Rock n Roll music and distribute it to the global audience.

Today, Rock n Roll has become a fun’s favorite music, especially among the teenagers worldwide. The Rock n Roll music has transcended the racial-boundaries and is now not only enjoyed by the Whites but also created by the Whites. In the history, specifically between 1951 and 1957, the Rock n Roll was created by the Blacks and the Whites were passive audience. On the contrary, presently, there are numerous White artists participating in the writing and singing of the Rock n Roll music (Friedlander 97).

                 As argued by Friedlander (113), the most interesting fact is that in spite the Rock n Roll being created by the Blacks, the music has “gotten so white.” It is the Whites who have now become the most renowned artists who are actively involved in both the production and performance of Rock n Roll music. The music has caused a revolution in the music industry and has changed the American landscape due to the electrifying performance and instrumentation ranging from the pulsing drumbeats to the rhythmic playing of guitar that is more youth-oriented (Friedlander 115).   

The most celebrated piece of Rock n Roll music is “Bohemian Rhapsody” written by Freddy Mercury. It was produced by the combined vocals of Brian May, Roger Taylor, and Freddy Mercury and performed by Queen. The song was released in 1975, and in the same year, it topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and U.K Official Singles music charts for 14 and 19 weeks respectively (Braae 179). The height of success reached by the Bohemian Rhapsody song was an evidence of the fact that the Rock n Roll had indeed attained a great acceptance level by the global audience.

The semiotic technology was used by combining different vocals of three individuals with diverse voices and tones (overdubbed and lead vocals), numerous instruments (acoustic piano, Chinese gong, drums, electric guitars, and electric bass), and the opera music genre was combined in the production of the song. The Bohemian Rhapsody song was recorded for the gramophone devices pertaining to the storage and reproduction of sound (Warner 158).

Works Cited

Braae, Nick. "Sonic Patterns and Compositional Strategies in Queen's ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’." Twentieth-Century Music ,12.2 (2015): 173-196.

Friedlander, Paul. Rock and roll: A social history. New York, NY: Routledge, 2018.

Marcus, Greil. Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll music. Los Angeles, LA: Penguin, 2015.

Warner, Timothy. "Approaches to Analyzing Recordings of Popular Music." The Ashgate research companion to popular musicology, 2016. 149-164.

October 05, 2023
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Rock Music Music Industry

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