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Rock Through the Ages

Essay by   •  May 15, 2012  •  Essay  •  2,750 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,301 Views

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I am planning to write about the rock in the United States of America and Britain when it was at its best and how it has changed through the ages. I am also going to write about the most memorable songs and groups that will keep on living in our hearts, the meaning in their songs, the important factors that contributed to the rocks birth and how it affected these countries. I have chosen this subject primarily because we were asked to choose a topic that we personally are interested in and can easily write about. This is what I've always loved, I love music, all kinds of music and though it may occur to you that I only enjoy music from back in the days, I listen to the music that plays on the radio today as well. But in my heart and in my opinion, the music that existed before will never exist again, that was pure talent and it was real music. The songs that we have today can make us dance but a couple of days later, that really good song on the radio is already forgotten, however the songs that are never forgotten are the ones from the 50ies, 60ies and so on. I also love pop, blues and country from the golden ages as well but rock is who I am even if it doesn't tell on my clothes, it doesn't have to, music is what you feel, not what you show. My father that is a former hippie from Italy made me grow up with the Beatles, the Clash, Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix, the Beach boys, The Animals, Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The who, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Ramones, The Zombies etc. In theory I was going to pick a country and write about rock through the ages in USA or Britain to limit myself. I'm afraid that it can't be done due to the groups that are too important to cut out from each of these two exceptional countries and it would be a shame to do so, therefore I won't but I will make sure that it will not get to messy to understand.

My main source will be my father because of his own experience and knowledge but also several of internet sites.

Rock through the Ages

During the 16th, 17th and 1800th century, quantities of slaves were shipped from Africa to America in appalling conditions. When they arrived in America it was not much better. They were forced to work very hard, mainly on cotton plantations and were forbidden to do anything that could enhance their identity and belonging. For example they were forbidden to speak their own language, sing their native songs and practice their religion. The need for rhythm, song and dance was/is big in Africa, for example they always sang during work. Therefore it did not take long until they started singing songs even in their new language. They used the same singing as they had before, which is called "call and response" meaning that one sings a phrase and the other responds.

The lyrics were adapted to the current situation and were mostly improvised in that same moment. The African music did not have the same terms of major and minor as in our music, instead there is something that is usually called "blue notes" which are notes that lie between our notes. To adapt the slaves even more to their new country, the slaveholders tried to reverse the slaves into Christians.

It succeeded in many cases but the white man's hymns and songs seemed largely meaningless to the black slaves. Therefore they invented their own hymns "Negro Spirituals". The text was all about redemption after death and the reward in heaven. The melodies were similar to the western but the song was way slower and with more "feeling". The text could also be interpreted in a way which was to encourage each other to cope till the day when they could finally defeat their masters and be free. Negro Spirituals evolved over time into a faster song that became known as the "Gospel".

The North American Civil War (1861-1865) was whether to abolish slavery or not. The north side (that was opposed slavery) won and slavery was abolished, but it would be long until any kind of equality was achieved. Even in our days there is a lot of racism left, especially in the American South.

After the Second World War the people were in better conditions. Young people became more independent and advertisers realized that the young people were a new audience to bet on. A particular youth culture emerged. The white teenagers' parents were listening to country and to them it was dishonest and uninteresting. They were looking for something different, something "cool". More and more people started secretly listening to the black radio stations and found the wild rhythm and blues music.

A popular disc jockey on the radio was Alan Freed. He was always looking for good music and began to sneak in the occasional rhythm and blues-song in its program. Eventually he dared to have only black music on the station that he called "Moondogs rock 'n roll party" and so the new music style was named Rock 'n Roll. A problem to overcome was the racism; white audience did not listen to a black artist. White artist did lots of cover versions on the rhythm & blues songs.

They were often worse than the originals but sold always better nonetheless. The song "Rock around the clock" became a big hit and the group that played this song was called Bill Haley and his comets. Haley is known as the father of rock music, for it was now the moment when rock had its big breakthrough and the record sales took off.

The fifties: In Memphis, Tennessee at the record company Sun Records, there was a CEO named Sam Phillips who had the situation quite clear to himself: If the rhythm and blues would ever reach out to a white audience, it had to be performed by a white artist who could sing with the same feeling as a black. He searched for a very long time and finally (mostly by accident), it happened. A humble, eighteen year old truck driver walks into a record studio to record an album for his mother's Birthday: Elvis Presley.

Elvis had grown up in poor neighborhoods and listened mostly to country but also to rhythm & blues and gospel. Some of his first hits were actually covers of songs made by black artists, such as Hound Dog. Elvis was launched through television, movies and radios but this was mostly thanks to him, his bluesy vocal style, his sexy scene behavior and appearance that made him so popular. Young people cheered and parents were horrified.

For the first time the center of world rock music was now moved outside of the U.S borders, to a different continent. It was now time for Britain to show what they were made of.

The Sixties:

1963, the world's most popular rock 'n roll group had a breakthrough; The Beatles. The beautiful melodies and way

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