Rock (music)

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Rock or Rock and roll is an American music genre started in the early 1950s. It evolved from rhythm and blues, blues and country music. The name comes from a traditional blues reference to fornication.[1]

Foundations of rock

Rock is characterized by a strong back-beat, simple repeated phrases, and electrically amplified instrumentation such as guitars.


"Rock and roll's origins can be found in the tribal music of Africa. This music was originally part of the ritual worship of the assorted tribal gods. Among the slaves who were brought into the New World, the old ritual tribal music quickly changed into more acceptable forms like church music and the blues, as the act of worshiping pagan gods was usually viewed with disfavor by the ruling whites. These new types of music, combined together and further altered by the influence of Voodoo ceremonial music and popular white music, eventually became rock and roll."[2]

Early Rock

Rock and Roll was born when African-Americans like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley formed a new sound out of the Blues, R&B, and the boogie. The music had a driving rhythm and was relevant to the teenagers it was popular with. Arguably the first white rocker was Bill Haley, who wrote the famous song "Rock Around the Clock." Rockabilly became popular at this time as a combination of country and rock, with artists like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Eddie Cochran. The west coast surfer culture gave rise to surf rock artists like The Beach Boys and Dick Dale.

Advances in technology helped shift popular music away from orchestral and piano-based arrangements to simpler guitar-based songs. The electric guitar was invented in the late 1940s and became widely used. Guitars that would become famous for their use throughout Rock and Roll were invented in the 1950s, like the Fender Stratocaster and the Gibson Les Paul.

Early rock songs were about fairly mundane things that were popular with teenagers at the time, like girls, cars, and surfing, as opposed to the more culturally significant songs that would grow out of the Hippie and Counterculture movements.

The British Invasion

At a time when Rock and Roll seemed to be dying out in America, rock groups from Britain, heavily influenced by black musicians from the United States, created their own version of the American phenomenon. The Beatles, one of the most famous groups of all time, were one of these groups. They started out writing party tunes and pop songs and moved into more sophistic music and psychedelia. The Rolling Stones brought a more "bluesy" sound to their music. The Who, a "Mod" band, characterized youthful rebelliousness and the generational gap. They, along with bands like Led Zeppelin, laid the groundwork for the future of Heavy Metal and "harder" rock. Eric Clapton was an important figure in British rock, playing in various bands of the time: The Yardbirds, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, and Derek and the Dominos.

The Counterculture and Psychedelia

The counterculture movement was a consequence of American youthful dissatisfaction. Some music became very political, and there was widespread experimentation with drugs. Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stone's "Greatest Guitarist of All Time," pushed the boundaries of modern music. The Grateful Dead, a band from San Francisco, became popular for their live music and are a representation of the hippy movement long after the hippy heyday. "Acid" rock, characterized by long solos and psychedelic sound, became popular in the late 1960s. Popular acid rock bands include Moby Grape, Jefferson Airplane, The Electric Flag, and Steppenwolf. Pink Floyd, a British band, were an important psychedelic group. Their album The Dark Side of the Moon is one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Punk and Metal

Punk rock grew out of young anger at the end of the 1970s and was loud and fast with screamed vocals. Bands of this time include The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, and The Clash.

The term Heavy Metal includes many different bands like AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Van Halen. It also includes Glam and Pop Metal acts like Motley Crue, Kiss, and Def Leppard. Black, Speed, and Death Metal incorporated dark Gothic and satanic themes and included bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden, and Slayer.


Cultural Impact

The music is often associated with rebellion because its loud and impudent style was repulsive to traditional parents. It grew more popular during the 60s, when the Hippie movement spread. Whether everybody genuinely wanted peace in Vietnam, or they just liked Jimi Hendrix, rock 'n' roll kept its rowdy and independent spirit. Ever since it began, it's been drawing young people "out on [their] own / like a rolling stone" (Bob Dylan).

Rock sub-genres

Worldwide popularity

The popularity of rock music has spread worldwide. One place other than America where rock proved especially popular was Britain, home to The Beatles.

Some countries create their own version of rock, often adding lyrics of the singers' native country.


Christian groups often criticized early rock music for, among other things, having a hypnotic beat, which could inspire animalistic urges in listeners.

"The music is loud, primitive, insistent, strongly rhythmic and releases in an undisguised way the all-too tenuously controlled, newly acquired physical impulses of the teenager. Mix this up with the phenomenon of mass hypnosis, contagious hysteria and the blissful feeling of being mixed-up in an all-embracing, orgiastic experience, and every kid can become ‘Lord of the Flies’ or the Beatles." -- The Marxist Minstrels, Rev. [David A. Noebel], 1974.

Rock music in general, and especially Heavy Metal, have been accused of promoting Satanism,[3][4] illicit sexuality,[5] Suicide,[6] drug use,[7]alcoholism, tobacco abuse, gambling, misogyny, profanity, disrespect for authority, racism, homophobia, disorderly conduct, theft, violence, organized crime, among other things. Despite being a completely different genre of music, hip hop has been accused of promoting the same basic things.

"According to Staulcup, a steady diet of rock and roll junk promotes degenerate rebelliousness among teenagers that finds its outlet in drugs, alcohol and illicit sex... Staulcup concludes that rock and roll is the biggest legalized racket this country has ever seen. If we value civilization, we cannot afford to ignore any longer the high correlation between the multibillion dollar hard rock racket and the explosion of drug use and illicit sex among their teenage victims." In 1978, a California music therapist, investigating the effects of rock music on teenagers, administered to 240 school children aged 10 –18 an emotional stability test during which rock was played. The results were then examined by a psychologist who was unaware of the experiment. He concluded that the test had been given in a mental institution." -- Phyllis Schlafly

The Occult Roots of Rock and Roll

Rock Music has been linked with Satanism and occultism since it was invented.
These allegations have existed ever since Robert Johnson died. His song "Crossroads Blues" has been misinterpreted as being about him making a deal with the devil.. Rock has been accused of incorporating Druidic chants and rhythm to lure listeners into a Hypnotism state where they would be subsceptible to spiritual influence.[8]
Jimi Hendrix associated with practitioners of Voodoo, and used their occult rhythms in his music.[9]
The infamous Satan-worshipping occultist, Aleister Crowley, was a major influence on Rock Music, to the point of his picture appearing on the cover of the Beatles' Sargeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.,[10] and he was idolized by later musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne and Marilyn Manson.
Another thing that Crowley emphasized to his readers was that musicians in "Magick" should be able to be 'musical mediums'.

Early rock pioneers


See also

External References