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Key People:Elvis PresleyPaul McCartneyJohn LennonChuck BerryBuddy Holly...(Show more)Related Topics:rock...(Show more)

rock và roll, also called rock ’n’ roll or rock & roll, style of popular music that originated in the United States in the mid-1950s and that evolved by the mid-1960s into the more encompassing international style known as rock music, though the latter also continued to be known as rock và roll.

Rock and roll has been described as a merger of country music & rhythm và blues, but, if it were that simple, it would have existed long before it burst into the national consciousness. The seeds of the music had been in place for decades, but they flowered in the mid-1950s when nourished by a volatile phối of black culture và white spending power. Black vocal groups such as the Dominoes và the Spaniels began combining gospel-style harmonies và call-and-response singing with earthy subject matter và more aggressive rhythm-and-blues rhythms. Heralding this new sound were disc jockeys such as Alan Freed of Cleveland, Ohio, Dewey Phillips of Memphis, Tennessee, & William (“Hoss”) Allen of WLAC in Nashville, Tennessee—who created rock-and-roll radio by playing hard-driving rhythm-and-blues và raunchy blues records that introduced trắng suburban teenagers to lớn a culture that sounded more exotic, thrilling, and illicit than anything they had ever known. In 1954 that sound coalesced around an image: that of a handsome white singer, Elvis Presley, who sounded like a black man.


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Presley’s nondenominational taste in music incorporated everything from hillbilly rave-ups và blues wails to pop-crooner ballads. Yet his early recordings with producer Sam Phillips, guitarist Scotty Moore, và bassist Bill black for in Memphis were less about any one style than about a feeling. For decades African Americans had used the term rock và roll as a euphemism for sex, và Presley’s music oozed sexuality. Presley was hardly the only artist who embodied this attitude, but he was clearly a catalyst in the merger of Black và white culture into something far bigger and more complex than both.

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In Presley’s wake, the music of đen singers such as Fats Domino, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, & Bo Diddley, who might have been considered rhythm-and-blues artists only years before, fit alongside the rockabilly-flavoured tunes of trắng performers such as Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran, and Jerry Lee Lewis, in part because they were all now addressing the same audience: teenagers. For young trắng America, this new music was a soundtrack for rebellion, however mild. When Bill Haley and His Comets kicked off the 1955 motion picture Blackboard Jungle with “Rock Around the Clock,” teens in movie houses throughout the United States stomped on their seats. Movie stars such as Marlon Brando in The Wild One (1953) & James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) oozed sullen, youthful defiance that was echoed by the music. This emerging rock-and-roll culture brought a wave of condemnations from religious leaders, government officials, and parents’ groups, who branded it the “devil’s music.”

The music industry’s response was to lớn sanitize the product: it had clean-cut, nonthreatening artists such as Pat Boone record tame versions of Little Richard songs, and it manufactured a legion of pretty-boy crooners such as Frankie Avalon and Fabian who thrived on and who would essentially serve as the Perry Comos and Bing Crosbys for a new generation of listeners. By the over of the 1950s, Presley had been inducted into the army, Holly had died in a plane crash, & Little Richard had converted to gospel. Rock and roll’s golden era had ended, và the music entered a transitional phase characterized by a more sophisticated approach: the orchestrated wall of sound erected by Phil Spector, the “hit factory” singles churned out by Motown records, & the harmony-rich surf fantasies of the Beach Boys. By the mid-1960s this sophistication allowed the music greater freedom than ever before, and it fragmented into numerous styles that became known simply as rock.