Welcome to The ROQNROL Music Review: Digging up the Chronicles of Rock n Roll. This is a look at the musical revolution of sound, lifestyle, and of attitude, with a reflection of the genre and it’s colorful history.
Rock n Roll music has been injected with reverberation and stylistic waves of rebellion and youthful emotion since it’s inception. But where did the seeds of Elvis, and The Beatles come from? Does Rock and Roll have a lifespan that can be measured from Jerry Lee Lewis to U2? Is Rock and Roll dead? Way before we can answer that question, let’s explore:
With the American Dream as the big payoff for WWII dads across America just back from saving the world in Europe, life certainly wasn’t Leave it Beaver. The New Deal wasn’t exposing itself on the front lawn. Commies and the Cold War weren’t what the neighborhood in America promised to serve up. While the FBI was searching in vain for the reds, the music world was discovering the blues. The working class spawned artists looking for blind faith.
Mainstream America was bland, and found identity in pop culture. Woolworths’s was where the Baby boomer’s parents shopped and became consumers like never before. Teens found freedom and solace in the back seats of cars. With the backdrop of Vietnam and I Love Lucy, young teenagers got their first guitars and started to strum them and learn how to play. The American Dream atomic family wasn’t available for abandoned youth. Race in the South was separate but equal, but music had no prejudice. James Dean and Joe Dimaggio played the big screen while the teenagers played the pool halls and cruised the streets with their newly pubescent muscle cars. Driving and dreaming to word play from beat poets describing the proverbial pursuit of happiness down Route 66.
Music had a mix of different pockets of culture and sounds of New Orleans jazz, Delta blues, Nashville country, Texas swing, and Northern folk. The roads and small towns had hamburger stands and soda jerks and cruise ins, a place where kids could listen to the radio with out Dad banging on the wall telling them to turn down the record player. The whites had country, and down home blue grass, the fervor getting shaky from the influence of jazz from the southern regions and the blues infiltrating from the delta. Blacks had been rolling along with ragtime, which was an evolved boogie woogie and jump blues. Swing and Creole rhythms were an added ingredient in what was to come out of honky tonks and juke boxes across the nation.
Teens learned about rebellion from the likes of Marlin Brando and Hugh Hefner, the media becoming more of an influence on young popular culture. Marilyn Monroe swayed in more so overcoming the Ladies Home Journal of yesterday. There was confusion and separation between social groups and races, and with that came musical friction. Interesting thing, though, everything that was different came together to form a common bond.
Some can say that rock n roll was invented when Elvis, Carl Perkins, James Brown, Hank Williams, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, BB King, and Bill Haley, Muddy Waters, Sam Phillips, Robert Johnson, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Ray Charles, Chubby Checker, and Roy Orbison were coming alive along side Alan Freed’s Moondog Coronation Ball in Cleveland. But did the music genre bend over and die behind an episode of “Lost Classics” on Mtv?
Some people question whether Rock N Roll is a genre that came and went. But I don’t, and here’s why: Over the years, it has blended and converged, separated, and stirred. It is self aggrandizing, even getting in its own way sometimes. Rock N Roll has been golden and inspiring, for each generation that creates their own version of it. Nope, Rock N Roll did not die. There are some scenes deserving to be explored. There are back stories to every vinyl record spin, an inspiration behind every song & dance, and that’s what I’ll scope out on this site.
Because Rock N Roll is based in rebellion, the music has to re-invent itself every few years or so. There has to be a sense of danger attached, some young angst, which cannot be captured and hawked like some cheap swill by a corporate record label. That is why the music does and always will be created from some garage somewhere, from some small place in the backstreets of America.
Chip Souza, editor
Chip writes about music: the sights, sounds and scenes that play out to rock n roll. On top of bad coffee, he designs web sites and plays a catalog of blues tunes on an old iMac.