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The Golden  Decade 1954 -1963

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This web page attempts to explore the roots of rock in such a way as to illuminate the natural progression of musical styles. Too often the study of rock begins with Bill Haley and His Comets and includes scant information about the blues and rhythm records that he, and others, used as a model. A musical genre does not simply appear, it gradually evolves to a point in time when some event-performance, publication, or  recording allows listeners to perceive its unique qualities and apply a label. Wyonnie Harris' 1947 recording of "Good Rocking Tonight" was one of many "rhythm records" made during the late 1940s, however when it was recorded by Elvis Presley in 1954 it seemed like a new and different approach. What made it seem new and different was its context. Without exploring the history of black popular music, country and western music, race relations, technical developments, and the music business one can be led easily to the conclusion that rock and roll was some new and different music which appeared suddenly.

This page begins with the African musical traits brought here beginning in 1619 and attempts to trace their fusion with the European music brought here by the colonists. The story of this musical interaction is also the story of American popular music and includes the plantation songs of Stephen Foster, the ragtime of Scott Joplin, the blues of Bessie Smith, the jazz of Count Basie, and the jump bands of Louis Jordan. The knowledge of the stream of American popular music allows one to understand that rock and roll was a natural result of the combined forces that affected the music.

Changing the World: Rock and Roll Culture and Ideology
Race, Class and Rock and Roll
Birth of Rock and Roll and the Teenager


Journey of Sound


blueredball.gif (900 bytes)The Blues blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Rhythm and Blues

The Influences

blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Bluegrass blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Boogie-Woogie blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Gospel blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Jazz blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Rockabilly

The Record Companies

blueredball.gif (900 bytes) The Majors blueredball.gif (900 bytes) The Founders blueredball.gif (900 bytes) The Indies blueredball.gif (900 bytes) More Indies

The Publishing Houses

blueredball.gif (900 bytes) American Society of Publishers and Composers (ASCAP) blueredball.gif (900 bytes) Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI)

The Nineteen Fifties

blueredball.gif (900 bytes) The Nineteen Fifties blueredball.gif (900 bytes) The Teenager blueredball.gif (900 bytes) The Popular Music

Leiber and Stoller

blueredball.gif (900 bytes) The Coasters blueredball.gif (900 bytes) The Drifters

The Vocal Group Sound

blueredball.gif (900 bytes) The Vocal Sound blueredball.gif (900 bytes) What Is Doo Wop?
             blueredball.gif (900 bytes) Rhythm and Blues Groups blueredball.gif (900 bytes) Doo Wop Groups   

Cross Overs and Covers

blueredball.gif (900 bytes)The Cross Over Records blueredball.gif (900 bytes)The Covers Records

Shake Rattle and Roll

blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Original Lyrics by Joe Turner blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Cover Lyrics by Bill Haley

The Rockabillys

blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Elvis Presley blueredball.gif (900 bytes)The Sun Artists blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Other Rockabillys


blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Dick Clark blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Bandstand blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Pictures blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Teen Idols blueredball.gif (900 bytes) Dancing

The Second Wave

blueredball.gif (900 bytes)Soul Music blueredball.gif (900 bytes)New Pop

Payola and the Death of  American Rock and Roll

blueredball.gif (900 bytes)American Pie blueredball.gif (900 bytes)The Payola Scandal blueredball.gif (900 bytes)The Death of Rock

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