Rock 'n' roll (also written rock & roll, rock and roll) is a musical genre, having emerged in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, arising directly from rhythm and blues, popular music mixed, with an influence of country music, popular rural music.
In addition to the vinyl phonographic industry and the radio, a series of films ensures the massive diffusion of the phenomenon beyond the United States. This series begins in 1954 with Graine de violence: “the historic event of the film is the music for the credits: the famous Rock Around the Clock, by Bill Haley. The starting point, the zero year of rock history in two minutes and eight seconds.
The break (epistemological some would say) is there. ” From this date the simple movement of "rolling and pitching" is part of a larger history, rock, while continuing in other forms through rockabilly or acrobatic rock for example.
Rock 'n' roll is first inspired by rhythm and blues, the ternary rhythm of the latter being replaced by a binary rhythm and a more sustained tempo. We must distinguish rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll, even if the task seemed delicate from the late 1940s to 1954.
This style was born from the fusion between blues derivatives (parallel to gospel), and country.
The label rock 'n' roll was first used to distinguish the rhythm and blues of African-Americans from that of whites, for reasons related to racial politics at the time. It was unacceptable that the music of white artists was found in the same bins in record stores as that known as "ethnic" (African-American).
The majority white community, which does not frequent the night clubs of the underprivileged, but rather the small country balls (or the country concerts, more socially engaged), rejects this musical style considered as barbaric ("a music of savages "), even subversive.
The main precursors are Big Joe Turner, Louis Jordan, Arthur Crudup, Wynonie Harris, John Lee Hooker, Fats Domino, but also women like Rosetta Tharpe, Big Mama Thornton, or Albennie Jones.
We find the first traces recorded in the late 1940s, before the release of the fundamentals Rock Around the Clock, and Blue Suede Shoes, in the music of jazz-man Louis Jordan, who played it without knowing it ... (cf. Let the Good Times Roll etc.); and the blues-woman Rosetta Tharpe (cf. The Lonesome Road - 1941).
Fats Domino, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, black musicians, are then the main hyper-creative pillars of rock 'n' roll, but it was Bill Haley and His Comets who officially signed in 1955 the first number 1 of rock 'n' roll with the title Rock Around the Clock (taken from Sonny Dae and His Knights, 1952), in a style very simplified and easily assimilated for young people, a new social class emerging in the post-war period.
This first hit in the history of rock 'n' roll which appears in the credits of the film Graine de violence was number 1 in the charts in the United States (8 weeks) and in the United Kingdom (3 weeks) in 1955.
A few months later in 1956, Presley's Hound Dog (with Don't Be Cruel on side B) beat him in record sales and in number (11) number 1 weeks in the United States, which made him the song of the most popular rock 'n' roll ever. Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent rush into the breach.
Black musicians remain very active thanks in particular to Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. That same year, Little Richard on his first 33 rpm recorded four of the biggest standards in rock: Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Rip It Up and Ready Teddy.
These African-American artists will definitely influence the world of rock 'n' roll by their compositions but also by their games of revolutionary scenes. Chuck Berry marked rock with his title Johnny B. Goode in 1957.
The title is taken up by several generations of rockers, from Elvis Presley to AC / DC via The Beatles. His stage play and dance steps will also be taken up by his successors like Angus Young. The Rolling Stones will be largely inspired by his style