DEEPENING IN ROOTS
Ugly, vicious, destructive “- such epithets awarded white America a new musical style – rock and roll. But subsequent decades have shown that this trend, rooted deep in history, is not a passing fashion, but the musical culture of several generations.
The rock and roll style, which absorbed elements of both European and African culture, could appear only in America. Immigrants from different countries of Europe, who poured into the New World in the XVII-XVIII centuries, brought with them not only their music, but also their instruments. Slaves imported from Africa retained their musical traditions, but in view of the ban on playing national instruments, they had to be content with singing and dancing.
Over the next two centuries, the coexistence of two musical cultures could not but lead to their mutual enrichment, despite prejudice, protests and attempts to protect them from each other. As a result of this evolution, ragtime, jazz, swing and blues appeared. Over time, the blues, characteristic of the rural southern states, penetrated the north and into large cities, where it evolved into rhythm and blues – the forerunner of rock and roll. Like jazz and blues, rhythm and blues was at first black music and the white audience was of little interest.
However, after the Second World War, a new social formation announced itself – teenagers. Satisfied with the music of their parents, white teenagers began to buy records with rhythm and blues compositions. By the early 1950s, the recordings of Muddy Waters, Ray Charles, The Drifters and other blues and rhythm and blues performers began to occupy the top positions in the charts alongside Eddie Fisher, Perry Como and other “spotless white” artists. The birth of rock and roll. White began to perform rhythm and blues compositions, among which was a country singer and western singer named Bill Haley. In 1953, he recorded two or three things that had previously become hits by other musicians, including Crazy Man Crazy.
The following year, he recorded a CD with two songs: Thirteen Women and Rock Around the Clock. After that, he performed Shake, Rattle and Roll, Mambo Rock and Birth of the Boogie. But, despite the name of the last song (“The Birth of a Boogie Woogie”), a completely different child was born. As Muddy Waters sang in one of his songs, “rhythm and blues gave birth to a baby and called rock and roll.”
Later, Rock Around the Clock sounded in the movie School Jungle. The picture was a resounding success with American and British teenagers. Her screening in cinemas was accompanied by unprecedented scenes: teenagers broke out chairs in the hall, because the aisles did not fit everyone who wanted to dance. The song entered the American charts in May 1954, and since July led the hit parade for six whole weeks.
Having stayed in the ranking of forty best songs (“Top 40”) for 24 weeks, nineteen of which she was in the Top 10, the composition became one of the eternal hits of pop music. The youth who knew Haley from his songs was very surprised that her idol turned out to be a chubby little man with a flirty crest combed on his forehead. Trivial appearance, however, did not affect the unprecedented circulation of his records.
In 1957, Haley became the first rock musician from the United States to tour in the UK. Upon arrival in London, he could not break through the crowd that met him for 20 minutes, and at a concert at the Dominion Tietr, his fans dispersed so much that some members of parliament even tried to get a government ban on rock and roll. Over time, of course, his songs disappeared from hitparads, but by the time he died in 1981, he had sold more than 60 million records, which undoubtedly testifies to his fame as a rock star of the first magnitude
Other giants of the early rock and roll era included Little Richard, who performed with Hayley in Rock Around the Clock; Fats Domino – rhythm and blues singer who started as a pianist in a New Orleans bar for three dollars a week; Jerry Lee Lewis, whose parents laid the house in 1949 to buy his gifted 16-year-old son a piano. Seven years later, Lewis and his father had to become street vendors for a while to raise money for a trip to Memphis to record the song Whole Lot of Shakin ‘Coin’ On. Recognized today as a classic of rock music, then this “vulgar” song fell under the ban on most radio stations. The label “vulgar” was often glued to the young man who recorded Rock Around the Clock the year before Haley, but in a very small print run.
Three years later, after the hit of the Heartbreak Hotel in March 1956, all the newspapers started talking about it, and a month later, 40 million Americans saw the performance of this song on television. Young people immediately burned with a passionate love for the singer, and the older generation spoke of him only as “disgusting, vicious,” “village”, “shame on the human race,” “maniac with unwashed hair and dirty songs,” “child molester”. His name was Elvis Presley.
Over time, Elvis became the undisputed king of rock and roll. His repertoire included many songs that today are rightly considered classic rock, including Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog and All Shook Up, and the ballads Love Me Tender and Can’t Help Falling in Love. On films with his participation, people fell in droves. When Presley died in 1977, millions of people whose youthful years fell on the 50s and 60s, as well as their children, it seemed that rock and roll had died with their idol.
At first, Americans dominated the stage and on the shelves of record stores on both sides of the ocean. The leaders of the English charts went and Tommy Steel, and Cliff Richard, and Marty Wilde, but they did not have much success in the United States, where stars such as Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochrane, Ray Charles, Gene Vincent competed for the cherished place , Everly Brothers, Sam Cook, Danny and the Juniors, Brand Lee and others.