Rock ‘n’ roll (often written as rock & roll or rock ‘n’ roll) is a genre of popular music that evolved in the United States after World War II in the late 1940s from a combination of the rhythms of the blues, from the African American culture, and from America’s country music and gospel music scenes.
Rock ‘n’ Roll started after the year 1955 and the genre emerged as a defined musical style in America in the 1950s, though elements of rock and roll can be seen in rhythm and blues records as far back as the 1920s.
Rock ‘n’ Roll, also called Rock, is a form of popular music, usually featuring vocals (often with vocal harmony backing), electric guitars and saxophone in the early days. Rock ‘n’ roll of the late 1950s relied heavily upon 12-bar blues and 32-bar song forms.
The music arrived at a time of considerable technological change, soon after the development of the electric guitar, amplifier and microphone, and the 45 rpm record. It did, however, have a greater emphasis on the backbeat than boogie woogie.
Rock and roll appeared at a time when racial tensions in the United States were entering a new phase, with the beginnings of the civil rights movement for desegregation, leading to the Supreme Court ruling that abolished the policy of “separate but equal” in 1954, but leaving a policy which would be extremely difficult to enforce in parts of the United States.
Rock ‘n’ roll is often identified with the emergence of teen culture among the first baby boomer generation, who had both greater relative affluence, leisure, and who adopted the music as part of a distinct sub-culture.
It emerged in the USA in the mid-1950s as a development of rhythm-and-blues, but whereas rhythm-and-blues had an almost exclusively African-American audience, rock and roll appealed to a mass audience mainly of young whites.
Rock and roll music and rock music have grown today to consist of many different types of music, including pop music, R & B music and the more recently developed alternative music genres.
It’s been described as a merger of country music and rhythm and blues, but, if it were that simple, it would have existed long before it burst into the national consciousness.
Rock n’ roll’s golden era had ended, and 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, and the harmony-rich surf fantasies of the Beach Boys.