Baby boom in post-World War II lasted from 1946 through 1964. 76 million
babies were born in that period of time. Everyone was fearing about their
social impact even before they became teens. Filmmakers, writers and social
commentators were all scared about growing rates of youth
committing criminal acts, rebellion against authority, drugs, alcohol or even
new style of clothes. Although every each was appalling they were the most
horrified about rock ‘n’ roll. This music marked a separation between generations
and defined incoming youth culture. Threshold of Rock ‘n’ roll shifted the
style of mainstream music. Even though it revolutionised American pop culture
at the beginning it was only known as music of youth rebellion. Before r ‘n’ r Tin
Pan Alley were the publishing houses concentrated in the Manhattan area. Later
this term was generally applying to mainstream pop music which did not appeal
to all people (Covach, John. “An Introduction to Rock and Its
History.” What’s That Sound?) Its makers and followers were limiting
themselves to the bigger cities of California so it was more for white,
educated middle and upper classes. That’s why African Americans, Latinos,
southern white, working class were creating their own separate musical styles.
Later on the traditions of both interlaced with each other. The build-up of
Rock ‘n’ roll was not the only big thing that was going on at that time. The
recording business got to the best point in early 1950s so it concurred with
progression in the music industry.

                         
What was the first rock ‘n’ roll song is a question
that music historians have been fighting for over a decade. Singles that were
commercially successful like Bill Haley & The Comets “Rock Around The
Clock” (1954), Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” (1955) and Elvis Presley’s
“Hound Dog” (1956) did not invent rock ‘n’ roll but were songs that popularized
the genre.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

In the beginning rock ‘n’ roll was kept only for
Afro-Americans. Then Alan Freed appeared (DJ from Cleveland) and helped to
change it. He noticed that white teens were buying whole albums with that kind
of music. He started to promote this music under name “rock and roll” on radio.
1951 was the first time that this name was used as a music genre. With this act
he diminished a barrier between black and white cultures. Rock ‘n Roll gained a
lot of fallowers and became main, dominant music type. To roll out this music
he organised few of first R’n’R gigs. Harmonic and rhythm simplicity but very
often dip lyrics about love or youths life are the main qualities of Rock ‘n’
Roll. Electric guitar and lead singer were at the forefront (Understanding Music (Rock ‘n’ Roll). Exclusively in early
60s this type of music started to become popular in Europe. British version of
it was more sophisticated but the main scheme was kept as it was in US.

    Youth were
the firsts who noticed increase of frustration amidst black people because of
their fourth-rate legal and social position. The crucial step unto ending racial
segregation were ratings taken by a civil grassroots rights movement. Just as
important was US Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Broad of Education in 1954.
The whole black habitants and white allies’ citizens slowly started progressing
against deflating black equality.  Popular
music at current situation was also under big challenge. Black artists,
sometimes after long time of success in R&B charts, found mainstream fan
base and consequently went high in pop charts. Brief appearances on the pop
charts in the first moments of 1950s made Fats Dominos, Joe Turner and Ruth
Brown. Orioles, Dominoes and Crows as a vocal groups had a bit bigger success. This
music was written to entertain broad families from middle class which was children
as much as adults. Before anyone noticed in 1950s this was the kind of music listened
to by most of American teens.  

 Within next decades
this music evolved assuming more and more provocative forms, frequently causing
the depravity among representatives of the pre-war generation of conservative
Americans, but was way for young people to look forward to some other methods in
order to express themselves. Elvis Presley was the most popular musician
performing the so-called rockabilly, had all features that they were looking
for in the star that they could emulate (“Historia D?wi?kiem Pisana. Krótko o Tym Jak Narodzi? Si? Rock ‘n’
Roll | HISTORIA.org.pl – Historia, Kultura, Muzea, Matura, Rekonstrukcje i
Recenzje Historyczne.”HISTORIA.org.pl, 16 Aug. 2015). Jimmy Carter in the statement on the Death of
Elvis Presley said “Elvis Presley’s death deprives our country of a
part of itself. He was unique and irreplaceable. More than 20 years ago, he
burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably
never be equalled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white
country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American
popular culture. His following was immense, and he was a symbol to people the
world over of the vitality, rebelliousness, and good humour of his country “(Jimmy Carter: “Statement by the
President on the Death of Elvis Presley,” August 17, 1977).  The coming together of white youth addressees
and black compositions in rock and roll, inevitably provoked strong white
racist reactions within the US, with many whites condemning its breaking down
of barriers based on colour(:
 G. C. Altschuler, All shook up: how rock ‘n’
roll changed America  p. 35). Many authors have argued that early
rock and roll was instrumental in the way both white and black teenagers
identified themselves (Carson, Mina
(2004). Girls Rock! Fifty Years of
Women Making Music p. 24.) This genre was popularly associated with drugs
and sex. Hard-drinking and hard-living were the terms that you could describe
many of rock ‘n’ roll stars (just as jazz and blues ones).Lives of artists were
more publicly known during 1960s because of rise of interest in underground
rock press. This promoted acceptability of drug usage in teen mass.  Journalist Al Aronowitz wrote
“…whatever the Beatles did was acceptable, especially for young
people.” (“Al
Aronowitz Remembers; Dylan, The Beatles & Marijuana.” Al Aronowitz Remembers… (Part 2)).
Jerry Garcia, of the rock band Grateful
Dead said, “For some people, taking LSD
and going to Grateful Dead show
functions like a rite of passage … we don’t have a product to sell; but we do
have a mechanism that works.”  If an
artist first comes to public attention with specific style, any further
stylistic progression may be seen as selling out to long-time followers. On the
other hand, producers and superiors may gradually take more control of the
artist, as happened, for instance, in Elvis Presley’s swift changeover in
species from “The Hillbilly Cat” to “your teddy bear”. Beginning
of rock and roll music spawned new dance trends. Teenagers found the accented backbeat rhythm. Basement dance parties and gym dances became
the rage. To keep up on newest fashion and dances US teenagers watched Dick
Clark’s American Bandstand ( R. Aquila, That
old-time rock & roll: a chronicle of an era, 2000), p. 10)

Taking everything into account you would think that
there wasn’t racial barrier anymore but unfortunately it was not a case yet.
Racism in America was still one of the biggest issue. There is a lot of
definitions of it declared by sociologists. “Culturally sanctioned beliefs,
which regardless of intentions involved, defend the advantages Whites have
because of the subordinated position of racial minorities, “is the Wellmans description.
Further he gives clearer description of racism that is representing an attitude
of prejudice that exists apart from the organisation of community structure. In
that time, native radio stations and record stores were replicating the tastes
of the Black community. Middleton is sustaining that the importance of music in
Black society comprising to White society has to be seen as a cultural
difference because as a result Black and White people were integrating more and
White habitants were getting to know more about emotional life of Black ones.
What is more, increase of ‘baby boom’ generation helped in rock ‘n’ roll coming
into being. While most adults found it unapproachable, teens were passionate about
this music genre. Driving force behind creating music and production was the young-working
class. Teenagers are seen as inventors of rock ‘n’ roll. Moreover, it has been obvious
that ‘music plays a central role in the process of personality construction of
young people’. This music influenced on teens in many ways, for instance,
language, fashion or even attitude toward the political.

All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that the
impact of rock and roll on society and culture of America is almost too huge to
measure. This significant genre started uniting people and breaking the walls
between Black and White citizens. It was pitting government, mass media, parents
against teenagers, and at the same time helped wear down some of the preconceptions
felt in the direction to African Americans. Strict older people didn’t like the
influence that rock ‘n’ roll was giving. They did not like intensive constant
sexuality of the performances, lyrics of songs and of course they did not like
the fact that this music had bases in in Afro-Americans culture even though if
it was white artist who made the song. The rebellious nature of this genre
about which was accused was excruciating for them. Parents could not stand that
even though they were forbidding, money which were given to teens were spent on
rock ‘n’ roll music albums. When a teenager did have a job then her or him, basically
were allowed to spend the money that they have earned on the things they simply
wanted. White youth were listening to music not only inspired by but often
performed by Black people. The thing that at concerts performers and part of
the audience were Black for teens was exciting but anyone else was disapproving
it. The films such as Blackboard jungle (1955) inspired teens to question
authority under which they have been. Music in 1950s was able to do what jazz
and Rhythm and Blues couldn’t do. This was possible because of advent of the
radio, convenience in getting a music albums and television programs. After World
War II Families were more likely to be financially stable, that said they did
not have to be supported by some institutions when they children were born. People
were given possibility to change world and even though older ones did not want
to, teens pushed them forward.  By
finally finding this common ground and with the help of the Supreme Court’s
stance in contradiction of segregation, and the spread of the Civil Rights
Movement, rock ‘n’ roll was able to corrode the long standing tradition of hate
and segregation through its music. In a little while when teenagers from baby boom
reached voting age reforms of the most of sweeping Civil Rights went in to
life. If those Civil Rights Movements would have continued without rebellious
genre of rock ‘n’ roll, probably would have taken much longer to break down the
barriers that this helped to break down.