Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rockin' in the 50s, Rollin' Too!

It's the 50s - Rock and Roll, Rock & Roll, Rock 'n' Roll, Rockin' and Rollin'! Before we jump right in & start "shakin' that thang" let's take a step back in time to fully understand the evolution of this rockin', rollin' music.

A close bond between blues and country music existed from the very earliest country recordings in the early 1920s. A ballad, "Wreck of the Old 97", became the first nationwide country hit. Another needing mentioning is "Lonesome Road Blues" which became quite popular.

During the 1930s and 1940s, combinations emerged binding country singing and steel guitar with big band jazz influences and horn sections. These two-beat jazz rhythms preceded early rockabilly recordings.

A mixture of musical genres definitely made and kept the 50s rockin' and rollin'! Electric blues, Bluegrass, Honky Tonk, Hillbilly Boogie were all precursors to rock 'n' roll and contributed to the rockin' all night long.

As you listen to a quick excerpt of each tune, you will notice the changes in tempo each with its own distinct rhythm predominant to the 50s era.

So much happened in the music world of the 50s it is virtually impossible to cover it all in this one simple post. Three happenings that cannot go unnoticed are the hit recording Rock Around the Clock, the acclaimed King of Rock 'n' Roll, and American Bandstand. Both are synonymous of the mid-50s when the music was rockin' the house down!

Various artists recorded "Rock Around the Clock" but the best-known and most successful rendition was performed by Bill Haley and His Comets in 1954. It is considered to be the song that, more than any other, brought rock and roll into mainstream culture around the world. [Source: en.wikipedia.org 

Then, in 1956, Pelvic gyrations scandalized the public!

Youngsters were titillated while adults were horrified at the sexual movements on stage of none other than Elvis Presley, King of Rock 'n' Roll, or simply, "the King." His first single with Sun Records, "That's All Right" (1954), featured guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black. While performing his RCA single "Hound Dog" in 1956, suggestive hip movements caused his performance to be slammed by television critics. But, while the critics were busy slamming, teen girls were busy swooning! Elvis Presley dared to do what no one else had ever done and in doing so, tore down racial barriers fusing the styles of white country with black gospel music and rhythm & blues.
"If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars," Sam Phillips, Sun Records.

Elvis Presley received numerous accolades and awards throughout his music career. He made history in his television appearances and specials, starred in 33 films, inducted into many halls of fame and knew great acclaim through his many, often record-breaking, live concert performances on tour and in Las Vegas. Is Elvis alive today? Elvis may have left the building but his music lives on in the heart and minds of both young and old.

Is he "the King?" Heck yea!

LIVE first on radio, then television
came Dick Clark & American Bandstand!

Dick Clark at his DJ post in the 1950s.
"I don't make culture," he reportedly said at one point, "I sell it."
Remember Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and Fabian? American Bandstand made America more receptive to rock 'n' roll as it brought the music of top recording artists right into the home every afternoon. One must remember that rock 'n' roll was not immediately accepted into the limelight, especially by adults. Now, a unique television show appeared that allowed teens to watch performances of their favorite recording artists with adult supervision. 

From the time it hit the national airwaves in 1957,” observes rock historian Hank Bordowitz, “Bandstand changed the perception and dissemination of popular music.” 

This iconic show, American Bandstand, began broadcasting nationally August 5, 1957, beaming images of clean-cut, average teenagers dancing to the not-so-clean-cut Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" to 67 ABC affiliates across the nation.

Then, in 1958, came. . . 

Long live rock 'n' roll!

 What's your favorite or could you rock 'n' roll to them all?

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...