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Evolution of Rock N Roll

Updated on February 13, 2011

Easy as 1-2-3

Rock music, that is, electric guitars, bands, amps, bass etc., originated from the Blues much earlier. Bill Haley and the Comets were near the first of the "rock" bands, of course, Elvis, the King of Rock, took it to the next level and was banned in many places for the frenzy he caused to girls and for is sexual hip movements, some of his early rock numbers remain classic, but by 1960, he really had become a sort of "Sinatra" of rock music. It was Frank Sinatra in the 1940s that caused girls to act as they did for Elvis. Elvis had lost his rawness, the edge, the angst that many artists lose after becoming millionaires. His music clearly reflected it. Meanwhile, another bunch of teenagers in Liverpool idolized Elvis. They mimiced everything he did, his sound, his look. Elvis inspired them to buy guitars and crave his success. They would sing with his records, pretend they were in bands, be famous. Their parents scoffed at them, "you'll never earn a good living do that".

Of course, the lads were John lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr. But like millions of others, they also liked other American rock bands, mostly Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Little Richard. So time passes, the next generation of rock begins to evolve from American R&B and Pop but with a British twist and sound, which really made it so much better. Thus, The Beatles played such a vast assortment of music during their formation it was amazing-they simply were not interested in just rock. But the band never caught on, so they played a year in Hamburg. Their Hamburg days really is where they became so tight as a band. It was where the "beatle look" in hairstyle was born, which prevails to this day.

When they returned with a new look, things began to change. They still wore leather pants, cowboy boots and looked raw, but the hair was no longer greasy like Elvis, and they had bangs. Their music was so tight, they knew how each other played and when in a song. Their harmonies had been perfected. The songs were the same but sounded way better.

Of course, rock in the US followed a less progressive manner because Elvis dominated the scene. Whereas, The Beatles seemed to have out grown it and moved on, most American bands or artists had that Elvis look. An exception were The Beach Boys from California. There rock sound was totally different and their harmonies nice. Their look was the "surfer" look, so cool at the time. They rocked to themes about cars, love and surfers. Their music remained clean. They lacked the rawness and angst sound that The Beatles or Elvis could belt out.

By 1963, The Beatles dominated the UK scene. Their 1962 demos and some of their first songs as a team were rejected by Parlophone. Their manager continued to persist a record deal and as a last ditch attempt, met with a little known 30ish EMI producer, George Martin, who had been instructed to find a rock artist. Martin, himself, hated rock. So, The Beatles auditioned. They sang Please, Please Me and Love Me Do , original compositions. Martin thought they might have a chance, but did not like Ringo's drumming on Love Me do .m and replaced him with Alan White. He thought Please Please me might be their #1 hit. He liked their personalities, including John's refusal to change any song arrangements. He like John's raw voice and Paul's smooth crooning, together, it was like a swiss watch-perfect.

EMI released both songs and it was their first #1 hit. Meanwhile, in the US, Capitol records had a slight interest in The Beatles and arranged to have an American LP released in 1963 on the Veejay label. Thus, Introducing The Beatles, went out on a very limited test run, only 5000. Most of the songs were original. However, America was not interested in this import. The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons were stealing the scene. This LP is now worth 10K, it sold for $4.00. Thus, The Beatles continued their rise in the UK and Europe, where Beatlemania began. The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Dave Clark Five, were now all playing American R&B with a British twist.

Of course, 1964 comes, and Capitol Records knows they have a hot product and is willing to support it, The Beatles arrive and 72 million watched them perform on the Ed sullivan show. The rest of the story is now history. America is invaded by British rock bands and all are very popular because it was new and different.

However, The Beatles, like Elvis before, spawned more rock artists in 1964-5, kids just like they had been, to wit: members of Led Zepplin, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and many more. These kids loved The Beatles, went out and got guitars and started their own bands.

Since The Beatles, there really has not been a band that has changed the world and not just musically, nor will there be.

Led Zepplin brought in the first heavy metal sound, which still sounds fresh (even though The Beatles' Helter Skelter pre-dates Led Zepplin).

Led Zepplin then spawned others in the 70s and so on.


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      edge of eden 4 years ago

      the rock ad roll era is the whole reason we have the expresion we have today; without it we would all be walking around like mindless robots never doing anything about it while some of the kids and teens and even the adults still do that no matter what because of the bands we had then we have all the ones we do now. BUT we have the underlying quesion what makes it rock and roll these days almost everything is pop and different forms of "rock and roll" the thing is we cant tell those apart either its not about the bands in history or even the composer its the bands that made their own history those are the ones we SHOULD remeber

    • mel hanks profile image

      mel hanks 6 years ago from Holly Springs, North Carolina

      Great hub! We have the same hobby, it looks like.

    • profile image

      Monte 6 years ago

      Btw, citing you in a research paper. hope you don't mind. :)

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 6 years ago

      Yes, the thing to remember about The Beatles is that all of the bands your mentioned happened because of The Beatles impact on kids ages 9-15 or more. Any kid then, at that time, ran out and bought a guitar or was inspired by them, just as Elvis had done to the Beatles

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      Monte 6 years ago

      Yeah I agree with james. Chuck Berry influenced music in a way that no other artist (except for maybe Andres Segovia) has before. Andres Segovia only because he brought the guitar from being a parlor instrument to something you pay to go and see. The Beatles were good, but keep in mind that other bands such as Yardbirds, Doors, and Journey were very influential as well.

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      James 7 years ago

      nice article but you misspelled led zeppelin as zepplin. also u mentioned nothing about chuck berry when john lennon himself stated that "if rock n roll could be called something else, it could be called chuck berry" and although no other artist will effect people quiet the way the beatles did there have been some that have at least gotten close. led zeppelin for example basically set the standard to what modern rock is suppose to sound like and kids soon forgot about the beatles. also nirvana is basically the beatles of the 90s for that generation x generation. but of course without the beatles then most rock bands after them are basically nothing but without led zeppelin then heavy metal doesnt exist and if it did then it would suck, and without nirvana alterantive rock wouldnt have quiet made it as big as it did.

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      PERSAVOUS 7 years ago

      Hi,have a great week,pleas support my metal music in radio

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 7 years ago

      It is Beatles. You ask members of either band what bands they listened to as kids-The Beatles. 100 years from now, will anyone know even one of their songs? How about just 50 yrs? true, the Beatles were tame, polished in the early years, less so after 1966. Edgy and sexy are too subjective, but just visit Utube. There, teenage girls still find the Beatles sexy and compare their others to them in looks. They still say they are the best band ever.Look, the Beatles are a legend, they are beyond being a rock band. Even 56 yrs later, their music sells, there is a rock band video game. You just don't see it with either band you note.

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      Lucas 7 years ago

      No band has influenced music since The Beetles? Uh wow.There have ben MANY bands with just as big a cult following as the beetles. What about Black Sabbath? They changed how everyone looked at rock n roll. or Van Halen, they intrduced the edgy sexy side of rock n roll.

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 8 years ago

      are we talking about the same hub? if so, what in the world are you talking about? clarify.

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      sky 8 years ago

      what about the very first sound of music..the blacks singing and secretly held messages

    • perrya profile image

      perrya 8 years ago

      more interesting is the British Invasion led by The beatles in 1964.

    • bgpappa profile image

      bgpappa 8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Good Hub.