The mid-term research paper reveals the description of the culture of my personal interest, i.e. Rock’n’Roll music culture. The paper focuses on its history, general and individual influence. Music has always been the part of culture on different levels. It was used in various different ways: for ceremonial purposes in ancient religious rituals and for amusement purposes in modern popular culture.
But there is also a unique and powerful example of music itself becoming the source of some kind of a new culture, its starting point. This music style is Rock’n’Roll. It has not only influenced many other styles, but also prepared a good ground for freedom of style and mind, for creativity and self-expression. One might like or dislike it, but its influence on culture (especially American culture) is an evident and incontestable fact.Speaking about the origin and history of Rock’n’Roll one’s immediate association is Elvis Presley.
Though this musician contributed a lot to the development of the style and was probably the one who made Rock’n’Roll widespread and popular, we cannot ignore the part of its development ‘before Elvis’. The prehistory of rock’n’roll started in the 1940s already, with ‘such unsung characters as Goree Carter, Hardrock Gunter, and the Harlem Hamfats, the list of forerunners includes such household names as Bing Crosby, Roy Rogers and Ella Fitzgerald’ (Birnbaum 4). The origin of the style is a highly debated topic among music historians, but the majority of music scholars agree, that at early stages it was closely connected to rhythm and blues and country music. Therefore it is possible to conclude that Rock’n’Roll as a separate genre stemmed from the two abovementioned styles and was influenced by some other music styles popular at that time. Though the music genre under study emerged a decade earlier, the very name (or one can even call it ‘term’) Rock’n’Roll appeared in 1951. According to Birnbaum, this term was coined by Alan Freed. It was referred to the corresponding music genre and was used ‘as a substitute for the racially identified label “rhythm-and-blues” (13). The further history of the genre is more wide-known.
The most popular representatives of Rock’n’Roll in 1950s were Bill Haley, Jackie Brenston, Little Richard and, of course, ‘the King of Rock and Roll’ - Elvis Presley. The popularity of the genre in the United States spread to the United Kingdom. The historians of music suggest the highest peak of the development of this style in the early 1950s and its decline in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Though more than half a century has passed since the years of the greatest popularity of the style, its influence on the culture in noticeable even now.The powerful influence of the Rock’n’Roll music style on the other areas of popular culture cannot but draw one’s attention. In my opinion, one of the results of the influence was the popularization of the genre in the United Kingdom and the development of the so-called ‘British rock and roll’, which later resulted into an …