Since ancient times, some sort of arrangements have been made by a group of people to sing and perform as a team, often employing vocal as well as instrumental music. This includes nursery rhymes, church prayers, drinking songs etc. A new entrant to this historic tradition of group singing is the rock band. The rock band is a professional musical ensemble which includes guitars, keyboards, bass instrument and drums.

 

Rock: The term
The word ‘rock’ as it is used today, has its root in the ‘rock-n-roll’ culture that stormed the American society in the 1950’s. A Cleveland disc jockey, Mr. Alan Freed is arguably the first one to coin the term. It was taken from the song “My Baby Rocks Me with a Steady Roll”. The explicitly sexual  representation of words like ‘rock’ and ‘roll’ is a product of a popular African-American singing tradition named ‘Rhythm and blue’. Me with a Steady Roll”. The explicitly sexual  representation of words like ‘rock’ and ‘roll’ is a product of a popular African-American singing tradition named ‘Rhythm and blue’.


The birth of Rock Bands
The ‘rocks’ culture is largely an outcome of the coming together of African and American music. In the yearly years of the 20th century, former African slaves and their descendents started settling in major urban centers like Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, etc. As a result, African music came in contact with already popular European instrumental music.

 

Rock music arrived at a time when modern technology gave to the world of music, some wonderful instruments like electric guitar, amplifier, microphone, etc. this helped the new form of music, i.e, rock to develop. Even the recording industry saw sea changes.

 

1950’s: The ‘rock’ music as a genre of music did not develop in a day. It saw an evolutionary process.Initially, ‘white’ singers like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis started
playing and recording ‘rock’ music that had its roots in the country and ‘rhythm and blue’ tradition. In 1950’s bands or groups started performing with electric guitars, drum sets and saxophones.  They played fusions, of ‘rhythm and blues’, country and gospel. During this time, both solo performers like Elvis Presley as well as professional bands like ‘His Comets’ and ‘The Everly Brothers’ became popular.

 

 

Country and gospel. During this time, both solo performers like Elvis Presley as well as professional bands like ‘His Comets’ and ‘The Everly Brothers’ became popular.

 

1960’s: This decade saw a complete transformation of ‘rock’ bands. The Beatles came to scene and ushered in the ‘British invasion’ in the field of rock music. Even, The Byrds and The Rolling Stone achieved great popularity. For the first time, rock bands meant something more than a music genre; it included fashion items like clothes and hairstyle.

 

The Beatles came to scene and ushered in the ‘British invasion’ in the field of
rock music. Even, The Byrds and The Rolling Stone achieved great popularity. For the first time, rock bands meant something more than a music genre; it included fashion items like clothes and hairstyle.

The Rock Bands have shown a steady evolution. From the soothing notes, it has adopted harsher and louder sounds. “Psychedelic” bands came to the scene. The lyrics started to flaunt sex, misogyny and poverty. The band arrangements became more flexible giving wide areas of experimentations.

 

Rock bands are a product of an afro-American cultural revolution. Its popularity has made sky contact. No other music genre has defined teen-age culture, more than rock-band. It has even carved out its own dance styles. And it continues to evolve and get diversified. 

Picture courtesy- (www.bestbuytoday.com, www.myrolemodel.info, www.bestdocs.com.br)

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UTSA MUKHERJEE

UTSA MUKHERJEE

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