‘I don’t know which will go first – rock and roll or Christianity.’ -John Lennon. Rock and Roll – the immortal love child of music and culture. Though generically perceived as a genre of music, rock and roll is a way of living. Influencing the way we dress, the way we act, our view upon certain topics and how we decide upon the things we buy such as cigarettes and booze.
Once upon a time there was a land where dancing was a chore, everyone saw black and white, no outrageous stories of rebellion for newspapers to plaster on the front pages, the world a marching band of lifeless folk. Then the 1950s saw the birth of potentially, in our opinion THE best invention to ever be conceived. Rock and Roll was introduced, a newly established genre of music that developed into many other things, changing the world.
One of the earliest rock and rollers was Buddy Holly who is also known as a pioneer of Rock and Roll and one of the largest influences on past and present musicians. Unfortunately the man only managed to suck up a year and half’s worth of success before dying in an airplane crash. Since all the Original rock and rollers where either shipped off to the army, in prison or in the ground; producers took over the rock and roll music scene and made it bigger than ever.
America had a fair bit of success in rock and roll with black music; rhythm and blues was one half of rock and roll, combining this with country is what created a swinging sound that rocked clubs. However they were soon to be pissed off by the arrival of John Lennon and co. The Beatles move to America pretty much wiped out all the original American Rock and Roll bands by grabbing the audience’s attention and sustaining it. They also pissed off professional songwriters, jeopardising their careers by writing their own material. Get in boys, we love to cause havoc. The Beatles were not the only British rock and roll group that rubbed America’s stars and producers up the wrong way; many other British musicians such as the 60’s Manfred Mann began covering black artist’s songs and thriving with them meanwhile the original artists’ success began going downhill. Really only leaving the likes of James Brown to keep the black pop and rock and roll scene progressing.
I predict a riot!
One of the first accounted for riots in rock and roll history broke out at the Cleveland arena in 1952 at the world’s first Rock n Roll concert. The sold out venue saw crowds of people push their way through, leading to a riot and even a stabbing. Good prospects in order for the start of a new era then.
Another early riot was in Jacksonville at Presley’s concert in 1955. This particular riot was spawned from sexual desire within the fans when Elvis announced “Girls, I’ll see you backstage.” Little did he know that his fans would take this seriously and begin climbing through a ceiling vent and ripping the clothes off the poor bastard’s back.
Rock and Roll music has been held responsible for many occurrences of rioting, fights and rebellion. The music had been described to turn listeners wild, making them feel alive and unbeatable. This is however the opinions of squares in society. So fans jumped on stage and moved a lot, what’s the harm in living a little and getting involved in the music; of course there are times where things may have gone a little out of proportion but we live in an imperfect world where anything and everything can and will cross the line at some point.
The term Rock and Roll was used as slang for sexual intercourse, especially in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Some may say that it is a gateway drug to risky sex but everyone knows that it has influenced the attitude that its audience, predominantly teens, have towards sex, one night stands and ignorance to contraception.
The rock and roll scene was and still is in many cases male dominated, from the producers to the stars themselves and it doesn’t take a genius to know that there is a lot of sex in that industry. Women would go weak at the knees for the likes of Elvis and John Lennon and you could almost guarantee that there were a few hot totties waiting backstage to fulfil the needs of each star.
A combination of heart racing music, lyrical innuendos and a wild lifestyle is what whips up the perfect recipe for sex mad teenagers. Women who were used in the industry were referred to as sex kittens, a perfect technique for selling female musicians. Girls wanted to be these naughty sex kittens whereas the men would be influenced by the bad boy look, put two and two together and you get as close to the sexual aspect of rock and roll as possible.
Nevertheless, Sex has a dark side which isn’t all that glamorous. Sexual deviant, Michael Hutchence was said to of potentially been performing auto erotic asphyxia, which involves getting into a state between hypoxia and death that allows for an orgasm. Hutchence was found dead in his hotel room in 1997 with evidence to show AEA was the likely cause. We also have Freddie Mercury, not only a musical prodigy but also a sex idol although, careless sex led to his unfortunate death from HIV developing to AIDs. Although a great loss and sad scenario it raised concerns about unprotected sex and urged health services and other musicians to promote safe sex and using condoms.
The drugs don’t work
Everybody should be familiar with the middle word in-between sex and rock and roll. Drugs have played a large role in the lifestyle of hard-living characters strolling about in the limelight. Many have gone through drug rehabilitation programmes; others weren’t quick enough to get help and died as a result of the drugs.
Recreational drug use was popularly promoted by musicians, youths perception of drug using was changed due to it being glamourized by artists from Elvis and The Beatles to Amy Winehouse and Guns and Roses. The audience, like most of us at a young age, tend to accept and follow the behaviour of our idols. Once The Beatles use of LSD had been acknowledged in the public eye, many fans followed.
Promotion of drug use has been reduced to the bare minimum in today’s rock and roll spotlight. Many musicians will raise awareness and use their previous experiences to inform fans of the negative effects that drugs can have. There have only been a few incidents more recently where an artist has been arrested or died due to drugs but anything like that is a good reason to minimalize drug usage influenced by music.
Where are you now?
It’s probably safe to say that Rock and Roll music is not what it used to be. The term isn’t used so much to describe a particular sound of music but more or less to describe a way of living. It can be classed as a careless way of perceiving life, substances and sex or quite simply just be used to describe having fun with life. In the end it is a matter of opinion. Bands and artist still incorporate a rock and roll theme into their music but it has been adapted for the present time, to interest the audience most likely to buy music.
Will rock and roll die out? No. The way in which it is used may be altered but what goes around comes back around, just like vintage fashion is currently popular in youth appearance. Illegal downloading and other music related issues may not help the scene to get back on the road again but this is something that affects all music prospects. We believe here that Rock and Roll makes the world go round, like anything it has up’s and down’s but we can’t live in contentment without it. All we can say is that inside everyone there is a little rock and roll and we thank the legends who put it there.