Its origins lie in a combination of rhythm and blues, jazz, and country-western music. The earliest known song that represents rock and roll is the song by Bill Hayley and His Comets entitled “Rock Around the Clock” (1954). Soon after that song came out, a young man from Memphis, Tennessee, known as Elvis Presley hit the scene and reigned for nearly 20 years as the “king” of rock and roll.
This new style of music captivated the young audiences in America in the 1950’s. It was, for them, a form of rebellion and a way to break out of the molds that their parents had set for them. In 1964 a little-known group known as ‘THE BEATLES’ came on an American tour. They became, in a very short period of time, the most well-known and successful rock band in history. Throughout the 1960’s African-American rock music was known as “soul’ music. It got its name from the emphasis that these tunes placed on gospel origins and heartfelt words.
Throughout time, rock music has come to be a term that acts as an umbrella under which an incredible variety of styles and sounds coexists. So strong has rock’s influence been that composers have sought to incorporate elements of rock and roll in musicals, choir pieces, church music, and symphonies. Rock music, like jazz, country-western, and all the other styles of music, has taken the elements of music from the past and combined them in new and different ways to create an independent identity.
It is impossible to predict what will happen in the future. There are composers today who are hearkening back to the music of the past, and many composers today are desperately seeking to be the Mozarts or Schonbergs of the future. Only time will tell what music will bring to us, but rest assured that we will hear it loud and clear.