Alfred Wertheimer: Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Roll by Chris MurrayThe King of Rock n Roll is born: The making of Elvis, behind the scenes Elvis who? was photographerAlfred Wertheimer s response when, in early1956, an RCA Victor publicist asked him to photograph an up-and-coming crooner from Memphis. Little did Wertheimer know that this would be the job of his life: just 21 years old, Elvis Presleywas as we now know about to become a legend.Trailing Presley like a shadow, Wertheimer took nearly 3,000 photographs of Presleythat year, creating a penetrating portrait of a man poised on the brink of superstardom. Extraordinary in its intimacy and unparalleled in its scope, Wertheimers Elvis projectimmortalized a young man in the very process of making history.Now available as a TASCHEN standard edition, Elvis and the Birth of Rock and Rollcollects Wertheimer s most remarkable Elvis shots from that magical year, along with a selection of his historic 1958 pictures of the star being shipped off to an army base in Germany.Each chapter is illustrated with a poster by Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest letterpress print shops in America, which created many early Elvis posters in the 1950s. Text in English, French, and German
The Birth of Rock 'n' Roll
Rock and roll has been described as a merger of country music and rhythm and blues , but, if it were that simple, it would have existed long before it burst into the national consciousness. The seeds of the music had been in place for decades, but they flowered in the mids when nourished by a volatile mix of black culture and white spending power. Black vocal groups such as the Dominoes and the Spaniels began combining gospel-style harmonies and call-and-response singing with earthy subject matter and more aggressive rhythm-and-blues rhythms. In that sound coalesced around an image: that of a handsome white singer, Elvis Presley , who sounded like a black man. Yet his early recordings with producer Sam Phillips , guitarist Scotty Moore , and bassist Bill Black for Sun Records in Memphis were less about any one style than about a feeling. Presley was hardly the only artist who embodied this attitude, but he was clearly a catalyst in the merger of black and white culture into something far bigger and more complex than both. For young white America, this new music was a soundtrack for rebellion, however mild.
The History of Rock 'n' Roll 01 The Rock'n Roll Explods
According to Greg Kot , "rock and roll" refers to a style of popular music originating in the U. In the earliest rock and roll styles, either the piano or saxophone was typically the lead instrument, but these instruments were generally replaced or supplemented by guitar in the middle to late s. Beyond simply a musical style, rock and roll, as seen in movies, in fan magazines, and on television, influenced lifestyles, fashion, attitudes, and language. In addition, rock and roll may have contributed to the civil rights movement because both African-American and white American teenagers enjoyed the music. The phrase "rocking and rolling" originally described the movement of a ship on the ocean,  but was used by the early twentieth century, both to describe the spiritual fervor of black church rituals  and as a sexual analogy. Various gospel, blues and swing recordings used the phrase before it became used more frequently — but still intermittently — in the s, on recordings and in reviews of what became known as "rhythm and blues" music aimed at a black audience. In , Billboard magazine columnist Maurie Orodenker started to use the term "rock-and-roll" to describe upbeat recordings such as "Rock Me" by Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
When was rock and roll born? Some scholars of popular music would say in , the year Elvis Aron Presley entered the world, or earlier in the s, when hillbilly fiddle tunes met African American country blues in the music popular entertainers such as Jimmie Rodgers. To judge by the charts, belongs to the big band and swing eras. But in , thanks to the mixing of Americans of different ethnic backgrounds and from different parts of the country during World War II , a new kind of music was finding its way onto the airwaves and in roadside truck stops and juke joints. A mixture of white and black musical forms from the Mississippi Delta, country music with the grinding of machinery and automobiles implicit in its grinding beat, rhythm and blues spread across the nation from its birthplace, Detroit.
This author has been an educator, conductor, and trombonist for the past 40 years. His experience qualifies him as an expert in this field. I have even read a few papers that discuss how rock "exploded" onto the scene in the s. This article will explore many of the developments and influences that contributed to what we call rock 'n' roll today. I myself grew up with this music and love listening to it today.