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In this essay, I’m going to introduce to the reader a

topic not touched a lot because of its complexity and its avoidance by

conservative adults. This topic is, of course, Rock Music. During one

week, I looked for information in the library and at my house, and from

the information I gathered and my one knowledge about the topic, I’m

going to lead the reader to a better understanding of Rock n’ Roll. I

chose to do Rock music because I can identify myself with it. Rock music

is very complex. In fact "It’s stylistic scope is to broad to be

encompassed by any single definition" ("Rock Music", Groliers, p.1). The

nearest definition suggests a kind of music that represents and speaks

for the teenage society. This music is characterized by using a heavy

beat. In this essay, I’m going to divide Rock music into four sections:

Rock of the 50´s, of the 60´s, of the 70´s and of the 80´s. Within these

sections I’m also going to discuss several sub-topics such as famous

composers and groups, and characteristics of the music.

The first section of this essay is Rock n’ Roll of the

1950’s, when Rock n’ Roll was born. It emerged from rhythm and blues,


music similar to jazz played by blacks. This kind of music started to

attract white teenagers. Disc jockey Alan Freed was the one who

introduced this music and later gave it the name of Rock n’ Roll. Record

companies distributed records played by whites but composed by blacks.

Whites were frustrated because there weren’t any white artists and they

didn’t want the blacks to be the stars until Bill Haley appeared with his

"Rock Around the Clock". In this decade, Elvis Presley introduced a


that was sexual suggestive and outraged dull adults. In time he changed

the style of the music by adopting a country and western style and


a national hero. By the end of this decade and the start of the next,

Rock n’ Roll started to decline because it was formula ridden and it was

too sentimental. Teenage audiences transferred their allegiance to Folk


In 1963 the renewal of Rock n’ Roll came when The Beatles

started to play. The Beatles, for some the best rock group ever, were

from Liverpool, England. Through the 60’s, The Beatles dominated the

record industries and with their dominant instrumentation, which

included: electric leads, rhythm, and bass guitar, drums and sometimes an

electric organ, changed the name of Rock n’ Roll to just Rock. During the

1960’s many other styles of music arose from Rock like, Motown, Soul

music, Jazz-rock , Folk-rock and others.

Folk-Rock the most appreciated of this derivations and was

first suggested by Bob Dylan. This kind of music brought to folk music a

hard beat and amplification; and to Rock, a new poetic style. California

was one of the major centers of rock activity and experimentation during

the decade. First it was characterize for its surfing music, a very

joyful music that reflected the fun people had while surfing. The Beach

Boys were the ones who introduced this kind of music.

At the end of the century this happy kind of music changed

to a more rebellious style that was designated the name of "hippie

music". Groups that played this music were Country Joe and The Mamas


The Papas. Along with this hippie ideas popularity of hallucinogenic

drugs produced a psychedelic style of music called Acid Rock. By the


of the 60´s the distinctions between Rock n´ Roll and Rock were evident.

The early instruments- saxophone, piano, amplified guitar, and drums-


been changed to electric guitar and bass, amplified drums and other

electronic devices. Not only did the instruments change but so did the

ideas behind the music. For example, "to the lyrics of teenage love and

adolescent concerns were added social commentary, glorification of


and free-association poetry"("Rock Music", Groliers, p.1). Groups like

The Beach Boys, Crew Cuts and The Everly Brothers were replaced by


imaginative, non-descriptive names groups like The Who, Jefferson

Airplane, Big Brother and Holding Company. The Who, the most famous


these groups, were originally from England and were reknowned because


their bizarre stage performances, they would destroy their instruments

after their performance finished. The Who was one of the first rock


In the 70´s, the common barriers of rock broke

into more divisions, like hard rock and mellow rock. Hard Rock was

extremely loud and electronically amplified and Mellow Rock was softer

and with acoustic instruments. In 1972, in Jamaica, a new style of music

was created called Reggae. Reggae is a mixture of rock, soul, calypso


Latin music. The king of Reggae was Bob Marley. Other styles more in

rocks borders, since Reggae was more latin than rock, were created in


middle of this century, like: bubble gum rock, a funny playful music

directed to the youngest fans, Punk Rock, "a loud, hard rock style

derived from acid rock and marked by its extremes of costume and


("Rock Music", Encarta, p.1), and Heavy Metal, which continued the

approach to Acid Rock but with a simpler musical dimension but relying

upon the power of repetitiveness, loud volume, and electronic distortion.

One famous group of Heavy Metal was Led Zeppelin, a

British group that was formed in 1968 by Jimmy Page (lead guitar),


Plant (lead singer), John Paul Jones (pianist and bassist) and John

Bonham (drummer). Most music of this decade was intended to be


to, but not to be danced. But this intention wasn’t kept by Disco music

that arose in 1977 and was especially for dancing. One great group of

Disco music were the Bee Gees. Disco music was described by rock fans


mechanical, commercial and unlyrical (which is true). At the end of this

decade, rock, again became a dominant cultural force.

The last but not least section of this essay is rock of

the 80’s. At the start of this last decade, rock groups became more

production oriented, mainly because of the sudden explosion of videos.

This new sensation was a good way to sell music to the people. Heavy

metal bands were greatly pushed by videos, but most helped were the

popular performers like Michael Jackson, Prince and Boy George. The

influence of British bands of punk, disco, reggae and pop-rock was still

big in the U.S. Rock scene. At the same time, there of nostalgia to

return to the older pre rock music, like rhythm and blues, which was

suggested by played by Elvis Costello. By the middle of the 80’s, almost

every country had begun to support indigenous music, and at the end of

this "a vigorous talk-song style called rap became extremely popular

among urban black teenagers" ("Rock Music", Encarta, p.1.).

Rock music taught me to appreciate things in a different

way. I’ve learned this since rock is not an exact science, it can change.

In fact Rock music helps me relax ( I would have been able to finish

writing this essay with rock music). After writing this essay I have

learned the origins of rock and the branches of it, but that wasn’t my

intention. I wrote this essay to express myself with it because I feel I

can show myself with rock music. I think rock has become social


Word Count: 1233

Source: Essay UK -

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