Hey guys welcome back to another weekly blog post. This week in class was all about the changes and constants that certain topics have undergone since the 1950s. Each student in my class has a podcast that they have been working on this year. The main assignment this week was a presentation about a certain topic related to our podcast episode. This presentation was about the changes and constants of that topic, as I said before. Something interesting that I noticed about these presentations was that rock and roll was mentioned a number of times. Each presentation was about a different topic. One was about media and teenagers, one about teenage hobbies, another about music, and one about skateboarding. So it got me thinking about how much rock and roll has affected the world, and what changes have happened because of the genre. 

Rock and roll began to enter the music industry during the early 1950s. Originating from music like jazz, blues, and country, rock and roll immediately had an impact on many different things. After WWII, teenagers were the middle ground between war-weary adults and baby boomers. Not much attention was being given to the teenage youth. Music was the one thing that paid attention to them, with the rock genre standing out in particular. Many rock song lyrics were about teenage problems. Dating, school, clothes, and other things allowed teens to relate to the music on a level unlike any other form of music. 

Rock and roll began to bring up taboo topics as well. Many songs began to talk about sex and other ideas that weren’t talked about at the time. Rock and roll was also a big factor in the civil rights movement. As rock and roll originated from African-American music, the genre was the first of many African-American genres to become popular among the caucasian youth. Many black rock and roll artists began witnessing a major increase in their white fan base, and other white performers began performing African-American music. Rock and roll was a seen as the first step in breaking down the racial barriers that plagued the USA.

Artist Little Richard and his band in 1956 – Artists like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Elvis played major roles in shaping music today. All of those artists influenced big names like the Beatles, David Bowie, Prince, and Elton John with their new genre of rock and roll

Rock and roll was the one of the first music genres to define a certain age group. A lot of the trends and styles of teenagers from the 50s to even now were influenced by rock and roll in some way. I said it before, but rock and roll gave teens something to relate to. A couple things that have stayed the same with teenagers is that many want a sense of belonging. From the 50s to now, teens will go to any lengths to find that sense of belonging. Whether it be from liking the same genre of music, to being part of a particular group, that has always stayed the same. 

Another thing that drew teens towards rock was that it was seen as rebellious by parents and adults. Since the genre was loved by different races and social groups, older generations viewed it as a “social rebellion.” The attraction of being a rebellious teen has also not gone away since the 50s, and still exists today. 

Elvis Presley performing in 1955

Rock and roll was the spark that lit a lot of social change in the USA. It was seen as revolutionary for many different cultures. Rock and roll has affected dance, music, racial equality, and much more while also starting many traits and habits we see in teenagers today. If rock and roll never existed, how different would the social and racial landscape of the world be today? Rock and roll doesn’t garner as much attention as it used to, but the power and influence it has held in the past is undeniable.