Tuesday, 17 December 2013

History of Rock Music- An Overview PART I

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1950's in Rock


  In the early 1950's new recording technologies such as the 45 RPM single, the 33 and 1/3 RPM long playing album, 45 RPM jukeboxes, along with solid body electric guitars, and electric bass guitars emerge. The rapid adaptation of these new technologies change the way people create and listen to music. An equally important convergence occurs in what people are listening to on the radio and jukeboxes, along with the records they are buying. White teenagers begin listening to and buying traditionally black music such as Rhythm & Blues. This cross-current of musical styles and influences - blues, boogie, jazz, gospel, R&B vocal groups, and country begins influencing the music created by both black and white musicians. The new music style is eventually given a name - Rock and Roll.

By 1953 and 1954 hit songs from the R&B Charts begin to cross over to the Top 40 Pop Charts, then dominated by more staid recording artists such as Doris Day, Mitch Miller, Percy Faith, Nat King Cole, Frankie Laine, Rosemary Clooney and others.
Pioneering radio stations such as WJW in Cleveland, Ohio capitalize on the shifting styles with new programs such as Alan Freed's Moondog Show. Freed plays R&B hits, but aims his show beyond the traditional black audience for R&B, and gains a wide audience of white and black teenagers.
In 1953, Bill Haley and His Comets are the first to hit the pop charts with a rock and roll song, taking their single "Crazy Man Crazy" to #12. Black R&B artists such as Doo Wop group the Orioles cross-over to the pop charts in 1953 with their R&B hit "Crying in the Chapel". More cross-over hits from black R&B artists such as Fats Domino and The Platters climb the pop charts. White artists such as Pat Boone, The Crewcuts and Georgia Gibbs find success covering R&B hits and turning them into hits on the pop charts. 

Independent record labels such as Sun (Memphis), Ace (Jackson, MS), Vee-Jay (Gary, IN), Chess (Chicago), Specialty Records (Los Angeles) and many other labels are quick to pick up on the opportunity and begin to release Rock and Roll records from newly signed artists.

In 1955 rock and roll has it's first nationwide #1 hit when Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" tops the Pop Charts. Although considered a novelty or fad by most, rock proves it's staying power. In 1955 black R&B artists Little Richard and Chuck Berry score significant Pop hits. Scouts from RCA records, looking to sign their own rock and roll performer, buy out the contract of Memphis singer Elvis Presley from regional label Sun Records. 

In January 1956 Elvis Presley tops the Pop Charts with his first RCA single release "Heartbreak Hotel". By the end of the year he would be the first artist ever to have nine singles in the Hot 100 at one time. By 1957 rock and roll artists dominate the popular music charts and in 1959 rock and roll records account for 43% of all records sold.

The end of the decade is marked by tragedy as a February 1959 plane crash takes the lives of rock and roll stars Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.

 1950's Top 50 Best Selling Singles  Worldwide:

1   Bill Haley & his Comets - Rock Around the Clock - 1955
  2   Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock - 1957
  3   Jo Stafford - You Belong to Me - 1952
  4   Doris Day Que sera sera (Whatever will be will be) - 1956
  5   Rocco Granata - Marina - 1959
  6   The Kingston Trio - Tom Dooley - 1958
  7   Anton Karas - Third Man Theme - 1950
  8   Bobby Darin - Mack the Knife - 1959
  9   Al Martino - Here in My Heart - 1952
10   Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa - 1950
11   Teresa Brewer (Put Another Nickel In) Music! Music! Music! - 1950
12   Patti Page - Tennessee Waltz - 1950
13   Les Paul & Mary Ford Vaya Con Dios (may God Be With You) - 1953
14   Fats Domino - Blueberry Hill - 1956
15   Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls of Fire - 1957
16   The Chordettes - Mister Sandman - 1954
17   Nat King Cole - Too Young - 1951
18   Vera Lynn - Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart - 1952
19   Doris Day - Secret Love - 1954
20   Elvis Presley - Hound Dog - 1956
21   Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons - 1955
22   Nat King Cole - Unforgettable - 1951
23   The Crew-Cuts Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream) - 1954
24   The Platters - Only You (And You Alone) - 1955
25   Paul Anka - Diana - 1957
26   Tony Bennett - Stranger in Paradise - 1953
27   The Platters - Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - 1959
28   Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel - 1956
29   Johnnie Ray - Cry - 1951
30   Perez Prado Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom White - 1955
31   Perry Como Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes - 1953
32   Harry Belafonte - Banana Boat Song - 1957
33   Elvis Presley - Don't Be Cruel - 1956
34   Domenico Modugno - Volare - 1958
35   Elvis Presley - All Shook Up - 1957
36   Kitty Kallen - Little Things Mean a Lot - 1954
37   Pat Boone - Love Letters in the Sand - 1957
38   Dean Martin - Memories Are Made of This - 1956
39   The Kalin Twins - When - 1958
40   Frankie Avalon - Venus - 1959
41   The Platters - The Great Pretender - 1956
42   Doris Day - Bewitched (bothered & bewildered) - 1950
43   Phil Harris - The Thing - 1950
44   Four Aces - Love is a Many Splendoured Thing - 1955
45   Rosemary Clooney - Hey There - 1954
46   The Diamonds - Little Darlin' - 1957
47   Patti Page How Much is That Doggy in the Window? - 1953
48   Eddie Fisher - I'm Walking Behind You - 1953
49   Guy Mitchell - Singing The Blues - 1956
50   Elvis Presley  (Now & then There's) A Fool Such As I - 1959

1960's in Rock






In the sixties rock music comes of age and totally owns the popular music charts. Elvis Presley continues to score hits in the early part of the decade. But the music continues to diversify with the folk revival, the Brill Building sound, Phil Spector's wall of sound, girl groups and surf music, all impacting the early part of the decade. The Motown, Stax and Atlantic labels bring more african-american artists back to the forefront of the pop charts. 
By 1964 American artistsare sharing the top of the charts with U.K. bands led by the Beatles and The Rolling Stones. In the U.S. garage bands emerge, inspired by the British Invasion sound.
Sixties song writing moves beyond pop love songs and begins to include social consciousness and political statements. In the latter half of the decade psychedelic music reflects the growing hippie culture. Bubblegum music is created to generate radio friendly pop singles.
 Album sales begin to gain importance, as a harder rock sound emerges and sows the seeds for heavy metal.
In the sixties, television becomes a major force in rock music as networks try to attract a younger audience. American Bandstand continues with it's afternoon, clean-cut, teen idol format, while the Ed Sullivan Show and other TV variety shows begin showcasing rock bands in prime time. The networks also add the weekly prime time shows Shindig and Hullabaloo featuring dancers and new music for teenage fans.
In the late sixties outdoor rock music festivals begin. First with 1967's Monterey Pop Festival which attracts 55,000 fans to a three day concert. In the summer of 1969 the Woodstock Music and Art Fair draws 500,000 people to a three day concert in Bethel, New York.
The Beatles dominate the sixties record charts with 6 of the top 10 albums of the decade and 21 of the decades' top 100 singles. Their nearest competitor is Elvis Presley with 9 of the decades' top 100 singles and 4 of the decades' top 100 albums.

1960's Top 50 Best Selling Singles  Worldwide:


  1   The Beatles - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - 1967
  2   The Beatles - Abbey Road - 1969
  3   The Beatles - Revolver - 1966
  4   The Beatles - The Beatles (The White Album) - 1968
  5   Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin 2 - 1969
  6   The Beatles - Rubber Soul - 1965
  7   The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night - 1964
  8   Leonard Bernstein - West Side Story - 1962
  9   The Doors - The Doors - 1967
10   The Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed - 1969
11   The Beatles - Help! - 1965
12   Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced? - 1967
13   Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited - 1965
14   Richard Rodgers - The Sound Of Music - 1965
15   The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds - 1966
16   Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland - 1968
17   Bob Dylan - Blonde On Blonde - 1966
18   Original Cast - Hair - 1969
19   Cream - Disraeli Gears - 1967
20   The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet - 1968
21   The Beatles - Beatles For Sale - 1965
22   Bob Newhart
      The Button-Down Mind Of Bob Newhart - 1960
23   Ray Charles
      Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music - 1962
24   Maurice Jarre - Doctor Zhivago - 1966
25   The Rolling Stones - Aftermath - 1966
26   Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto - Getz & Gilberto - 1964
27   The Beatles - With The Beatles - 1963
28   The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour - 1968
29   Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home - 1965
30   The Beatles - Meet The Beatles! - 1964
31   Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin - 1969
32   John Coltrane - Love Supreme - 1964
33   The Who - Tommy - 1969
34   Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan - 1963
35   Herb Alpert - Going Places - 1966
36   Simon & Garfunkel - The Graduate - 1968
37   The Monkees - More Of The Monkees - 1967
38   Judy Garland - Judy At Carnegie Hall - 1961
39   The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones - 1964
40   Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding - 1968
41   Blood Sweat & Tears - Blood, Sweat & Tears - 1969
42   Elvis Presley - Blue Hawaii - 1961
43   The Monkees - The Monkees - 1967
44   Cream - Wheels of Fire - 1968
45   Disney - Mary Poppins - 1965
46   Herb Alpert - What Now My Love - 1966
47   Johnny Cash - Johnny Cash At San Quentin - 1969
48   The Doors - Waiting For The Sun - 1968
49   The Band - The Band - 1969
50   The Velvet Underground & Nico 1967

2 comments:

  1. Folk rock followers around the world are celebrating the arrival of their favorite musical genius from the 70's into the digital arena. Shep Cooke has just released the digital versions of his first two solo music albums. www.ShepCooke.com The two albums, entitled 'Shep Cooke' and 'Concert Tour of Mars', are now available at Amazon.com, iTunes, and all other popular online music shops. The CDs of these two albums can also be purchased from Shep Cooke's official website www.ShepCooke.com . This website has recently been revamped with the addition of several music videos, photographs, and information covering the four decade long musical career of Shep Cooke.

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