Rock History Power Point

The blues began in the 1800’s in the
Mississippi delta region
The blues came from the African American
tradition in the form of work songs and field
The blues was a free form style that helped
express the feelings of frustration and
sadness felt by slaves.
As the blues became more popular, people
began to play together so they needed a form
to follow
The form is a simple AAB: the first two lines
are the same and the second one is different
Let’s listen to “The Thrill is Gone” by the
legendary B.B. King and check for the AAB
You can hear the African use of buzzy tone. It
expresses passion and emotion.
Most rock songs follow a “chord progression”
A chord progression is a series of chords that
the guitar and piano play to guide the music
and the melody. As a guitarist you must know
many different chords in order to play the
chord progressions of your favorite song
Many of the early rock songs (like “Hound
Dog”) follow the blues progression
The blues uses three chords: I, IV, and V
(musicians use roman numerals to name the
In the key of C:
The Blues has 12 bars (or measures) and they
are arranged in this way:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
(IV) (I) (V) (I)
Let’s play the 12 Bar Blues progression together
In 1940s, a style of music that blended blues
and jazz was being played on the African
American radio stations.
It’s popularity was tied with the rise of the
electric guitar which was an instrument often
used in the rhythm and blues style
It was organized around the 12 bar blues and
AAB lyric form but had a straight feel and
faster tempo
Fats Domino had wide appeal because of his
smooth vocals and R&B sound. Most of the
early Rock bands looked more like a small
jazz band than the modern rock band.
Little Richard began playing a more uptempo
style such as his hit “Tutti Frutti”. His fiery
style and aggressive vocals changed the
sound of R&B (v.s. the smooth Fats Domino.)
Ray Charles blended R&B, Gospel, and Blues
in his signature style.
Chuck Berry was very influential with his style
of guitar playing and exciting sound. His best
known song is “Johnny B. Goode”.
Notice that Chuck Berry is the first Rhythm
and blues musician we’ve heard to use guitar.
The popularity of the guitar was a big step in
the creation of Rock music.
Let’s compare and contrast two important
Rhythm and Blues songs
Use instruments, style, tempo, and mood to
fill a venn diagram. Don’t forget the lyric form
and 12 bar blues!
Rhythm and Blues began to change into an entirely
new style: rock ‘n roll
Rock n’ Roll was named for blues lyrics about dancing
(dancing was called rocking and rolling)
Some of the greatest early rock heroes listened to
R&B and copied the style and then made it their own
Besides not always using the 12 bar blues, rock
musicians began to straighten out the eighth notes of
the shuffle rhythm into the common rock beat we
know today.
Rock music also has a heavy back beat (snare drum)
Bill Haley and His Comets added a bit of country
style and had, arguably, the first huge rock hit:
“Rock Around the Clock”
 Most R&B bands at the time looked like small
jazz bands with piano and horns, but Bill Haley’s
band looked more like a country group
 This earl rock style (also played by Elvis) is called
Rockabilliy (Rock + Hillbilly)
 Jerry Lee Lewis, with his exciting piano style,
added to the new sound of Rock ‘n Roll with
“Great Balls of Fire” and other classics
Compare and contrast these two versions of
“Shake, Rattle and Roll”
Joe Turner – Rhythm and Blues
Bill Haley – Rock ‘n’ Roll
Is there a difference in instruments, rhythm,
mood, or tempo?
Buddy Holly popularized the Fender
Stratocaster guitar.
He was one of the few people in the mid-50’s
that wrote his own music
Most rock bands in the 50’s looked like a small
jazz band, but Buddy Holly’s band looked like
today’s modern rock band (2 guitars, bass,
Buddy’s band also played in a straighter style
instead of using the shuffle rhythm.
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big
Bopper died in a plane crash on February 3rd,
The loss of these three musicians dealt a blow
to the rock & roll music scene at the time.
Don McLean wrote the song “American Pie”
in tribute to the “Day the Music Died”
This is what people heard on the radio the
morning after the crash.
 R&B (Little Richard, Joe Turner)
 Bill Haley (First Rock Hit)
 Chuck Berry (Popularized the guitar)
 Buddy Holly (used the Stratocaster and
created the modern rock band set-up)
Rock music brought a heavy beat, direct lyrics
aimed at teenagers, and simple chord
progressions to the music world.
Elvis Presley’s first big hit was in 1956
“Heartbreak Hotel”
 Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan show on
September 9th, 1956 and began his rise to fame.
 His other hits include “Hound Dog”, “Jailhouse
 The country blend with Rock &Roll was first
called Rockabilly (due to the “hillbilly singers)
 Elvis didn’t write his own songs. Instead, he
played “covers” like “Blue Suede Shoes” first
recorded by Carl Perkins in 1955.
Elvis was enormously popular with American teens.
Their parents didn’t approve of his “bad boy” look and
dance moves with simply fueled the fire of support for
the King of Rock ‘n Roll
In 1956, Elvis began a career as an actor.
In 1958, he was went into the military and, when he
returned, he continued to make movies.
The King returned to the music scene in 1968 with a
new look.
Elvis continued to tour with his classic hits and added
a few new songs as well.
Due to his rock lifestyle, the King died on August 16,
1977 of a heart attack at the age of 42
Not all songs are original, many musicians
played covers (songs written by other groups or
A cover is like an arrangement of a song played
by a different band.
Elvis played many covers
Covers have been performed by many groups
over the years. In the early days of rock and roll,
many songs originally recorded by R&B and
Country musicians were still being re-recorded
After the death of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens,
and the Big Bopper in 1959, rock ‘n’ roll music
began to decline.
 Elvis went into the army, Little Richard retired to
become a preacher, and Jerry Lee Lewis and
Chuck Berry were facing lawsuits.
 Popular music was mostly slow love songs and
girl groups like the “Shirelles”, The
“Marvelettes”, and “The “Chordettes”.
 But… new innovations were being made that
would change music and revive rock ’n’ roll
The 60’s saw a departure from the blues
influence. Songs began to follow different
chord progressions and have a different beat.
Some of the most important rock legends
saw their start in the 60s: Bob Dylan, The
Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who, Beach
Boys, Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix and many
In 1960, Chubby Checker had a hit sensation
that had all the young people doing a new
“The Twist” still used the familiar 12 bar blues
pattern but the drum beat was the now
familiar “rock beat” with straight eighth
notes and snare beats on two and four.
Checker appeared on American Bandstand
which helped it top the charts only a week
after it’s release.
In the late 1950s, American R&B and Rock songs
traveled across the Atlantic to the U.K.
 The music was hugely popular and young, British
musicians were eager to perform the music.
 The Invasion started with the Beatles in 1963.
 The best know British bands include: “The
Beatles”, “Rolling Stones”, “The Kinks”, “Dave
Clark Five”, and later “The Who”
 Most British bands started by covering R&B and
rock songs.
The Rolling Stones became popular in the
mid 60’s (a little after the Beatles.)
In their early career, they mostly covered
American R&B songs and blues numbers.
Their first International No.1 hit was “(I can’t
Get No) Satisfaction”
In 1969 they Released another classic “You
Can’t Always Get What You Want”
Their popularity continued into the 70s and
they are still an active band today.
The Beatles are considered by many to be the
most important rock band of all time. They
are the bridge between the 50’s Rock and the
many different styles we have today. Their
sound continued to change throughout their
10 year career.
The way fans acted was called Beatlemania
The Beatles were: John Lennon, Paul
McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr
The Beatles have many great and
recognizable hits.
Here are some of their great performances
Ed Sullivan
Washington Coliseum Documentary pt.1
In 1960, John and Paul (the band’s main
composers) wrote “Love Me Do” their first
original hit.
Like Elvis before them, they were hated by
the older generation. One reason was their
“Mop Top” haircuts. Though their songs
sounded harmless, adults were worried about
their influence.
In 1964, the Beatles played on the Ed Sullivan
show, a performance that began Beatlemania
The early part of their career was marked by
touring and a ton of album releases.
They even made two movies, “A Hard Day’s
Night” and “Help!”
In 1965, they released “Rubber Soul”
(Followed by “Revolver”) which is thought to
be their creative peak.
Songs from this era include: “Drive My Car”,
“Norwegian Wood”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Day
Tripper”, and “Yellow Submarine”
The Beatles became more sophisticated.
They started using strings and horns, eastern
influences like George Harrison’s sitar
playing, and the lyrics became more
In ‘67 and ‘68 they made two more ground
breaking albums “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts
Club Band” and the so-called “White Album”
They also released the single “All You Need Is
Love” in ’67.
Over time, the band member began to have
personal and artistic differences.
They produced two more albums “Abbey Road”
and “Let It Be” and continued to take music in
new directions.
January 30th 1969, The Beatles released a film
“Let It Be” that included their famous rooftop
The band split in 1970
In 1980, John Lennon was killed by a crazed fan,
George Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001,
Ringo and Paul are still alive and making music.
Brought back Rock music and established the 2
guitar, 1 bass, drums, lead vocal, and backup
vocal band set-up
Started the British Invasion
Made string and brass instruments popular for
rock music (and introduced sitar and
They were the first to make albums without
Their changing sound gave inspiration to many
style of music
Motown Records, named after the “Motortown”Detroit, was started by Berry Gordy Jr.
 Motown was the birthplace of artists like Smokey
Robinson, the Temptations, the Supremes, Jackson
Five (including Michael Jackson), Marvin Gaye,
Stevie Wonder and others
 Motown Records produced records from the early
1960s to 1988 and between 1961 and 1971 had 110
top 10 hits
 Motown was part of the style called “soul” music
Male singing groups like Temptations - “Aint
to Proud to Beg”
Female singing groups like Diana Ross and
the Supremes - “Stop in the Name of Love”
Don’t forget the family act – Jackson 5 that
included a young Michael Jackson - “ABC”
Single performers like Smokey Robinson “Tears of a Clown”
Motown groups often included a large band
with horns (Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone)
The Motown sound is an example of “soul”
Soul music combines rhythm and blues with a
gospel sound.
The vocals often have a buzzy or raspy tone
James Brown is considered the “Godfather of
Soul” and is a good example of the soul sound
Aretha Franklin is known as the “Queen of
Soul”. She sang at the 2008 Presidential
Jimi Hendrix – Started using distortion and
changed the way guitar solos were played
 Rock began splintering into different sounds and
 Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin – Pioneers of
Hard Rock and Heavy Metal
 The Ramones – early punk rock band
 Some of the types of rock include: Alt Rock,
Metal, Punk, Emo, Folk Rock, Grunge, Indie,
Fusion, Noise Rock, Prog, Pop Rock, Rockabilly,

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