Rock and Roll artists, genuine contributors to the cause, from my perspective:
|Classic Rock and Roll has it's roots in the music created in the 1960's, and 1950's.|
Sometime during the 70's, rock music diverged, like streams separating from the one great river, departing in many different directions.
There was music other than the original rock and roll. Bob Seger, clarified that there was a development of other sounds that weren't pure, pristine, rock and roll, when he roared,
"I want that old time rock and roll. That kind of music that moves your soul. I reminisce about the days of old. Give me that old time rock and roll."
My mission/purpose in creating this list, is to identify singers and songs that purveyed the heart and soul of the 60's, and bespoke the generational values of the "hippies."
This investigation will question, and attempt to answer, the five "W's" of classic rock and roll.
Don McClean's ballad, "American Pie,"intricately describes how it was "the day the music died."
He questions, "Can music save your mortal soul?"
He identifies the music as, "that music used to make me smile." His verbal artistry, in symbolism and analogies, flutter across your soul when he capitulates:}
"The three men I admire the most,
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
They caught the last train for the coast,
The day the music died.
If you weren't born to hear the sounds of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, or Ritchie Valance, you missed out on the birth of rock and roll. Pat Boone was swinging, as I understand. I think my first crush was on Bobby Darrin.
I can't speak with authority on the fifties. I, myself, was just learning to speak in the '50's.
My references to the fifties won't be numerous, just because I wasn't there to listen to the songs on the radio, which grew in power from AM to FM band.
The fifties was when rock and roll started. From across the Atlantic Ocean, the skittle board, the guitar, and the evocative emotion and energy of gospel music, merged, sometimes with an influence of the blues, of which Billie Holiday was an iconistic example.
The music wasn't country, as the Grand Old Opry wouldn't invite "that" kind of "singer" to perform. Rock and Roll was different than what came before. A new beat had been born.
I missed wearing poodle skirts with big crinoline petticoats, and hanging out at the malt shop. However, I've watched "Happy Days" enough to generally know what it was like. "Grease," "American Graffiti," and many other TV shows and movies can give you a feel for the emotional ups and downs of the era of the 1950s.
The main contributor to rock and roll during the '50's was Elvis Presley. Not only did he croon lyrics of love's passion, but he shook his hips. He shook all over. He moved to the music. He had so much physical and emotional investment in his music, it came out all over.
Early Ed Sullivan TV appearances, showed him only from the waist up. Considering the liberal imagery of music videos today, this early evolution of rock and roll as a form of entertainment, must be difficult for today's youth to understand.
You can check out movie trailers, music, Graceland, and the kingdom that beswelled the man named Elvis at www.elvis.com
The young girls screamed and swooned. Boys copied the look. The mothers and fathers generally thought Elvis' physical gyrations were vulgar and inappropriate. However, Elvis was always so "down home" polite in his interviews, that he seemed to be two persons: the wild singer, and that nice polite young man.
Previously censored sexually explicit behavior is now the norm. What a change our culture has undergone in the last half century!
The next time you have an opportunity to view Elvis in action, one of his 31 movies, or especially Ed Sullivan's concert footage, watch him move. He didn't dance like Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers. They were the norm for dancing and entertainment before rock (and you'd have to see an old movie with them to "get the picture"). Censors reacted. Suggestive movements were blocked from view.
The cultural value of physical movement while singing, has grown leaps and bounds since the 50's. From Michael Jackson's crotch grabbing to Madonna's erotically seductive videos and concerts, freedom of expression has evolved tremendously. What does rap not say?
Classic rock doesn't actualy "say it." Lyrics told the tale without including George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words. The lyricists, in my opinion, were somewhat forced into an illusionary creativity that has now been lost, due to the acceptance of previously unacceptable language.
It was a lot more challenging to find acceptable words to impart an idea.
As an example, in the many westerns of the 1950's and early 1960's, derogatory remarks held much more creativity that a one or two word ****explitive/deletive****. A bad guy, instead of being a "shithead," would more probably be described as a "low-down, yellow-bellied, good for nothin', weasle that you wouldn't turn your back on, for knowin' he'd rob the hen house, and steal all the chickens." One gets much more information on which to base an opinion in the second example. Besides, what is a head of shit? Not a very pretty picture if you ask me.
The Beatles managed to get one "bit" past the censors. On the album "Rubber Soul," in the song "Girl," the backgound harmonies are built on the repetition of the word "tit." Being out of context, the censors didn't catch it. This is one of the few times "vulgar and offensive language" was played on the radio, because nobody noticed it.
We have freedom of speech in this country. The evolution of acceptable language has brought us to a level of unmitigated gaul, when seen from the stance of the innocent lyrics of the 50's and early 60's.
In my opinion, Classic Rock and Roll died when "Saturday Night Fever" birthed the disco beat. The music composed after that time--shot off in another direction, added or subtracted something, diverged, changed in some way, the music which came after it. A vocalist, lead guitar, bass, and a drummer was the usual recipe for who[/c}made a rock and roll band.
What makes it Classic Rock and Roll is the time period during which it was popular. Classic Rock and Roll, by definition, has to be Classic, old.
Having come of age in the 60's, I have my own personal list of those who made rock and roll what it is to me. I defined my existence through their lyrics and opinions about the world. You kinda had to be there for it all to make sense.
I recently read an opinion, by a teen, who clinically deduced that the Beatles don't belong in the Classic Rock category. Arrrrrghghgh!
This really blew my mind--"The fact that an over-squared, short(sic)-haired, sleeping unknown, should be the star of a Hollywood movie."
So I'm beginning this list as a rough outline, of a general idea, for an essay--or a lengthy non-fiction work--about what is now known as Classic Rock and Roll. Bios and opinions to follow--after the list is expanded.
As a list, these artists are in no particular order. The list will grow as I use more brain cells, and go through my ALBUM collection.
An album is the medium that this music was played on, on the record player. You either bought the album with 10 or so songs, or you bough the 45 rpm (revolutions per minute of the turntable), which contained one "hit," and one song on the flip side.
E-mail input appreciated!
Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Mick Jagger
Peter and Gordon (Peter Asher}
Chad and Jeremy
Ike and Tina Turner
The Beach Boys
Jan and Dean
ELVIS (of course)
Sonny and Cher
Kenny Rogers and the First Edition
Seals and Croft
Loggins and Messina
And with that frightening self-revelation, I think I need a break.
Beginning anew I list as real rock and rollers:
The Pointer Sisters
Sam and Dave
The Jackson Five
The Moody Blues
Z Z Top
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
Peter, Paul, and Mary
Credence Clearwater Revival
Jerry Lee Lewis
I think, and I remember for a few days, and more artists come to mind.
The Mamas and the Papas
The Lovin' Spoonfull
Peter, Paul, and Mary
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
The Guess Who
The Kingsmen "Louie, Louie"
The Doobie Brothers
The Allman Brothers
And I'll think on it some more . . .
The Bee Gees. . .
I shall await e-mails letting me know which artisits I've left off. This is by no means complete, but a good exercise for boomer brain cells.