The Rock 'n' Roll Years
I was given a Pepsi Cola promotional album by my cousin when I was about nine. The album was a homage to Rock ’n’ Roll, obviously Pepsi wanted to build an association that era to imply they had heritage. The album was well curetted, featuring 20 classics tracks from the absolute legends of Rock ’n’ Roll.
Having no preconceptions about what is cool or not at that age, I simply loved that listening to the songs because they were packed with combustible energy, which translates in to bouncing on your bed fun when you are nine.
Later in life I realized that energy was feared by the prevailing establishment of the day, who thought Rock ‘n’ Roll was a dangerous influence on their children. With hindsight they were probably right, what you need to understand is, before Rock ‘n’ Roll there were no teenagers, there were children and young adults.
Pre Rock ‘n’ Roll, Kids dressed and listened to the same music their parents, and they were definitely seen and not heard. Very few people had had any exposure to music like Blues, which was overtly sexual, angst filled and honest, telling stories of sorrow, heartbreak and machismo. Then came Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Radio stations had previously refused to play black music, it was not until artists like Elvis Presley fused the Blues with Country, that the blues music was played to the mainstream. However station owners soon realized there was a demand for this more edgy sound. Listeners translates in to advertising revenue and the potential to earn money forced the station owners to question their prejudices, opening the door for artists like Little Richard and Chuck Berry.
These new artists were rebellious outcasts that oozed sex appeal and they blew kids tiny minds, who began to emulate their newfound heroes. Once the touch paper was lit the Rock ‘n’ Roll explosion rippled around the world and eventually reverberated back to the US when bands like the Beatles began to cover forgotten blues tracks.