Being that today is focused on the self so much more than it is on what really created the genre of rock and roll that most of you have missed the majority of great music in favor of the latest rage. Rock and roll was not about the past when it started. It was about the present and the future. And yet, as we discovered, it was 100% about the past. What was early rock and roll? It was rhythm and blues and it was doo wop. Where did those come from? The past. They were always with us in one form or another. It wasn’t rocket science. It wasn’t anything new. It just had a new name. Alan Freed is credited with coining the phrase though I give credit to Bill Haley. “Rock Around the Clock” was the first rock and roll song. At least that’s what many say. And yet, if you look at Haley’s discography, you will see that “Rock Around the Clock” was followed quickly by, “Shake, Rattle and Roll”… This was 1954.
So, Bill Haley rocked and rolled before any term for the music was created. He was eventually labeled as a rockabilly player and was part of the first wave. Rockabilly was, of course, hillbilly music with drums. And so the past, once again, created rock and roll not the future. That is what the point of this thought is. It isn’t going to change anything of course and yet the true matrix of the art form known as rock and roll has changed dramatically. It no longer matters what happened in the past. When you have marginal artists being elected to the dubious hall of fame for rock and roll, artists who have as their only claim to fame their gender or their popularity with the people running the hall, well, you have to question the reality within the interpretation.
Rock and roll is all about yesterday. It is a celebration of music history all rolled up into one package. Everything that people listened to throughout the ages was at one time or another part of the rock and roll world. You have jazz/fusion rock. You have rockabilly. You have vocal harmonies. You have crooners. You have everything that music has ever been lumped into one pile. Yet, the pile has the consistency of being music… Today it isn’t. It is not about music. It’s about performance. It’s about women who think they have to dress like prostitutes to get attention. Like Shirley Bassey recently said in an interview, “They need to sing their hearts out! They need to get vocal coaches…” That pretty much summed it up… They need vocal coaches because in truth, none of them can really sing… That’s reality. In the days of Shirley Bassey and the real rock and rollers, everyone could sing… Except of course, Bob Dylan. But that’s another story.