Sample Music Essay Paper on What is Rock and Roll to Me

What is Rock and Roll to Me

Rock and roll is a music genre that began in 1950s when it drew various styles by incorporating R&B and blues rhythms and the modern mongrel music which exited the generation across the globe. The genre attracted young generation listeners whereas upsetting established musical, social and cultural authorities. It is evident that the musical bravado and charisma of early rock and roll heroes included Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Chuck Berry. These rock and roll music icons inspired young musician and fans in United States and other parts of the world.

In my perspective, this is the kind of music that creates a mature effect on affluent young audience hence it became popular sound. This was clear when majority of teenage listened to it in America hence spread around the world. Currently, it is hard to understand the bitter criticism that is associated with the modern generation of music. For instance, the establishment of rock and roll music that took place in lucrative Broadway, and Hollywood experienced the challenge that was both economic and aesthetic. Additionally, spokesmen dismissed the music when they termed as simple with crudity (Stuessy, 2010). Critics further formulated false charges claiming that rock and roll dominated the airwaves of other types of music, because their promoters gave bribe to disc jockeys. 

Conversely, the mainstream artists who performed the pallid cover versions copied the rock and roll hit songs. As a result, this made their music irrelevant and drained their commitment to black musical traditions. Tracing the history of rock and roll styles, it is clear that it began in 1950s from a fusion of gospel, blues and country music. Early in the decade, this music was confined to rhythm and blues charts before it became known in the pop charts from 1955 (Covach&Flory, 2015).

By the time it reached 1960s, my view is that rock and roll music dominated the most popular music charts. Its diversity with new styles extended to folk rock, and soul which played in variety of shows. In 1970s, the rock and roll music became a huge business, but also lost its vital icons. For instance, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin died in 1970s. In 1980s, there was a launch of MTV music television station that was launched and played most of the rock and roll music. In 1990s, rock and roll music became popular on digital waves and by 2000s, the number of rock bands escalated across the globe.

Analyzing the history of rock and roll, I think its style that incorporated use of electric guitars, and use of strong rhythms with an offbeat accent. Originating from the United States, this teenage oriented music was characterized by instrumentation that was electronically amplified. This was accompanied by a relatively simple phrase structure, and a heavily accented beat.  Bill Haley and other artists of rock and roll made this music to be famous among races, which facilitated technical development and relations. The knowledge stream of American popular music allows individuals to understand that rock and roll was a natural outcome of combined forces that imparted relevance to the music.  

In my opinion, Chuck Berry is an example of rock and roll artists who released his album One Dozen Berrys in 1957.  Evaluating majority of his songs, they lacked a deep lyrical content but were inclusive of a distinctive guitar riff. Berry reveals that he was so much into rock and roll music that he thought of formulating something that hit the spot with no questions. The Beatles also played his music during their early concerts, and decided to record it on his 38th birthday. It became their favorite song to play live and it motivated artists to use it when they needed a new track on their album Beatles.  In December 1957, Berry performed his rock and roll music on ABC-TV program. His music was characterized with high bass sound that attracted a huge crowd when it played.

Richard Little was also a flamboyant rock and roll artist who performed hit songs in the mid-1950s. His interesting moments in the music career was when he developed the rock and roll. He used an interesting sound when he tuned songs such as Long Tail into huge hits that influenced the Beatles band.  Elvis Presley is another rock and roll legend who became famous in mid-1950s (Hall, 2014). His style of music was sexually provocative, and also incorporated dance moves that contributed to his popularity.

An example of a rock band that was popular and successful in the 80s was the Guns N’ Roses. This was evident when the band took the world by storm in 1987 after releasing their debut album Appetite for Destruction. This album had their biggest three hits which was ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine, Welcome to the Jungle and Paradise City.” Members of this band became famous for their extensive playlist, and their most powerful rock anthems. In this decade, they also made rock covers that were ‘Knocking on the Heavens Door’ by Bob Dylan’s.

The rock band example in 90s was Nirvana who played top rock songs such as ‘Come as You Are.’ Their lyrics were emotional and with great metal characteristics that brought limelight to households around the globe. Nirvana was a grudge band in United States which was formed in Aberdeen, Washington. However, in 1994, the band disbanded after Kurt Cobain took away his life. David Growl was the drummer of the band who left the group and joined an alternative band. Before leaving Nirvana, Growl was the drummist; Cobain played the vocal guitar part while Kriss Novosellic was in the bass category. Nirvana became the most popular band for their album ‘Never mind.’ In addition, this band was known to be the most influential and popular of all time (Woog, 2009).

My favorite rock band in 2000s is Foo Fighters who become one of the popular bands. It is an American rock band that was started in Seattle, and founded by Dave Growl. This band consists of Growl who is the song writer and a lead vocalist. The pianist and lead guitarist is Pat Smear while the bassist is Nate Mendel. The major drummer is Taylor Hawkins, while the lead guitarist is Chris Shiflett. In the band, the two former members were Franz Stahi the guitarist and William Goldsmith the drummer. It is clear that the band’s career over the course has managed to produce four albums. This has enabled them to win numerous awards and got attention from many fans in United States. In general, the band has won 26 awards and has been awarded a total of 87 nominations. This is inclusive of Grammy Awards for having performed well in their best rock album. So far, the band has won the title ‘the best rock album’ four times in comparison to other bands. By 2015, eight albums that belonged to the band sold approximately 12 million copies in United States.        


Covach and Flory. (2015). What’s That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and Its History (4th ed.)

Hall, M. K. (2014). The emergence of rock and roll: Music and the rise of American youth            culture.

Stuessy, J. (2010). Rock and roll: Its history and stylistic development. Englewood Cliffs, N.J:       Prentice Hall.

Woog, A. (2009). The history of rock and roll. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books.