From Rock-a-Billy in the 50's, to Rock in the 60's, to Disco in the 70's, to Punk and Glamour in the 80's, no American institution has ever undergone such radical transformation in such a short time. Women's suffrage was not until 1920. Chuck Berry started it; Elvis Presley put a face on it. In the 1950's, Rock n' Roll was born. It emerged from rhythm and blues, a kind of music similar to jazz. This kind of music attracted teenagers.
Disk jockey Alan Freed was the one who introduced this music and later gave it the name of Rock n' Roll. In the 50's Elvis Presley introduced a music that was sexual suggestive and outraged dull adults. He changed he style of music by introducing a country and western style and became a national hero. By the end of the decade, Rock n' Roll started to decline because it was formula ridden and it was too sentimental. Teenage audiences shifted their devotion to Folk music. The rebirth of Rock n' Roll came in the 60's, when the Beatles started to play.
The Beatles, for some the best rock group ever, dominated the record industry with their electric guitars, rhythm, bass guitars, and drums, changed the name of Rock n' Roll to just Rock. During the 60's, many other styles of music surfaced from Rock like Motown, Soul music, Jazz-Rock and Folk-Rock. Folk-Rock was the most appreciated and was first suggested by Bob Dylan. This kind of music brought to folk music a hard beat, to Rock, a new poetic style. Rock activity during the 60's was first described for its surfing music, a very joyful music that suggested the fun people had while surfing. The Beach Boys were the ones who introduced this kind of music.
At the end of the 60's this happy kind of music changed to a more rebellious style that was called "hippie music." With this "hippie music", fueled by drugs and a collection of seemingly wasteful talents that far eclipsed their predecessors and anything before or since, came a style of Rock n' Roll called Acid Rock. Excess may lead to wisdom, but for some of Rock's pioneers, it led to destruction: Joplin, Morrison, Keith Moon, self Bryan Wilson and what most self-proclaimed historians call "Rock's purest musician," Hendrix. By the end of the 60's the difference between Rock n' Roll and Rock were obvious. Until the 70's, you could walk into a record store and pick up Sgt. Pepper's, Blonde on Blonde, Let it Bleed, and the Revolution...
Are you experienced yet, etc. That all changed in 1975, people were no longer protesting; the war was over and Nixon resigned. The rabble-routers were tired and Disco came along and tried to murder Rock n' Roll. Hedonism became the objective and Studio 54 symbolized it. Travolta strutted to the Bee Gees and Diana Ross swooned us. Coke and cool clothes became the trademark.
Then came Punk. Sid Vicious and the Clash tried to murder disco with unconventional sound and angry clothes. This attempt was probably the last gasp of Rock n' Roll. But Punk appeal was so anti everything it put itself out when it became popular culture. In the late 80's, MTV was born and corporations seized full control of Rock n' Roll.
Rock n' Roll was no longer Rock n' Roll; it became nothing more than a corporate-sponsored teen music with a beat. The Dark Age had begun with the big hair, spandex and angry guys in warm-ups with gold and girls. The last blood of Rock n' Roll was drained by the video vampire. At the present time the fate of rock n roll seems to be in transition. Certainly, the audience of this style of music substantially reduced in size in comparison with the past, however, new tendencies of popularity seem to emerge as well. Interestingly enough, rock n roll music is getting more popular in developing countries as it appears to sound somewhat exotically and new to people who live there.
In any case, I believe it is very untimely to bury this music alive.