Rock and roll music evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and 1950s, as a combination of African American blues, country, pop, and gospel music produced a new musical genre. Even as it captured the ears of the nation, rock and roll was the subject of controversy and contention. The music intertwined with the social, political, and economic changes reshaping America and contributed to the rise of the youth culture that remains a potent cultural force today. A comprehensive understanding of post-World War II U.S. history would be incomplete without a basic knowledge of this cultural phenomenon and its widespread impact.
In this short book, bolstered by primary source documents, Mitchell K. Hall explores the change in musical style represented by rock and roll, changes in technology and business practices, regional and racial implications of this new music, and the global influences of the music.
The Emergence of Rock and Roll explains the huge influence that one cultural moment can have in the history of a nation.
"Rock music unleashed a force that swept America. A hybrid of distinctively American musical styles, rock helped to create a social revolution throughout the United States and the world. Indeed, no history of post-World War II is complete without an understanding of the power of this cultural phenomenon. Mitchell Hall’s The Emergence of Rock and Roll is a clear, concise and illuminating book that is a must read."
—W. Michael Weis, Illinois Wesleyan University
"Engagingly written and highly informative, Mitchell Hall's book provides an excellent introduction to the key players in the advent of rock music. This compact yet wide-ranging study connects an overview of major developments with well-chosen primary sources."
—Ulrich Adelt, author of Blues Music in the Sixties: A Story in Black and White
"An excellent, well-written, and accessible work, it nicely sets the evolution of rock within the contexts of political conflict, social change, and the operations of the music industry. Hall’s analysis of the importance and influence of representative artists and groups is judicious."
—Michael A. Morrison, Purdue University
"Does a publication on rock 'n' roll deserve inclusion in a Critical Moments in American History series alongside volumes on the Louisiana Purchase, Homestead Strike, Cuban Missile Crisis, and 1980 presidential election? The author makes a persuasive case. He provides a succinct, stimulating summary of the emergence, triumph, and splintering of rock 'n' roll during the quarter century between the release of Elvis Presley's "That's All Right (Mama)" and the debut of MTV. An impressive Documents section contains Dick Clark's testimony before Congress about payola, Ray Manzarek's account of the Doors appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show, and a Senate memo concerning the FBI investigation of John Lennon. Summing Up: Recommended."
1. The Early Years of Rock and Roll
2. Decline and Renewal
3. The Beatles and the British Invasion
5. Rock Splinter