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⤎ New What Is Rock and Roll? to read ⦿ Author Jim O Connor 䒜 What Is Rock and Roll In August of 1953, an eighteen year old truck driver walked into a small building in Memphis, Tennessee The neon signs in the windows read Memphis Recording Service The young man was named Elvis Presley He wanted to record two songs, My Happiness and Thats When Your Heartaches Begin, as a birthday present for his mother The receptionist, Marion Keisker, was also the sound engineer that day So she led Elvis into the studio and put him in front of the microphone Then she went into the tiny control room and recorded what he sang There was something about the yearning quality in Elvis Presleys voice that intrigued her So she decided to make a copy for her boss, Sam Phillips, to hear That was the beginning of Elvis Presleys career It was also a breakthrough for rock and roll Chapter 1 The Roots of Rock Rock and roll is true made in the USA music But in the early 1950s, if you asked kids what rock music was, most of them wouldnt have had a clue what you were talking about Rock music didnt just spring up one day out of nowhere Its sound owes a lot to the rhythm and blues RB music of the 1940s and 50s Rhythm and blues was the popular music of black Americans The songs were exciting, with a strong, insistent beat RB music was completely different from what was played on radio stations for white audiences Those stations played a mix of big band, jazz, and silly pop hits like Doggie in the Window The music was safe and parent friendly Then white performers began covering popular black songs Covering means doing a new version of an older song Elvis Presley had a huge hit with Hound Dog It had first been recorded by a black singer named Big Mama Thornton in 1952 Elvis rocketed to stardom in the mid 1950s In large part he owed his success to a man named Sam Phillips Sam grew up very poor in Florence, Alabama He was white But as a young boy he picked cotton in the fields alongside black laborers who sang while they worked Sam loved their music Sam later moved to Memphis, Tennessee There he opened a recording studio and started his own record companySun Records He signed up many African American performers Sam wanted to bring their music to white audiences Sam also let amateurs, black and white, record in his tiny studio Thats how Elvis Presley got started Sam believed Elvis had a special talent So Sam got two musicians he knew, guitar player Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, to back up the young singer Often producers recorded a song in one or two takes A take is a single complete recording of a song This kept costs low But Sam believed that singersmost of all, new singersneeded time to get it right He would record the same song, or parts of a song, over and over Sam did the same thing with Elvis In 1954, Sam Phillips recorded Elvis, Scotty, and Bill playing the old blues song Thats All Right and a speeded up cover of the country music classic Blue Moon of Kentucky On August 5, 1954, Elvis performed the songs at an outdoor concert in Memphis The show sold out Neither Elvis nor his bandmates had ever been in front of such a huge crowd They were very nervous In fact, Elvis was so nervous, his legs kept shaking and twitching while he sang The crowd thought it was part of the act Girls started screaming with excitement After that, Elvis kept on shaking and swinging his hips at every performance Teenagers loved it, but their parents hated it Elvis went on to become the biggest rock star in the world He had twenty eight number one singles and ten number one albums John Lennon of the Beatles once said, Before Elvis there was nothing After Elvis, rock and roll was here to stay.Put on your dancing shoes and move to the music.Rock and roll sprang from a combination of African American genres, Western swing, and country music that exploded in post World War II America Jim O Connor explains what constitutes rock music, follows its history and sub genres through famous musicians and groups, and shows how rock became so much than just a style of music influencing fashion, language, and lifestyle.This entry in the New York Times best selling series contains eighty illustrations and sixteen pages of black and white photographs. 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