Musical selection for World Rock 'n' Roll Day

World Rock 'n' Roll Day has been celebrated on 13 April since 1955. The event that started the tradition took place on the night of 12-13 a year earlier. The famous American composer, musician and singer Bill Haley recorded the song "Rock Around The Clock". On the same day eight years later, another significant for the genre event took place – on April 13, 1962, “The Beatles” performed for the first time at “The Star” club in Hamburg, which was a very important event in their career.

Rock 'n' roll was destined to become one of the most popular musical genres of the 20th century. Within it, new trends developed and new stars rose. Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, “The Beatles”, “The Rolling Stones” – these early performers and bands became truly legendary and have forever taken their place in the history of rock 'n' roll and rock culture.

The musical style of rock 'n' roll originated from the blending of the music of African Americans and whites in the United States. Jazz and blues traditions were combined with genres common among whites: country (rural music of the south) and western (cowboy folk of the west). From the latter were taken melodic features and emphasis on the sound of the guitar. Strong and powerful electric guitar parts became the basis of rock 'n' roll, and this is where the history of rock began.  Rock 'n' roll was originally performed on guitar, double bass, drums, piano and saxophone. But there were aesthetic and sonic transformations. The contrabass, for example, was replaced by the bass guitar. Some performers displaced wind instruments. A genre emerged that first became truly all-American and then worldwide.

We owe the origin of the term "rock 'n' roll" to an American DJ. In 1951, Alan Freed, who worked at a small Cleveland radio station, decided to air "black" Rhythm ’n’ blues. He was taking some risks: Americans in their 30s, whose youth had been affected by the war, did not want to listen to energetic, lively, cheerful music played by African-Americans. Preference was given to quieter orchestras, which, in turn, strongly displeased the post-war youth. To avoid scandal, Freed called the genre of songs he played a new name – "rock 'n' roll". He also organized the first rock 'n' roll parties, where he invited both blacks and whites to attend. As a result, a war was declared on rock 'n' roll. Famous people called rock 'n' roll a "black contagion" that could destroy America. Jeans were banned in schools and parents scolded children for their tastes in an attempt to lessen the influence of black culture. Rock ‘n’ roll came to be seen as rebellious.

Around 1954-1955, the classic sounding of rock 'n' roll emerged. Its founders were Fats Domino, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and, of course, the king of the genre, Elvis Presley. It was Presley who brought rock ‘n’ roll its greatest popularity. After his success, every music shop offered customers pictures of the singer and his records. However, rock 'n' roll lost considerable popularity just as quickly, many performers retrained in other directions. The style was revived several times in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum and Hall of Fame was opened on September 1, 1995.

Psychologists note that rock 'n' roll not only energizes and vitalizes, but also helps to release negative emotions. In our information-overloaded age, both intellectual and emotional stresses are often heightened. Without release, it can lead to chronic depression and emotional burnout. Rock 'n' roll helps to release negativity in time and move on.

Rock 'n' roll was also listened to in the USSR – even the "Iron Curtain" was no obstacle to it. The first compositions by “The Beatles”, Elvis Presley and Bill Haley were recorded on photographic film from old X-rays – they were jokingly called "music on bones". However, the genre was considered taboo for a long time – it was not officially recognized until the mid-1970s, when the Melodiya company began to massively replicate records by foreign performers. At the same time, the first popular domestic musical groups working in this genre emerged. It is believed that our rock music differs from Western rock music in that the lyrics are more important to the performers than the melody.

The main styles of rock music include:

  • rock ‘n’ roll (traditional rock, i.e. mainstream rock); in different years its manifestations or varieties can be recognized as big-beat, mod-rock, indie rock, Brit-pop, etc.;

  • surf rock (close to mainstream rock and country rock) and techno-rockabilly (electro-rockabilly);

  • art-rock and progressive-rock (prog-rock) that almost merges with it;

  • sympho-rock (baroque rock, neo-classical rock);

  • country rock and folk rock (understood in a narrow sense, i.e. rock combined with elements of American, English and Celtic folk music);

  • psychedelic rock and its cognate acoustic rock;

  • Punk rock.

"Rock 'n' roll is eternal because it is simple; there is nothing superfluous in it. Its rhythm penetrates through all barriers" – this is how John Lennon described this music.

There are no established traditions for rock 'n' roll Day. Enjoy listening to your favorite tunes digitized from gramophone records  stored in the museum Collection Phonoteque.