THE ROOTS OF ROCK & ROLL

Many people may not know the roots of rock ‘n’ roll are woven deep within an eclectic assortment of musical genres. Blues, gospel, rhythm and blues and other forms of black music styles are the roots for rock 'n' roll. A huge factor for this was the large migration of blacks from the South to the North throughout the 1940s. Music associated with blacks was originally called “race” music and was later called rhythm and blues to be more politically correct. With many men participating in World War II most big jazz bands were forced to break up, and most of those bands were predominantly white. Not only did men leaving for war cause a break in big jazz bands but a strike from artists against the music companies caused continued strife for bands at the end of the war. With the strike and the war the bands were obsolete. Single performers and small groups became
the norm.

Alan FreedIt wasn’t until 1951 that Alan Freed coined the term rock ‘n’ roll. Freed was a disc jockey from Cleveland, Ohio, on WJW. Although the term was referenced in songs from the 1940s, Freed used the term to talk about the genre of music. Many white Americans enjoyed the sounds of rhythm and blues, but the genre and its black artists would only be played on “race music” outlets and were hardly heard by mainstream audiences. Freed was able to play black artists’ music on his radio station by calling it rock ‘n’ roll. Because the term incorporated so many artists and was catchy many artists, both black and white, used the phrase and developed singles and considered it rock 'n' roll.