No clear detail of the origin of rock music is found. Some believe that it started with the start of rock n roll with Comets and Bill Haley in 1952. Others would say Elvis, however, not the first but of course the virtual and truly global superstar was its founder. Yet none of these stars were in fact the first. Rock n roll believes to have its roots in blues which in turn has its roots back to the 19th century when black immigrants were trying to get rid of their slave driven lives. Players from this time, Bobbie Jo and Robert Johnson facilitate to form the structure of early blues.
Robert Johnson-‘Blue’ Star
Robert Johnson recorded only thirty songs in his short life span as he was prohibited from attaining true fame and name while he was alive. He died shortly prior his supposed appearance at the 'Spirituals To Swing' concert in 1938 which was being recorded by record producer John Hammond. Later blues stars like Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton admitted that they were inspired greatly by these early stalwarts.
The Protagonists of Rock n Roll
In the 50s, artists established the blues style and facilitated drums, electric guitars, and double bass for the first time generating early rock n roll, which was later known as rockabilly. Stouts like Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis were the prominent protagonists here. Later Elvis in the US and to an extent, Cliff Richard (later leading the Shadows) in the UK presented rock n roll before the worldwide audience. This made the way for the 60's beat period which could be termed as the actual start of pop music which we know today, virtually as far as bands were concerned.
Phases of Rock Music
In the 50's and early 60's, this music was mostly lead by solo artists with just a supporting band. With the beginning of the beat era, bands dominated by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and the Beach Boys of US started taking the storm. Even so, The Beatles later accepted being greatly influenced by those earlier blues and rock music artists. They mostly played blues and rock n roll which they covered at their pre-fame Hamburg concerts in the early 60's. The Beatles although, were the first band to successfully combine classical music textures with rock n roll to create perfectly tailored pop songs. The bands, like The Rolling Stones, carried on with the mainly rock n roll theme.
The Beatles 'Sgt. Pepper' album with its innovating techniques was preceded the year before by the 'Revolver' album. These LP's enabled popularize a new surge in rock music known as acid rock or psychedelic named after the mind boggling effects of LSD drugs. Pink Floyd also recorded their debut album 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn' in the next door studio at the same time when the The Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper. It was believed that Pink Floyd had a direct influence to The Beatles as a result. This innovative idea incorporated new guitar effects like flanger anger, Fuzz, and delays. These were used with the earliest portable synthesizers viz, the therein and mini Moog originated by Bob Moog.
Beach Boys/Jefferson Airplane
In America, the Beach boys reacted to the 'Pet sounds' LP in 1966 and later in the same year released the first big hit 'Good Vibrations'. In this time, the band 'Jefferson Airplane' recorded their debut album which was also considered the first LP to come in public of the new San Franciscan music scenario. This got the great attention of industry and they had two of the first psychedelic hits 'Somebody to Love' and 'White Rabbit' in the year 1967.
Meanwhile in Los Angeles, Jim Morrison joined the members of The Psychedelic Rangers and Rick and the Ravens to establish 'The Doors'. Initially they were rejected by Columbia but were signed to Electra Records and brought out their first release their self titled debut in the year 1967. The album comprised of 7 minute long hit single 'Light my Fire'. This was one of the first to break the traditional three minute rock music and pop song barrier.
Contributions of John Peel
In Britain, radio broadcasting was very restricted as the BBC whre the only music that was allowed to broadcast were two pop music shows. The Saturday club and Easy Beat Radio Luxembourg to a certain extent bridged the gap but it was left to pirate radio, broadcast from ships at sea with DJ John Peel which facilitated the new style to fascinated a huge audience, often overshadowing the BBC in popularity. The BBC reacted finally with the launch of Radio 1 in June 1967. With the then labor government declaring pirate radio illegal in Britain, later after several months, DJ like John Peel inspite of the risk of being arrested joined radio 1 which displayed a much more relaxed and informal style in contrast to the staid and conservative approach harbored by the BBC until then. This turned to be a perfect suitable psychedelic rock music and pop and John Peel mastered this in his late night shows. Playing new styles and genres of rock music and launching new and unsigned bands in the Peel sessions he for almost four decades, he took his last breath in 2004.
After the break up of Beatles at the end of the 60's, mainstream rock music changed its way again, in fashion and style both.