Rock and Roll is a type of music that has been around for almost 60 years. Bands have come and gone, songs have lost popularity, and band members have died. One band has stood above all the others in innovation, popularity, and greatness. This band was The Beatles. They have been around almost as long as rock and roll itself. The Beatles changed rock and roll, they gave it a new style and changed its definition. Ultimately, “The Beatles” were the individuals that defined rock and roll.
In order to examine how the Beatles changed rock music. One must first discover where and when it all began. The year was 1500, and Portuguese slave traders had just recently brought the first African slaves to the Americas. This is where the story of rock and roll began. Moving forward to the 1800’s, in the antebellum south, slaves carr9ied African rhythms and songs of sorrow that mixed with the American country-folk style of music; the result was called Blues.
Blues is fundamentally the grandfather of rock and roll. Blues artists of the early 20th century played out of tune, acoustic guitars on their front porch. With the arrival of new recording technology, they could take their “sad” songs and record them. Once amplification was added into the mix, a new “heavy” sound began to take a toll on popular music. With this new fad, young people of the 1950’s were inspired to pick up guitars and play the Blues. The first of these men were: Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis. These men transfused Blues with country and jazz to ultimately form rock and roll.
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Aside from being forerunners, these men were also the individuals that inspired the Beatles. In the late 1950’s, rock and roll albums from America were flying off the shelves, especially in Britain. This new wave of sound struck the British young generation to an amazing extent. The response? Many young people came together and formed bands, including 17 year old John Lennon.
Lennon was studying to become an arts student when he formed his first band with his school “mates”. They were called the Quarrymen.(Burrows,pg.6).
After playing for the allotted time of about a year, John finally met the one person that would bring them into fame, Paul McCartney.