“Buddy Holly.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 10 Aug. 2019, www.biography.com/musician/buddy-holly.
One of the key influencers of rock music was country singer Buddy Holly. In a band called "The Crickets" and then solo, he recorded country style hits with a hint of rock n' roll.
The rhythm and harmonies of R&B collided with the deep southern sound of country to make a sound completely different than the music of the past.
Here are some photos my father took at Graceland in 2017: https://imgur.com/a/RK0u7gN
The most popular star of the early rock n' roll era, however, was easily Elvis. Elvis grew up with and began with singing gospel music, but moved on to more urban, controversial music. Elvis' music swept the nation, and girls and boys alike were completely enamored with him.
The main audience of this new type of music was teenagers and young people. The older generations, who were used to music of big bands and Perry Como, were shocked to hear this sort of music, and Frank Sinatra called it "the most degenerate form of expression."
Anderson, David. “How Elvis Permanently Changed American Pop Culture.” The Conversation, 16 Aug. 2019, theconversation.com/how-elvis-permanently-changed-american-pop-culture-81917.
Many loved and were inspired by his music. Tragically, he died at age 22 in a plane crash. His musical career, and his death, inspired many things -- such as the song "American Pie," the band name of the Beatles, and the music of Bob Dylan.
Information on ONLY the end of the rock n' roll era came from: “Rock and Roll.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Apr. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_and_roll.
The true rock n' roll era came to a close at the end of the 1950's. The deaths of several stars, Elvis being drafted, and several scandals involving musicians once held in high regard all contributed to this. This also ushered in a new era of music -- boy bands and "surf rock." Surf bands such as the Beach Boys rose to prominence, and soon after the Beatles became immensely popular in America. However, the rock n' roll style of music did not end. Rock music today is still influenced by classic rock 'n' roll.
Elvis' signature style, popular music, and scandalous dance moves rocked America. His successful career spawned many other's, such as John Lennon's. Elvis' hits are still played today, and he remains a cultural icon.
The invention of this new kind of music changed American culture forever. It brought in a new kind of consumer culture- for example, Elvis was in 31 movies that, despite being exceptionally dull and corny, made millions at the box office just because of his stardom.
Of course, Elvis and Buddy Holly were not the only stars of this music era. Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, the Drifters, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bill Haley & the Comets were just a few that also had huge influence and hits. Music was being bought at unprecedented rates.
Though many of the rock n' roll stars of the 50's met tragic ends or fell into disgrace, and they gradually became less popular, their music, as well as the 50's era in general, still has a significant influence on American culture.