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Music of the 1950s

The Rock ‘n Roll phenomenon

Popular music in the 1950s was dominated by a new and fresh sound called Rock ‘n roll, a sound that excited young people and annoyed their parents.

Rock ‘n roll was birthed out of a culmination of genres that had been developing at the turn of the 20th century, including rhythm and blues, country & western, gospel music and pop.

Rock ‘n Roll Controversy – Elvis ‘the pelvis'

When Elvis performed on television, he was slammed by TV critics for his “vulgarity”, “appalling lack of musicality” and “animalism.”

 

 

Much of this criticism came from his dancing, particularly when he swayed his pelvis, something his fans would scream for. People were very concerned that his performances were promoting juvenile delinquency and changing the moral values of the younger generation for the worse.

Watch this video of Elvis Presley singing ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ and see him sway his hips around the 1:12 mark.

How ‘shocking’ does this dancing seem today? 

Rock ‘n Roll would go onto to influence fashions, lifestyles, language and attitudes for generations to come.

In Murder and Rock ‘n Roll, Rosa is surprised to hear Miguel and his band perform an original Rock ‘n Roll song that she suspects might have been written about her.

You can hear this song Pretty Little Lady in a White Corvette here!

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