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Rock music emerged during the mid-1950s to become the major popular musical form of young audiences in the United States and Western Europe Its stylistic scope is too broad to be encompassed by any single definition the only feature common to all rock music is a heavy emphasis on the beat Rock n Roll 1950-62 The primary source of rock n roll was rhythm and blues an idiom popular among black audiences that combined elements of urban blues in the structure vocal style and use of amplified guitar gospel music in the piano accompaniments and vocal harmonizing and jazz in the saxophone solos Rhythm and blues began to gain a wider audience during the late 1940s and in 1951 the disc jockey Alan Freed who played an important role in attracting white teenagers to the music substituted the term rock n roll previously used as a sexual reference in lyrics Major record producers observing the success of rhythm and blues and rock n roll songs distributed on race records ie record labels marketed to black audiences issued coverscompeting sanitized versions of the same songs but recorded by white artists Coverswhatever their artistic qualitybrought new stylistic influences to rock n roll white country and western music and popular music and eased the transition for white audiences This audience still hesitant at accepting black music made Bill Haleys Rock Around the Clock 1955 the first important breakthrough for white rock n roll What appealed to this new audience accustomed to the relatively bland Tin Pan Alley brand of popular music was rock n rolls driving dance rhythms its direct adolescent-level message and its suggestion of youthful rebellion Rock n rolls first superstar was Elvis Presley With his country-and-western background Presley led the way for other rockabilly rock plus hillbilly artists with his spasmodic hip gyrations he introduced a sexual suggestiveness that outraged conservative adults with his legions of teenage fans he brought to rock
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