The 1950’s where so called the birth of popular music. The first half of the decade was run by popular music, or classic pop. This more vocal driven music had replaced the earlier big band style. Artists such as Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra where the leaders of this age of traditional pop. Often the most popular musicians that play this genre also played very well on the television and sometimes they would be featured on music special shows, or perhaps even have a music variety of their own. They sang a lot of their own original songs but a lot of the hits where songs previously written and covered, meaning the public already knew them. Most songs in this genre where just described as been very simple and melodic, some even ballad like. The whole genre was influenced by previously done jazz, swing and big band.
As well as this, there was the development of other genres. The 1950’s saw the rise of Rock ‘n’ Roll, artists like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley dominated the scene as well as Carl Perkins. Perkins was seen as a pinoeer in the creation of rock and roll, he describes his music often as “Rockability” because it sounds like a combination of country and R&B with rock influences. Perkins wrote the chart topping Blue Suede Shoes in 1955 which was then covered by the “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” who enjoyed even more of its success. Elvis Presley was then a huge part of the popular music scene in the 50’s, he was a cotoversial performer, with his famous hip gyrations appearing on the Milton Berle show in 1956, a performance that shock the conservative adults, but at the time drew in the youth. Its important not to forget the african-americans who created the genre but could never fund recordings, Little Richard, Chuck Beryy and Chubby Check, to name a few.
Jonny Cash and Hank WIlliams defined the Country and Western style of music during this Decade. Cash’s music had a very country sound with some rockability influences, his music often revolved around as certain theme, life, sorrow, relationships, this made his music very relatable for many of his listeners. Because of his respect and compassion for his fellow human, this resulted in Cash playing in prison across america, His most famous performance been in Folsom Prison.
Rhythm and Blues emerged from jazz in the 40’s and was the term used for music that was slightly more upbeat and contained jazz, doo-wop, blues and gospel to create a unique sound during the decade. Many artists, after enjoying time on the Rock and Roll chart where somewhat pushed into the R&B genre as the music industy was making way for the big shot white rock and rollers. Some of the most notable R&B artists of the decade include Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and Sam Cooke. 1960’s
The first of the 60’s was still dominated by the later half of the 50’s, until 1963 artist such as Elvis and Ray Charles where still topping the charts. Post 63, a number of social influences would shape popular music, and give us the diversity we see today.
The British invasion was perhaps the most key area of the 60’s, This is the time in the early/mid 60’s in which many Britsish rock bands and pop artists found mainstream sucess in the US and worldwide. These bands where influenced by the US rock and roll scene, then went on to create there own unique and vary styles. The band that mainly comes to mind here is The Beatles, the band that changed and shaped pop music, broke the Us music scene in 63 but then really hit it big in 64 when they appeared on the Ed Sullivan l The Beatles then continued to dominate world charts until they broke up in 1970. The scene surrounding The Beatles was known as Beatlemania, which caused many up and coming band to try and create the “liverpool sound”. Other Bands linked to the British invasion would be The Who, The Rolling Stones, and The Animals, some of these reached comparable success of The Beatles and influenced music in a very different way.
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