Uploaded on Feb 16, 2010
SpoonDoctorO - Call your name
Filmed by Wulfey Media
Editing: Raymond Brouwers
cafe de Highlander Maastricht
The origins of rock and roll have been fiercely debated by commentators and historians of music. There is general agreement that it arose in the southern United States of America - the region which would produce most of the major early rock and roll acts - through the meeting of the different musical traditions which had developed from transatlantic African slavery and largely European immigration in that region. The migration of many freed slaves and their descendants to major urban centers like Memphis and north to New York City, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Buffalo meant that black and white residents were living in close proximity in larger numbers than ever before, and as a result heard each other's music and even began to emulate each other's fashions. Radio stations that made white and black forms of music available to both groups, the development and spread of the gramophone record, and musical styles such as jazz and swing which were taken up by both black and white musicians, aided this process of "cultural collision."
The immediate roots of rock and roll lay in the so-called "race music" and hillbilly music (later called rhythm and blues and country and western) of the 1940s and 1950s. Particularly significant influences were jazz, blues, boogie woogie, country, folk and gospel music. Commentators differ in their views of which of these forms were most important and the degree to which the new music was a re-branding of African American rhythm and blues for a white market, or a new hybrid of black and white forms.
In the 1930s jazz, and particularly swing, both in urban based dance bands and blues-influenced country swing, was among the first music to present African American sounds for a predominately white audience. The 1940s saw the increased use of blaring horns (including saxophones), shouted lyrics and boogie woogie beats in jazz based music. During and immediately after World War II, with shortages of fuel and limitations on audiences and available personnel, large jazz bands were less economical and tended to be replaced by smaller combos, using guitars, bass and drums. In the same period, particularly on the West Coast and in the Midwest, the development of jump blues, with its guitar riffs, prominent beats and shouted lyrics, prefigured many later developments. Similarly, country boogie and Chicago electric blues supplied many of the elements that would be seen as characteristic of rock and roll.
Rock and roll arrived at a time of considerable technological change, soon after the development of the electric guitar, amplifier and microphone, and the 45 rpm record. There were also changes in the record industry, with the rise of independent labels like Atlantic, Sun and Chess servicing niche audiences and a similar rise of radio stations that played their music. It was the realization that relatively affluent white teenagers were listening to this music that led to the development of what was to be defined as rock and roll as a distinct genre.
 Origins of the phrase
The phrase "Rock and Roll" can be heard referenced in the Hal Roach film "Asleep in the Feet" (1932), starring ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd. In 1935, Henry "Red" Allen recorded "Get Rhythm in Your Feet and Music in Your Soul" which included the lyric, "If satan starts to hound you, commence to rock and roll. Get rhythm in your feet..." etc. This lyric was written by the prolific Tin Pan Alley composer J. Russel Robinson with Bill Livingston. It is unlikely that they created the phrase for this application. It was presumably current with its musical meaning in popular culture at the time, at least in New York City. Allen's recording was a "race" record on the Vocalion label, but the catchy tune was quickly covered by white musicians, notably Benny Goodman, no doubt giving the term currency throughout the US by the end of 1935.
The word "rock" had a long history in many languages as a metaphor for "to shake up, to disturb or to incite". "Rocking" was a term used by black gospel singers in the American South to mean something akin to spiritual rapture. In 1916, the term "rocking and rolling" was used with a religious connotation, on the phonograph record "The Camp Meeting Jubilee" by an unnamed male "quartette". The verb "roll" was a medieval metaphor which meant "having sex". Writers for hundreds of years have used the phrases "They had a roll in the hay" or "I rolled her in the clover". The phrase "rocking and rolling" was secular black slang for dancing or sex by the early twentieth century, appearing on record for the first time in 1922 on Trixie Smith's "My Man Rocks Me With One Steady Roll", and as a double entendre, ostensibly referring to dancing, but with the subtextual meaning of sex, as in Roy Brown's "Good Rocking Tonight" .