… was originally, according to Billboard Magazine, Rhythm & Blues music. This was until Producer Sam Phillips (Sun Records), the ‘inventor’ of Rock & Roll, started promoting little known artists in the 1950s, who had an original, imperfect sound. He had an ear for great music, away from the commercial ‘smooth’ sound. He made artists believe in him, by making them believe in themselves. New talent used to walk-in into his office and some of them got lucky.
One of them was Elvis Presley, who walked into Sam Phillips office in 1953, as an eighteen year old wannabe singer.
He was not looking to make big money. His heart always wanted to do something great and original, to leave a mark. He recorded new music from upcoming artists, only to stop doing that once the real surge in sales was about to begin.
... was the original name given by Billboard to the genre which was later called Rhythm & Blues.
Black artists were more creative, edgy, talented, and had a wild style that was light years ahead of white performers. This made ‘race music’ popular across all demographics and regions, something that was picked up by many record companies, including Sun Records.
Elvis Presley was made to rule the world, and is rightly called the King of Rock & Roll. Normally he was shy, polite and a little bashful, but once he got on stage, he turned into a monster rocker, a gyrating fireball, with a charming smile.
Elvis helped by being the first visual, crossover artist, with great looks, a beautiful voice, ‘black’ music sensibilities, and country mood. He really was The King, having an unmatched popularity even to this day.
The big upcoming technology at that time was Television and most of the ‘rock’ songs were sung by black artists, who were not TV friendly.
Elvis Presley, as foreseen by Sam Phillips, was made for the TV era, and loved to perform. His TV moment came in 1956 when he performed ‘Hound Dog’ on the Milton Berle Show and was watched by forty million people. The rest is History!
Alan Freed, a music DJ and radio jockey, was an insider in the world of R & B and was the one who coined the name ‘Rock & Roll’ to the particular kind of new R & B, listened to by white kids. This repositioned the music product and took it to ‘rocking’ heights eventually.
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