The foundations of rock music are in rock and roll, which originated in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s by African-Americans. It gained popularity in the early 1950s, and quickly spread to much of the rest of the world. Its immediate origins lay in a mixing together of various black musical genres of the time, including rhythym and blues and gospel music , with country and western.In 1951, Cleveland,Ohio disc jockey Alan Freed began playing rhythm and blues music for a multi-racial audience, and is credited with first using the phrase "rock and roll" to describe the music.
Debate surrounds which record should be considered the first rock n roll record One contender is “ Rocket 88" by Jacky Brenston and his Delta Cats (in fact,Ike Turner and his band The Kings of Rhythm), recorded by Sam Phillips for Sun Records in 1951.Four years later, Bill Halley's “ Rocks Arround The Clocks" (1955) became the first rock and roll song to top Billboard magazine's main sales and airplay charts, and opened the door worldwide for this new wave of popular culture.
It has been argued that "That’s All right(Mama)" (1954),Elvis Presley's first single for Sun Recordsin Memphis, was the first rock and roll record,but, at the same time,Big Joe Turner's "Shake,Rattle & Roll", later covered by Haley, was already at the top of theBillboard R&B charts .Other artists with early rock and roll hits included Chuck Berry,Bo Diddley ,Fats Domino ,Little Richards ,Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent. Soon rock and roll was the major force in American record sales and crooner, such as Eddie Fisher,Perry Como , andPatti Page, who had dominated the previous decade of popular music, found their access to the pop charts significantly curtailed.
Rock and roll has been seen as leading to a number of distinct sub-genres, including rockabilly, combining rock and roll with "hillbilly" country music, which was usually played and recorded in the mid-1950s by white singers such as Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and with the greatest commercial success, Elvis Presley.In contrast doo woop placed an emphasis on multi-part vocal harmonies and meaningless backing lyrics (from which the genre later gained its name), which were usually supported with light instrumentation and had its origins in 1930s and '40s African American vocal groups.Acts like The Crows,The penguins,The el Dorados and the Turbans all scored major hits, and groups like The Platters, with songs including "The Great Pretender" (1955), and The Coasters with humorous songs like "Yaket Yak" (1958), ranked among the most successful rock and roll acts of the period.The era also saw the growth in popularity of the electric guitar, and the development of a specifically rock and roll style of playing through such exponents as Chuck Berry,Link Wray, and Scotty More.
In the United Kingdom, the trad jazz and folk movements brought visiting blues music artists to Britain.Lonnie Donigans 's 1955 hit "Rock Island Line" was a major influence and helped to develop the trend of skiffle music groups throughout the country, many of which, including John Lennon's The Quarrymen, moved on to play rock and roll.
Commentators have traditionally perceived a decline of rock and roll in the late 1950s and early 1960s. By 1959, the death of Buddy Holly,The Big Booper and Richie Valens in a plane crash, the departure of Elvis for the army, the retirement of Little Richard to become a preacher, prosecutions of Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry and the breaking of the payola scandal (which implicated major figures, including Alan Freed, in bribery and corruption in promoting individual acts or songs), gave a sense that the initial rock and roll era had come to an end.