Last Sunday was the beginning of five day cultural Study tour to Cleveland. We visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Rock and Roll started in Cleveland at the black people. White youth were not allowed to listen to that music. It is a form of popular music that emerged in the United States in the late forties and early fifties, but rock and roll’s roots can be traced back centuries, to drum beats in Africa and Celtic folk music in Europe. As people from these regions migrated to America, they brought their music with them and as they were exposed to each other’s music, they began to incorporate the different styles. The more immediate roots of rock and roll lay in the so called ‘race’ music or rhythms & blues and ‘hillbilly’ music or country & western of the forties and fifties. Other significant influences include blues, jazz, gospel, boogie-woogie, folk and blue grass. The actual phrase ‘rock and roll’ emerged as code words for sexual intercourse on blues songs. In 1922 the words rock and roll appeared on a record for the first time.
When rock and roll was born in the fifties popular music was, virtually by definition, white music made by and performed for mainstream white Americans. The music that influenced rock and roll on the other hand did not appeal to the mainstream. Some of those styles – like rhythm & blues were more urban, while others – like country and bluegrass were more rural. Some, like gospel, sprang from the church while others like the blues espoused views as horrent to the church. Many of them had their own origins in the American South. But they all had one thing in common: they spoke to the more disenfranchised elements of American society – to African Americans and poor whites. Now many forms of music found their origin in rock and roll such as soul, rap and even reggae.
The museum consists of six levels on which you can see the roots of rock and roll in cars, movies, interactive listening exhibits and magazines. We were not allowed to take pictures and videos in the area where the history of rock & roll is visualized, but still it was worthwhile to be there and put the history on your eye balls. Dresses, jackets, electronic and acoustic guitars, records, photographs, original written lyrics, saxophones, spectacles and shoes are shown of popular stars such as Mahalia Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Marvin Gaye, The Beatles, Al Green, Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, the Staple Singers, Aretha Franklyn, Joe Tex, James Brown, Nat King Cole, Wanda Jackson, Charles Brown, Bob Wills, Ray Charles, Billy Holiday, Sam Cooke, Johnny Otis and Michael Jackson.