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Rock and Roll. 1950’s to Today!. Post WWII. A time of economic prosperity. A new optimism for the future led to the “baby boom.” Americans had more leisure time and higher incomes. (For that time). Television became an important item in every home.

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rock and roll

Rock and Roll

1950’s to Today!

post wwii
  • A time of economic prosperity.
  • A new optimism for the future led to the “baby boom.”
  • Americans had more leisure time and higher incomes. (For that time).
  • Television became an important item in every home.
  • By the mid 1950’s those new baby boomers were becoming teenagers.
life in the 1950 s
Life in the 1950’s
  • Teenagers were buying, on average, 2 records a month.
  • Technology saw the replacement of 78rpm to LP’s (vinyl). These LP’s (long-playing) contained more music.
  • Teenagers had transistor radio’s and small record players. They could take their music anywhere.
  • The swamping of popular music in America had begun!
rock and roll the beginning
Rock and Roll: The Beginning
  • Rhythm and Blues played a big factor to the development of rock and roll.
  • Little Richard and Chuck Berry’s hard driving sound was instrumental.
were the 1950 s that great
Were the 1950’s That Great?
  • We tend to think that the 1950’s were a great time, however, the US was involved in the Korean War.
  • Cold War between US and USSR was ongoing
  • A sense of insecurity with the McCarthy hearings.
  • The start of the space race between US and USSR
what was on tv
What Was On TV?
  • The Honeymooners
  • Milton Berle
  • Your Show of Shows
  • Mickey Mouse Club – Disneyland in CA opened.
  • Jack Benny
the early rockers
The Early Rockers
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
  • Carl Perkins
  • Johnny Cash
  • Music was called Rockabilly (rock + hillbilly).
  • Fats Domino
who coined the term rock and roll
Who Coined The Term Rock and Roll?
  • The honor goes to a Cleveland (later NY) DJ named Alan Freed. Although he seemed to have taken that phrase from George “Hound Dog” Lorenz, a Buffalo, NY DJ who was in Cleveland for a short stint.
little richard
Little Richard
  • Born Richard Wayne Penniman, December 5, 1932.
  • Started performing as a teen in Georgia.
  • Wasn’t happy with the music he was playing so he put together a hard driving band and started playing rock and roll.
  • He found his rhythm from the sound of the tracks that the trains rolled on.
  • 1957 he quit rock and roll to become a born again Christian and attended Bible College.
  • Eventually he brought the two together.
little richard1
Little Richard
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 1986
  • Still performs today.
  • “Good Golly Miss Molly,” TuttiFrutti.”
elvis presley
Elvis Presley
  • Elvis Aaron Presley was born to Vernon and Gladys Presley in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935. His twin brother, Jessie Garon, was stillborn, leaving Elvis to grow up as an only child. He and his parents moved to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1948, and Elvis graduated from Humes High School there in 1953.
  • Elvis’ musical influences were the pop and country music of the time, the gospel music he heard in church and at the all-night gospel sings he frequently attended, and the black R&B he absorbed on historic Beale Street as a Memphis teenager.

In 1954, Elvis began his singing career with the legendary Sun Records label in Memphis. In late 1955, his recording contract was sold to RCA Victor. By 1956, he was an international sensation. With a sound and style that uniquely combined his diverse musical influences and blurred and challenged the social and racial barriers of the time, he ushered in a whole new era of American music and popular culture.


His talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humor endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. Elvis died at his Memphis home, Graceland, on August 16, 1977.

elvis quotes
Elvis Quotes

“Some people tap their feet, some people snap their fingers, and some people sway back and forth. I just sorta do ‘em all together, I guess.”

-Elvis in 1956, talking about his way of moving on stage.

"I ain't no saint, but I've tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God...I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world."

-Elvis commenting to a reporter, 1950's.

elvis death
Elvis Death

Elvis died of a cardiac arrhythmia; legend has it that he was seated on the toilet at the time. The two principal laboratory reports and analyses filed after his death each attributed his death to the fact that he was taking too many different drugs. One report, by BioScience Laboratories, found fourteen different drugs in Elvis' system, ten in significant quantity.

elvis death1
Elvis Death

Elvis' personal physician, Dr. George Nichopoulos, was found to have written Elvis 199 prescriptions totalling more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines and narcotics in the first 8 months of 1977. Dr. Nichopoulos was charged with prescription fraud (criminally) and was threatened with the loss of his medical license. He defended himself by saying that he was actually trying to get Elvis to stop taking so many drugs.

elvis death2
Elvis Death
  • Elvis had a history of disrupted sleep, sleepwalking and nightmares going back to childhood. It intensified after the death of his mother and after he was drafted into the army in 1957. By the mid-1950's, Elvis had started using amphetamines; they were legal as appetite suppressants until 1965. They kept him going and they kept his weight down. They also, of course, kept him awake. He had become what Dr Nick calls a 'night person'.
  • By the time he became a patient of Dr. George Nichopoulos in 1967 (he saw "Dr. Nick" for insomnia), Elvis was taking both uppers and downers: Tiunal, Desbutal, Escatrol, and the powerful tranquilizer Placidyl.
elvis death3
Elvis Death
  • in 1969, Elvis began making month-long visits to the International Hotel in Las Vegas, where he would give two live performances nightly. He needed amphetamines before his shows, and tranquilizers afterwards. And Dr. Nick kept writing the prescriptions. He was not in Las Vegas all the time; he would fly out from time to time, and then would fly back to Memphis to maintain his surgery practice.
  • Dr. Nichopoulos claimed that he tried to manage Elvis' drug intake when he was in town, but when he wasn't in Las Vegas, there were other doctors who would prescribe for him. One -- Dr. Thomas 'Flash' Newman -- earned his nickname for his ability to appear at a moment's notice with whatever drug Elvis wanted. After Priscilla left him in 1971, Elvis's behavior became more erratic. He spent more and more time in a chemical fog.
elvis death4
Elvis Death
  • Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977. At the time of his death, he was suffering from glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage and an enlarged colon. All of these ailments were aggravated, if not caused, by drug abuse. "He didn't have any major heart problems. Even with his obesity and everything - that's what really surprised me. I was dumbfounded that he died."