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The 1950’s. The rise of youth culture Radio vs. records The first cross-over hits. The Decade of Change. The 1950’s marked a huge change in how society worked. There were several shifts in the ways of thinking and this helped fuel the Rock and Roll industry.

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the 1950 s

The 1950’s

The rise of youth culture

Radio vs. records

The first cross-over hits

the decade of change
The Decade of Change

The 1950’s marked a huge change in how society worked. There were several shifts in the ways of thinking and this helped fuel the Rock and Roll industry.

The 50’s were a prosperous time, were many Americans were moving to the subburbs to chase the fantasy lifestyle (Large house, wife, 2 kids, a dog, and a car)

1950 s
  • The War was over…or so they thought.
      • The Cold War (a bloodless war) broke out between America and the Russian Federation. It was a clash of the titans and of ideologies (Free Market Trade vs. Communism)
  • This War helped to shape popular culture…especially in the youth!
      • Movies, Music and Television were starting to be geared towards a younger audience…a younger WHITE audience.
1950 s1
  • Television and Movies
      • Television was very wholesome and family oriented with shows like Father Knows Best, and Leave it to Beaver
      • Movies were a stark contrast…all about Alien invasions and the threat of the Russians, or Bad Boy rebellions.
1950 s2
  • Clash of the Classes…and races
      • During the 1950’s Racism was still live and well…but that was starting to change.
      • Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Case
      • Linda Brown and the Topeka School Case
  • Both of these cases were the start of the civil rights movement and equality and integration.
1950 s3
  • And what does this have to do with the music?
      • All of these factors helped to shape the sound and style of music being produced
      • Rhythm and Blues (R&B) was becoming more popular
      • Cross-over hits were becoming more prevalent
      • Music was being geared to the youth
      • Radio was a big business
1950 s radio vs records
1950’s Radio vs. Records
  • Due to the high amount of people with increasing wealth the radio industry took off more than ever before.
      • All cars were equipped with an AM radio, and because many people were now commuting to work for long periods of time, music and NEWS were being listened too more than ever before.
      • Radio Stations had to employ Disc Jockies (DJ’s) to play the music and more importantly…decide what to play.
1950 s4

Due to the popularity of Artists on the Radio the record labels decided to record the music and sell it on records so people…mainly the youth, would buy each record and support specific artists.

DJ’s would often be “paid off” to play particular artists or songs to help increase the record sales.

At this time there was also a divide between touring artists that only used the radio and artists that only produced records.

1950 s and r b
1950’s and R&B
  • This was the risky music choice for the white youth…it symbolized their rebellion against authorities and growing up.
      • Bill Haley- Rock Around the Clock
      • Chuck Berry- Johnny Be Good, Maybelline
1950 s and the cross over hits
1950’s and the Cross-Over hits
  • Although R&B was popular among the youth, it was not for the older audience…especially parents.
  • There was a call for a more WHITE, and acceptable music to be produced. From this the Cross-Over hit was created.
      • This was a “Whitening” of R&B music to make it more socially acceptable for the youth to listen to it
      • Many Artists would simply record two versions of the songs, or in a rare case have the same version an hit in both markets, or there were artists that would re-create popular R&B hits into a more white friendly version.
1950 s and cross overs
1950’s and Cross-Overs
  • Examples of the change would be:
      • Joe Turners version of Shake rattle and Rock vs. Chuck Berry’s and Jerry Lee Lewis’s version
      • Little Richards version of TuttiFrutti vs. Pat Boones version
      • Fats Domino’s hit Blueberry Hill
      • Jackie Bensons version of Rocket 88 vs. Bill Haley and the Comments version.
      • Fats Domino’s version of Ain’t it a Shame vs. Pat Boone’s version.
      • Little Richard’s version of Long Tall Sally vs. Pat Boone’s version.
1950 s and doo wop
1950’s and Doo-wop
  • After the cross-over hits emerged many groups in R&B wanted to create a easier listening sound that would sell in both markets…Doo-wop was born
      • The Chords- Sh’Boom
      • The Oriels- Cryin in the Chapel
      • The Platters- The Great Pretender
      • Even Doo-wop had cross-over hits which also lead to controversy…as one particularly famous artist got his start on cross-over’s and cover hits.
next week
Next week
  • The 1950’s continue
      • Elvis Presely
      • Rockabilly
      • Music Form