While the art of rock and roll will forever be attributed to early successful artists like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, the fact remains that without the influences that these artists had, the genre would never have come about in the first place.
The earliest rockers all indicated that they had a huge influence from the gospel music that they played in various churches that they had attended as children in the southern parts of the United States. This gospel music experienced a huge amount of influence from the soul music performed by the African Americans who populated the areas and attended the same churches as choir members if not Congregationalists due to the very obstructive and demeaning segregation laws that the south employed at the time.
This music also had a huge influence on the primarily black “blues” players who also had their origin in the Deep South.
Taking the bones of these different types of music and transforming them into what is now known as rock and roll was done in the very early parts of the genre also by black artists who because of their race had a very difficult time in getting the recognition and radio air time they so rightly deserved.
Artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard were playing what would be considered rock and roll long before anyone had even heard of Elvis or Jerry Lee, but they were unable to get the exposure that the white artists were able to get at the time in the south.
It was the blending of this soul and blues music with blistering guitars that produced the genre now recognized as rock and roll.
Without the influence of the old blues masters like Blind Willy Dixon and Howlin’ Wolf and especially Robert Johnson, the world would have never experienced Elvis or many contemporary bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones who all got heavily influenced from these unknown masters.
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