Rock and Roll and American Society Research Paper by Nicky

An in-depth examination of the rock and roll music medium and its roots in America of the 1950s.
# 150835 | 3,647 words | 8 sources | APA | 2012 | US

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The paper examines the literature to explore why rock and roll was born in the 1950s, why it took hold and why it had a such an impact around the world. The paper goes on to demonstrate how rock and roll arose in response to what was taking place in the social and political arena at that time. The paper also demonstrates the lasting impact of this genre of music on American culture until today.

From the Paper:

"Rock and roll was not the first, nor will it be the last, popular form of music that arose in response to what was taking place in the social and political arena. As Grossberg (2008), states, any study of music including rock and roll must start with the identification of the context within which it is located and the identification of its relationships. The dominant features are nearly always understood as sociological variables, which although frequently locally significant, must continually confront their own exceptions. During the mid-1800s, as the West opened up to the newest settlers with the Homestead Act, and hopes soared high for land and gold, songs such as "Oh, California," "The Old Chisholm Trail," "Home on the Range" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad," became popular countrywide. The transition of the risque "Roaring Twenties," or the "Jazz Age," and its flappers, Dixieland and Charleston tunes, transitioned from the height of optimism to the brinks of despair less than a decade later. In the early 1930s, when the stock market crashed and millions died in the dust bowl plains, people sang "I've Got Five Dollars" and "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime." Politically, Woodie Guthrie, Molly Jackson, "Leadbelly," and Pete Seeger promoted the unions and, for the first time, made people equate folk music with supposed leftist and subversive leanings."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Cohen, S. (1993) Ethnography and popular music studies. Popular Music. 12(2), 123-138
  • Christgau, G. (2003) A History of Rock Criticism, In National Arts Journalism Program: Reporting the Arts II: News Coverage of Arts and Culture in America, Andras Szanto, Daniel S. Levy, and Andrew Tyndall (Eds) New York: NAJP at Columbia University, 140.
  • Finnegan, R. (1989). The Hidden Musicians: Music-Making in an English Town Cambridge: Cambridge University
  • Greil, M. Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n Roll Music (1975) New York: Penguin Group
  • Grossberg, L. (1983). The Politics of Youth Culture: Some Observations on Rock and Roll in American Culture," Social Text 8, 104-26.

Cite this Research Paper:

APA Format

Rock and Roll and American Society (2012, April 26) Retrieved March 20, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Rock and Roll and American Society" 26 April 2012. Web. 20 March. 2023. <>