1. Elvis Presley - An American singer who is known as one of the most major cultural icons of the 20th century,
he is known as "the King of Rock and Roll“. He is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music,
with projected record sales of 600 million units worldwide. He has won three Grammys, and has been
inducted into multiple music halls of fame. His music career began in 1954 and soon Presley was seen as
one of the pioneers of rockabilly (a subgenre for rock n’ roll) and was catalyst for the popularization of the
genre. Presley's first single, "Heartbreak Hotel", was released in 1956 and became No.1 hit in the US. He
was regarded as the leading figure of rock and roll after a series of successful TV appearances back-to—
back hits. He regularly took inspiration from various artists (both black and white) to create his diverse sound.
Jerry Lee Lewis - An American musician and singer/songwriter, who is often known by his nickname of “The
Killer” and is often viewed as "rock & roll's first great wild man”. As an early pioneer of rock and roll music and
his 1957 hit "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" that shot Lewis to fame worldwide. Lewis followed this when he
recorded songs such as "Great Balls of Fire“. Lewis has a dozen gold records in both rock and country. He
was placed into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and his contribution to the genre has been
recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.
Chuck Berry - An African-American guitarist and singer/songwriter, who is seen as one of the major pioneers
of rock and roll music with songs 1950s hits like, "Roll Over Beethoven" , "Rock and Roll Music" and "Johnny
B. Goode". Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll
distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and using guitar solos and showmanship that
would be a major influence on succeeding rock music.
Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He is being
ranked 5th on Rolling stones’ list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time (2004).
Bill Haley (& His Comets) - An American rock and roll band that was formed in 1952. The band, was the
earliest group of white musicians to bring the genre to the attention of white America and also worldwide,
helping it to come into the mainstream as its own music genre. Many fans consider them to be as
revolutionary in their time as the Beatles or the Rolling Stones were a decade later. In 1954, "Rock Around
the Clock", was recorded and would go on to become Haley's biggest hit in 1955, and become one of the
most prized tracks in rock and roll history. The late success of "Rock Around the Clock" is due to its use in the
film Blackboard Jungle as it was re-released as a part of the film’s soundtrack, which caused it to rise to the
top of the American musical charts that summer and stayed there for 8 weeks, the first rock and roll record to
2. Famous Bands
The Marvelettes - A girl group who achieved popularity in the early to mid-1960s after their 1961
smash hit "Please Mr. Postman“ which was the first number-one single recorded by an all-female
and made them one of first major successful act of Motown Records.
Members include Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman and Wanda Young.
Buddy Holly & The Crickets - Buddy Holly, was an American musician and singer/songwriter who
was a central figure of mid-1950s rock and roll scene and is considered to be one of the famous
rock n’ rollers of all time. He is often regarded as the act that defined the traditional rock-and-roll
setup of two guitars, bass, and drums. In 1955, after opening for Elvis Presley, Holly decided to
pursue a career in music. His band's style shifted from country to entirely rock and roll. In 1957, the
album ”Chirping Crickets” was released; it reached No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart. Holly was a
major influence on music artists and bands, such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Elton
John. He was among the first acts to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
The Shirelles – A girl group that became popular in the early 1960s. They have been credited with
launching the girl group genre and allowing it to enter the mainstream (male-dominated) music
industry. Their acceptance by both white and black audiences, has been noted as reflecting the
early success of the African-American Civil Rights Movement as they were able to be successful
black musicians in a predominantly white (and racist) society. They have been accepted in
the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and named one of the 100 best acts of all time by Rolling
Stone in 2004.
Members included Shirley Owens, Doris Coley, Addie Harris and Beverly Lee.
The Everly Brothers - An American rock and roll band made up of two brothers; Donald
and Phillip Everly. In the late 1950s, the Everly Brothers were the rock 'n' roll youth movement's
addition to close harmony vocal groups of which many were family bands, so they had universal
appeal in both the US and UK, but mainly to a white audience. "Bye Bye Love" reached No. 2 on
the pop charts behind Elvis Presley's "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear“ and became the Everly
Brothers' first million-seller. They were elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. They
influenced rock groups of the 1960s such as The Beatles and the Beach Boys.
3. Primary Demographic:
Old Fans (Over 50s)
• Name: Tom Smith
• Gender: Male
• Age: 52
• Social Background: Most likely working or middle class
− Has high levels of disposable income.
− He's now likely to be spending more than £90 a month on music, films and books, so he is able to
easily afford the price of a magazine.
Interests: Listening to music (via radio), going to gigs and other live events, motorcycles, buying/collecting old records
from their teenage years. Likes to relive the good old days – annually goes to ‘Rocker’ reunions in his local area or
will be willing to travel around the country to meet ex-members like him.
When he was a teen back in the 60s, he was a music loving rocker who (as his parent thought) was under the ‘unruly’
influence of rock n‘ roll. He was a member of the famous British gang known as the ‘Rockers’ who associated themselves
with the genre due the energetic and passionate tone of the music by the likes of Gene Vincent and Chuck Berry who
were seen as more radical than most of the conservative artists in the industry. They gave him a sense of community, a
language, a style and a whole new way of looking at the world.
Even though he’s over 50 (with possibly a partner and family), he’s still as passionate about music but his interests have
broadened to enjoy other forms of entertainment and new technology to enjoy these on in this new generation. He plays
classic tunes in his car and Radio Four at home, and reads online articles from music critics who revisit the genre from
time to time. However he has a limited amount of time to devote to entertainment and therefore demands that it delivers
something substantial. He is still after the sense of community he used to get from music magazines back in his day
when it covered the genre more in-depth and feels that there was is longer anything in the market for him. His
tastes and interests have not stood still and he likes to discover new musicians who are trying to rejuvenate the genre
with a more contemporary feel. Feels happy that members of the current generation that share his love for the genre.
4. Secondary demographic:
Young rockers (18-24)
• Name: Alfie Lee
• Age: 20
• Social Background: Middle Class
• Occupation: Part-time cashier/ Full-time Student (Studying Music History)
– Needs income to pay for his expensive hobby. Requires a lot of money to go to concerts
and buy vinyl records and CDs of 50s and 60s artists.
• Interests: Listening to music, playing instruments(e.g. drums and electric guitar) going to gigs
and other live events, surfing the internet, shopping at ‘vintage’/thrift stores
• Not a fan of modern music genres such as pop and finds the older genres of music (e.g. rock) to
suit his lifestyle and have lyrics that relate to him more.
– Most likely to a part of the “Hipster” culture that is more becoming more popular. (‘Hipster’
is a slang term that first appeared in the 1940s, and was revived in the
1990s and 2000s used to describe young, urban middle class adults with interests in non-
mainstream culture.) Rock n’ roll is a significantly less recognised genre of music by
young people and so he may like that it has a less of a following.
• Is likely to find clothes and their self-image quite important as it helps them to
separate themselves from mainstream society.
• Their love for rock n’ roll may stem from the ‘rebellious’ vibe and reputation the genre has and
may want to replicate the anti-authoritarianism attitudes of teenagers in his parents or even
– Loves the idea of youth subcultures such as the Mods and Rockers – likes their sense of
style and close-knit bonds both gangs have and is intrigued by their past lifestyles.
5. Other forms of Rock n’ Roll
– This sub-genre emerged in the mid-1950s primarily
by white singers such as Elvis Presley and Jerry
Lee Lewis, who drew inspiration from mainly the
country roots of the music.
– A sub-genre that was developed in African-
American communities in the 1940-60s. It became a
part of the mainstream in the 1950s. Doo-wop
features vocal group harmony, simple beats, little or
no instrumentation, and simple music and lyrics.
– A genre of popular music that originated in its
modern form in the Western world during the 1950s
and 1960s, developed from rock and roll.
• Surf music
– A subgenre that is mainly associated with surf
culture and was especially popular in the early 60s.
Pioneered by the Beach Boys (who were inspired by
Chuck Berry), Dick Dale and the Del-Tones and
• Garage rock
– A style of pop music that also has the energetic
tones of rock and roll that started to develop in the
mid-1960s, but mostly in the US and Canada. The
term comes from the perception that many groups
were young amateurs who rehearsed in the family
garage, though many were professional. In the
early 1970s, some critics began to refer to the style
as "punk rock” to distinguish it from the more
commonly known punk rock of the 1970s.
• Blues rock
– A genre combining elements of blues and rock
which formed in the early 1960s. Blues rock started
with rock musicians in the UK and the
US performing American blues songs who
managed to recreate the songs to have a faster
tempo and with a more aggressive sound, which
would later form the modern rock as we know it.
– A genre that developed in the late 1960s from as
artists mixed funk and blues rhythms and the
electronic effects and playing styles of rock
music with jazz's complex time signature
6. Public Perception
• Many early rock n’ roll songs discussed the with issues of
cars, school, dating, and clothing etc. These topics appealed
to the teen demographic, which helped to popularize the
genre among young people.
– The lyrics of rock and roll songs described events and
conflicts that most teen listeners could relate to through
– The genre broke social boundaries and expressed
emotions that people felt but had not talked about,
which gave teenagers more creative freedom to
discuss topics they wouldn’t have been allowed to talk
about freely, but was now able to express through a
medium that was listened to around the Western world.
• Taboo topics such as sex began to appear in rock n’ roll. This
caused a large backlash with parents and older generations
as the genre was used as a scapegoat to explain the rise in
youth rebellion in the 1950s. Also due to the ‘promiscuous’
and the energetic vibe that some rock n’ roll songs and artists
(e.g. Elvis Priestley) some performances had to censored
which was one of the many factors that had led to the greater
censorship of American television.
• Is remembered by most who were alive (in their
teens) during the 1950s and 1960s as being
the golden age of music.
– The genre is known by modern
teenagers as being old – fashioned and
hardcore to listen to compared to
contemporary genres such as heavy
metal or classic rock.
• Music critics say that this is the first genre to
ever ‘define’ a whole generation as it has
created teen subcultures.
• Rock n’ roll along with it associations (fashion,
hair etc.) are constantly reminisced and revived
by various retailers and modern media.
– Now seen as ‘vintage’ clothing
7. Vintage Rock Magazine
Established in 2011, the magazine covers the era that rock and roll influenced. It is more of a general overview of the
early 50′s to mid-60′s - records, artists, clothes, hairstyles, food and more.
– “The music, artists, lifestyle and culture of the Golden Era” – (Tagline from website)
The magazine provides up to date of current releases, tours and revivals of classic artists. Tries to keep the genre
relevant in the present day and for beyond future generations. and speaks to a contemporary audience.
• Published bi-annually by Anthem Publishing and has a circulation of 24,000
• The magazine also has its own website and links to its social media pages e.g. Facebook and Twitter.
8. UK Rock n’ Roll Magazine
– Established in 2011 and published monthly with roughly 10,000 issues sold. Covers the music scene of
the 1950s while also promotes the new artists by listing their gigs, bands or products in their magazine.
• CD reviews
• Rock and Roll events and holidays
• The magazine also has its own website and links to its social media page
They have a section where readers can suggest their ideas of what new products and services to put into the
magazine and maintain a relationship with their readers through various social media and the ‘Letters to the editor’
section which is included in every issue.
9. Record labels
Motown is based in Detroit, New York City and Los Angeles(known
as the Capitol Music Group), USA. It was founded by Berry Gordy,
Jr. in 1959 as Tamla Records, but became merged with Motown
Record Corporation in 1960. The name is mixture of motor and town.
Motown played an important role in the racial integration of popular
music as an African American-owned record label which achieved
significant success. In the 1960s, Motown were a
successful advocator of what came to be known as the ”Motown
Sound”, a style of soul music with some pop influence. By the mid-
1960s, the company had become a major force in the music industry.
Top artists of the Rock n’ Roll that were signed to the label during
that period included;
• The Supremes
• The Jackson 5
• The Marvelettes
Sun Records was founded in 1952 by Sam Phillips. The company is
based in Memphis, Tennessee. Sun Records had concentrated on
mainly recording African-American musicians, because Phillips
loved rhythm and blues and wanted to bring black music to a white
Top artists of the Rock n’ Roll that were signed to the label during
that period included;
• Elvis Presley
• Roy Orbison
• Jerry Lee Lewis
• Johnny Cash
Sam Phillips - A record producer and owner of Sun
Records. He is credited with scouting some of the
first and most legendary rock and roll artists such as
Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. In 1986, he
became one of the first people inducted into the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame.
Alan Freed – A man widely recognized as being the
one who coined the term “rock and roll”. He originally
used the term to describe the up-tempo black R&B
records he played as early as 1951 on Cleveland
radio station WJW. In addition, in 1952, Freed was
one of the people who put together the Moondog
Coronation Ball, a Cleveland concert that is now
considered the first-ever rock and roll concert.
John Hammond – A talent scout who is famous for
discovering some of the greatest talents in rock n’ roll
during his 50(+) years of service working with
Columbia Records. He discovered rock n’ roll legends
, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen among many
other artists .
Berry Gordy Jr. – The founder of Motown Records.
Gordy was inspired to reach across the racial divide
with music (which also reflected American society at
the time) and create music that could touch all
people, regardless of the colour of their skin.
10. • Radio
– Kat's Karavan - (1960s)
• Was a radio show hosted by DJ Jim Lowe that mainly played rhythm and blues music. Jim was one of the first DJs in Southern America to introduce
early R&B and rock n’ roll recording artists to a mainstream, white audience. The program became enormously popular and was broadcast well into the
– UK Rock Radio
• A secondary media of the UK Rock n’ Roll Magazine. It plays classic rock n’ roll records, while also playing music from new artists who are trying to revive
– TV Shows
• American Bandstand – (1952- 1989)
Was an American music-performance show that was presented by Dick Clark. The show featured teenagers dancing to Top 40 music; at least one popular
musical act. Over the decades the artists ranged from Jerry Lee Lewis to Run DMC.
Since rock n’ roll is considered an old genre of music sue to the era it is connected to (1950-65). It mostly presented in contemporary media through documentaries. They
contain mostly interviews, concert footage, and research into the social and political landscapes that have influenced some of the greatest musicians, bands, and musical
movements in history.
• The History of Rock & Roll - (1969)
– A radio documentary on rock and roll music that lasted 48 hours. The History of Rock & Roll is a definitive history of the Rock and Roll genre,
stretching from the early 1950s to the late 60s. It featured hundreds of interviews and comments from numerous rock artists and people involved with
rock and roll.
• Rock n’ Roll America (BBC) – (2015)
– A 3-part series tracing the history of American rock 'n' roll music from the 1950s onwards which interviews both modern artists and music critics.
Also includes interviews the rock n’ roll artists themselves, reflecting on their success and the impact the genre left for the future generations along
them the producers, technicians and musicians that assisted their success.
– Let the Good Times Roll – (1973)
• A concert film that features numerous stars from the American pop and rock music scene of the 1950s. The film follows a concert in the 1970s, combined
with footage of the singers from the 1950s along with interviews with the singers. Additionally, the film features numerous stars from the 1950s and early
1960s playing as themselves such as Chubby Checker, Danny and the Juniors and Fats Domino.
– Grease (1971)
• A musical about the 1950s US working-class youth subculture known as greasers. The musical is set in 1959 and follows ten working-class teenagers as
they navigate the difficulties of peer pressure, politics, and love. The score attempts to recreate the sounds of early 1950's rock and roll. The show mentions
social issues such as teenage pregnancy and gang violence; its themes include love, friendship, teenage rebellion and sexual exploration.
11. Genre’s relevance in the music industry has indeed declined significantly since the late 1960s. By the mid1960s
onwards, "rock and roll” would later be regarded as "rock“ to be used as an umbrella term for the genre as a
whole as artists like Bob Dylan, Elvis, Guns N’ Roses and The Beatles are put under the same category.
However although rock n‘ roll has indeed past the time of its peak popularity, it is still well remembered by
critics to be one of the most influential genres in music history as it has to the creation of modern genres such as:
• Hip hop
The genre is also trying to be revitalized through concerts and comeback tours by former artists and even
contemporary artists have rock n’ roll elements in their music. Also, there are growing demands by the older
generation who want to hear the music of their childhood or teenage years and the media have celebrated the
genre’ s legacy through magazines such as Vintage Rock and a multitude of documentaries and films based on this
‘golden age’ of music. Furthermore there is also an increasing market for old (vinyl) records which are being bought
by adults and young people .