the history of rock 'n' roll

Meanwhile in Mexico

Rock n’ Roll, the musical style and movement that birthed modern music. Born in the USA in the early 1950s with roots in African Music, Blues and Gospel, and destined to forever change the way we listen to music. Rock n Roll arrived like a storm changing everything on its path, the music of youth and rebellion, with icons like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly amongst others. It inspired an entire generation to create their own music and to evolve the genre into endless possibilities forever changing the way we create and listen to music… But what about other countries? Ever wondered how has Rock n’ Roll affected different places on earth?

Since its beginnings, Rock n Roll has never been popular with authority, and in Mexico it was no different. Rock n Roll has always been an expression of freedom and rebellion which to the government was nothing more than an all-out assault on tradition and morality, a violation of the ideological foundations of a country that has always been highly catholic with little to no separation between church and state. Rock n Roll was an explosion of youth expression a very strong contrast with the generations that came before that moment, and with it came new fashion, miniskirts and tight jeans, colorful shirts and long hair…it was definitely not something the government of Mexico was prepared to allow and it soon begun to link this new movement to immorality, depravity and even satanism.

Rock n Roll became public enemy number one and since the government owned and controlled all media, the president at the time Miguel Aleman Valdez and the Regent Uruchurtu launched a nationwide campaign to eradicate this new movement of Rock n Roll that was a danger to society. Places called “Cafe Cantante” which were dedicated to playing Rock and Roll became illegal and closed down. Most shops and restaurants adopted policies that would not allow long hair or immoral clothes in their premises…imagine the town of Footloose but as an entire country.

For the next decade, Mexico was under authoritarian rule. Young people were expected to submit and obey without question, any expression of rebellion as small as it was could be seen as a threat to the state and would be silenced, this included freedom of speech and any dispute against the ruling powers. The government begun to forbid gatherings of young people justifying this act as a threat to national security.

In 1971 during the boom of psychedelic rock in USA and England, Mexico was still behind, with two decades of prohibition of Rock n Roll the youth was restless. Two young impresarios decided to organize a car race in the town of Avandaro and figured it would be a nice moment to promote some healthy concert featuring Rock n Roll. Well the word spread like fire through Mexico about this event. A nation thirsty for Rock n Roll couldn’t care less about car races but they traveled long and wide to attend this Rock festival that would later be known as Mexican Woodstock. An estimate of 500,000 people showed up to the festival…the music starts and people loose it. Decades of oppression go up in smoke in a couple songs, people dance and have the times of their lives…some sets into the concert and people start chanting “tenemos el poder” (we’ve got the power) The government was not cool with that.

When the festival ended, the government took to the media again to satanize the festival, all headlines read SEX, DRUGS, RIOTS, FRENZY, WILDNESS! And from that moment the Rock prohibition comes back stronger than the first time around. Radio and Television were forbidden to broadcast the music, it became illegal to listen to Rock n Roll or dress like a Rocker, police were allowed to detain, arrest and eventually brutalize any “rockers” they found on the streets, being a rocker was outlawed and you could go to jail…or worse. It was a complete blackout for Rock n Roll in the entire country.

But like anytime anything becomes illegal…it will find a way to thrive, and in Mexico that came in the way of “Hoyos Fonqui” (Funky Holes) Illegal places where people would gather to play and listen to Rock. These places were often somebody’s garage or an abandoned house, some construction site, a warehouse or literally any damn place where you could hide from authority to get your music on. Unlawful places where anyone could go and some even profited from this by selling beer in plastic bags or any substance you could think of. Oftentimes even bent cops would assist these concerts selling whatever they had confiscated earlier or charging for the concert as if they owned the place. Every once and then the real police would raid these places arresting hundreds of people at once.

It took 15 years for Rock n Roll to become accepted into Mexican society. In 1986 a publicity campaign called “Rock en tu Idioma” (Rock in your language) begun to promote Rock and Roll in Mexico for the first time. A great number of Mexican rock bands begun to surge…only thirty years after the rest of the world had lived through this movement.

To date there is a delay in modern musical styles in Mexico as several stages and sub-genres of Rock never had the time to thrive in the country where the music was prohibited for so long.

Schlimazelbabe

David Bowie was arrested in upstate New York on March 21, 1976 on a felony pot possession charge. Bowie, 29 at the time, was nabbed along with Iggy Pop and two other co-defendants at a Rochester hotel following a concert. Bowie was held in the Monroe County jail for a few hours before being released. The above Rochester Police Department mug shot was taken three days after Bowie’s arrest, when the performer appeared at City Court for arraignment.

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Three of The Beatles attended a press screening of Yellow Submarine at the 102-seat Bowater House Cinema in Knightsbridge, London, 8 July 1968.

John Lennon’s absence was compensated by a cardboard version of his cartoon incarnation, which the rest of the group posed alongside for photographers.

billboard.com
Grammy Watch: Will a One Direction Member Finally Earn a Nomination?
Over the course of their five albums and six Top 10 hits together, One Direction received exactly zero Grammy nominations. So can the 1D guys at long last snap their cold streak, now as solo artists?

[…] And now, the hardest 1D member to predict at the Grammys. For Zayn, Niall, Louis and Liam, it’s relatively easy to figure out which genre categories they have the best shot at, but what to make of Harry, who made a well-received rock album that had a lead single admirably cross over to pop radio? Will rock purists recoil at the thought of a former boy band member crashing their categories? And is a pop nomination realistic for a song like “Sign of the Times,” which sounds more like Pink Floyd than Adele?

Sources tell Billboard that Harry is angling to appear in both pop and rock categories by diversifying submissions; Styles could be this year’s Twenty One Pilots, who earned a nomination in pop with “Stressed Out” and rock with “Heathens” last year. “Sign of the Times” could be submitted in the Best Rock Song category, and Styles’ self-titled debut, or another song from it, could be eligible in pop. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Styles is a lock for a Grammy nomination… but based on the reception to and success of Harry Styles, color us surprised if he doesn’t show up in some form or fashion.

Simply put, the Grammys love a good rock ‘n’ roll storyline to rally behind, as recent major nominees like Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes and Jack White have demonstrated. Blame it on the age of Grammy voters, or blame it on the rock history that runs through the Grammy Awards; the fact is, the awards have historically been kind to projects where guitar is front-and-center. And Styles is the perfect type of interloper to rally behind — his debut contains odes to psych-pop, classic rock and the most accessible portions of hair-metal, but because of his pop past, the whole world was paying attention to the synthesis of those influences.

By nominating Styles, the Grammys get to anoint a new figure in rock music who is already immensely popular and heralded by critics. What’s the downside here?

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CultureMUSIC *The Guitarists* - Black Ax Men c. 1930s-2010s

The Pioneers.

  1. Robert Johnson
  2. Muddy Waters
  3. Jimi Hendrix
  4. Eddie Hazel (Parliament-Funkadelic)
  5. Ernie Isley (The Isley Brothers.)
  6. Prince
  7. Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine)

The Man And The Mistakes That ‘Invented Rock 'n’ Roll’

Sam Phillips, founder of the label Sun Records, didn’t care much about making flawless recordings. Instead, the man who discovered Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Charlie Rich, Roy Orbison and a host of others rejected perfection in favor of spontaneity and individuality.

“Sam would say, 'I hate that word, perfection. It should be banned from the English language,’” music writer Peter Guralnick tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. “He didn’t care about the mistakes; he cared about the feel.”

In his new book, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n’ Roll, Guralnick chronicles Phillips’ work at Sun and his lasting impact on the music industry.


Photo: Courtesy of Tom Salva/Little Brown & Co