¿Why Rock and Roll? ¿Why Puerto Rico?
by Orly

    Rock music is not indigenous to Puerto Rico. The foundations of rock music are in Rock and Roll, which originated with the negro slaves spirituals in the cotton fields of the Southern United States during the late 1940's and early 1950's, and quickly spread to much of the rest of the world. Its immediate origins lay in a mixing together of various popular musical genres of the time, including Rhythm & Blues.

In 1951, Cleveland, Ohio disc jockey Alan Freed began playing Rhythm and Blues music for a multi-racial audience, and is credited with first using the phrase "Rock and Roll" to describe the music. The sound of Rock often revolves around the guitar back beat laid down by a rhythm section of electric bass guitar, drums, and keyboard instruments such as organ, piano, or, since the 1970s, synthesizers. Along with the guitar or keyboards, saxophone and blues-style harmonica are sometimes used as soloing instruments. In its "purest form", Rock has three chords, a strong, insistent back beat, and a catchy melody.

Rock and Roll in Puerto Rico dates back to the early 1960's, with no subgenres. It was never blended with Puerto Rican music but with Delta and Chicago blues to create blues-rock, and with jazz, to create jazz-rock fusion. Later, Rock incorporated influences from soul, funk, and Latin music.

In the 1960's, Puerto Rican lawyer Alfred D. Herger started bringing Rock and Roll acts to Puerto Rico, motivating the local audience to embrace it. This input, as well as Herger's tutelage, ignited some young artists to start a movement that was labeled "La Nueva Ola" (The New Wave). Herger also led several television night shows where he showcased Rock music from the island and the USA. One of the shows was "La Discoteca Pepsi" with Los Sonset, Chucho Avellanet and Lissette Alvarez.

In the 1970s, Rock and Roll developed a number of sub-genres, such as Soft Rock, Glam Rock, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive Rock, and Punk Rock.

Rock sub-genres that emerged in the 1980s included New Wave, Hardcore Punk and Alternative Rock.
In the 1990s, Rock sub-genres included Grunge, Britpop, Indie Rock, and Nu Metal.

My first taste of Rock was in the late 1950s with "Rip It Up" by Elvis Presley who borrowed or "stole" it from Little Richard. The song turned my juvenile world upside down. I said to myself: "I wanna do that". Not too long after that I saw, in El Carmen (a Bayamon movie house), a band called The Unbeatables, who later bred 'The Rascals', later 'The Young Rascals', and even later re-named back to 'The Rascals'.

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