¿Why Rock and Roll? ¿Why Puerto Rico?
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 &
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
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
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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