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What types of music would you say are most representative of American culture? PART III

Greetings, dear readers! I hope you all had a magnificent Labor Day, but with no further ado, I'd like to dive right back into the topic carried over from a few weeks back as a reply to the question, "What types of music would you say are most representative of American culture?" Me being a massive music geek, I naturally took the opportunity to come at this from a music history angle.

So far, we've started with the baseline of the blues and moved into ragtime and jazz, acknowledging country and gospel along the way.

And now, admittedly somewhat influenced by my own musical passions and tastes, we arrive at my personal favorite: ROCK AND ROLL. "But wait," you say, "You've completely glossed over country music!" Yes. Yes, I have. Sorry, not sorry. This being a local community paper, we all live in Nashville and are therefore all too familiar with that genre. All the love to my Americana friends, but we're moving on.

Now, there is some debate among music historians with regard to the origins of rock and roll, but the general consensus seems to point to it essentially originating in the Southern United States via a mash-up of European and African musical traditions. Despite early elements of rock music reportedly being around as early as the 1920's, everything would eventually congeal more completely in the 1940's, with the term being used in the title of the song "Rock and Roll" by Wild Bill Moore in 1948.

That said, rock music was claimed to be quite segregated at the time and therefore not widely available to the public, leading many rock lovers to consider its more official inception to have come about closer to the early 1950's with the likes of Chuck Berry and Little Richard, or even a little farther down the line in the mid-1950's with Elvis Presley. Whichever one would consider its conclusive dawning, by the mid- to late 1950's, rock music was an indisputably explosive force that completely changed the face of American music and has not only persevered over the years regardless of fluctuating mainstream support but has continued to erupt into a virtually innumerable amount of subgenres running the indescribably wide gamut from the most gentle of soft rock (Carol King, Simon and Garfunkel)

To the synthpop and punk of Gary Numan, Devo, and the Ramones to the more contemporary noise rock and black metal of bands like Daughters and Emperor. And while some might suppose that a few of these are such a departure from the early rock and roll of Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis so as to warrant their own entirely new genre(s), I would dispute such an argument given that, as deeply as one might need to listen to find it, those original rock roots of the mid-20th Century trailblazers are undeniably at the core of each and every one of them.

Today, the genre of rock music rages on stronger than ever and is kept alive and thriving by all of us who remain profoundly moved by it every time we crank it up, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Couple this with it serving as a beautiful amalgam of so many of America's music genres old and new, and you have what I would name as the quintessential category of music most representative of American culture. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you America's truest musical embodiment. God gave it to us, you can't stop it, and it shall never die. Long live rock n' roll.


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