Black Rock & Roll

Sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it?

Well, in commemoration of the launch of Black Music Month, humbly, allow me to demystify this for you.

In launching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame back in 1986, six of the 10 charter performing members were Black: Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, and Richard Penniman, better known as Little Richard. The following year, 10 of the next 15 performing inductees were also Black: The Coasters, Bo Diddley, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, B. B. King, Clyde McPhatter, Smokey Robinson, Big Joe Turner, Muddy Waters, and Jackie Wilson. So statistically, almost two-thirds of the individuals who pundits deemed were at the foundation of what is referred to as Rock and Roll emanated from folks who are not traditionally associated with the genre.

Now mind you, I’m a fan of all kinds of music and artists. I admire and am a fan of Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, James Taylor, The Police, Journey, Sting, and the like; White artists who are more often associated with the term ‘Rock and Roll.’ But let’s not be confused. It is commonly known that the origins of this music were the ‘sanitized’ reinterpretations of Rhythm and Blues, music made primarily by Black artists. None other than charter member Ray Charles said it this way.

So, should you choose to visit the website for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and see names like Jay Z, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy, kindly go back to the roots.

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