Origins of the style
Main article: Origins of rock and roll
The immediate origins of rock and roll lie in the late 1940s and early 1950s through a mixing together of various popular musical genres of the time. These included blues, country music, R&B, folk music, and gospel music.
However, elements of rock and roll can be heard in many "hillbilly" and "race" music records of the 1920s and 1930s. Often music was usually relegated to "race music" outlets (music industry code for rhythm and blues stations) and was rarely heard by mainstream white audiences. A few black rhythm and blues musicians, notably Louis Jordan, the Mills Brothers, and The Ink Spots, achieved crossover success; in some cases (such as Jordan's "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie") this success was achieved with songs written by white songwriters. The Western swing genre in the 1930s, generally played by white musicians, also shared similarities with rock and roll, and in turn directly influenced rockabilly and rock and roll, as can be heard, for example, on Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock" (1957).
Going back even further, rock and roll can trace one lineage to the old Five Points, Manhattan district of mid-19th century New York City, the scene of the first fusion of heavily rhythmic African shuffles and sand dances with melody-driven European genres, particularly the Irish jig.
In the 1956 film Rock, Rock, Rock, Alan Freed, as himself, tells the audience that "Rock and roll is a river of music that has absorbed many streams: rhythm and blues, jazz, rag time, cowboy songs, country songs, folk songs. All have contributed to the big beat."
The following is a table underlining some (but not all) of the main influences on Rock and roll. What should be noted is that prior to rock and roll, music was categorized based on race, nationality, location, style, instrumentation, vocal techniques, and even religion. However, with the immense popularity and commercial success of Elvis Presley in 1956, Rock and roll...