Genre rivalries, there are a lot of them. They can be between different subgenres of rock or between different genres. You’re told to pick one side or the other, you can’t like both. Or can you? A silly question, of course you can like more than one thing. Don’t let the elitist fans tell you what you can and cannot like. I can rant all day about elitist fans, but I’ll leave that for another time. In this post we’ll be covering the crossovers between disco and rock with an emphasis on rock musicians trying their hands at disco. Disco played an important role in popular music and inspired the dance genres of the 80s and beyond.
Rock and Roll is a black American invention. The first rock stars were black. Rock and Roll started picking up in popularity in the 50s with musicians such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Chuck Berry, Larry Williams, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, James Brown, Goree Carter (some say he made the first rock song: “Rock Awhile”), Jimmy Preston, The Isley Brothers, Wes Montgomery, and Fats Domino. Every rock musician you can think of from the 60s and 70s and beyond took inspirations from these musicians from this era. Songs by these musicians have been covered by many rock bands. For example, The Beach Boys’ “Surfin USA” borrowed from Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen”. The Beatles have covered Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Rock and Roll Music”. They have even covered both “Shout” and “Twist and Shout” by the Isley Brothers (although “Twist and Shout” was originally recorded by The Top Notes). They covered “Long Tall Sally” by Little Richard (that was a blues song that Little Richard covered). The Beatles also covered Larry Williams’ “Dizzy Miss Lizzy”. The list goes on. Let’s explore the history of black rock musicians from the 60s and 70s!