Ever since it's inception into the American mainstream in the 1950's, rock and roll has been a powerful medium in society. It has shown it's self to be a cultural mirror, reflecting the society of the time and changing with it. One can often listen to the lyrics of a number of songs from a certain era and get a feel of some of the major issues of time. The opposite can also be true, many songs and even genres of music have formed in reaction to the society of the day or even in reaction to other forms of music. No other art form has been so readily accessible accepted or despised. In fact much of rock's popularity and power can be traced to its controversy. Ever since it hit white suburbia in the 1950's and became a hit with it's youths, rock n roll and it's various offshoots throughout the following decades has been labeled "devil music", "subversive", "satanic" and "garbage" among other things. Despite that (in fact sometimes because of that) rock music has helped shaped the society of the past half-century; it has broken down racial, class and cultural barriers because it is a universal language. When rock music came out, black people danced on the same floor as whites, and later on became one of the most prominent and accessible forms of political expression. It has influenced the styles, language and ideals of America especially the younger generation. (2, 7, 8) .
Rock and Roll is a direct descendent of the blues. The blues is a form of music invented by blacks in the southern United States as a reaction to the harsh racial discrimination imposed upon them. It is a musical form based on alienation, depression and suffering. Centuries of bondage under slavery have defined what the blues is about, and when manumission came in 1865, the ex-slaves needed a new form of expression to help cope with the new situation. Although they were no longer slaves, blacks were still at the bottom of the social ladder in the south.