Sometimes terminology can be both troubling and misleading:

rock 'n' roll or rock-and-roll (rkn-rl) n. Music. 1. A form of popular music arising from and incorporating a variety of musical styles, especially rhythm and blues, country music, and gospel.
I personally have no problem with this description, but I do have a serious problem with the usage of the term "rock n' roll" by both Blacks and Whites. It seems that history has been perverted to the point where in today's world neither Blacks nor Whites seem to feel that African Americans have anything to do with "rock n' roll" !!

Tell that to Chuck Berry, Mick Jagger, James Brown, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Vernon Reid, Ike Turner, Richard Berry, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, Muddy Waters, Booker T. Jones, Otis Reading, Bo Diddly, Buddy Miles, Mandrill, Jimi Hendrix, WAR, George Clinton, Lenny Kravitz, O+(>........

....I feel certain that the folks mentioned above might just tell ya that African Americans invented "rock n' roll" and that somehow the "perversion of history" that has occured must be corrected

Read on to see the viewpoints of others that we hang out with online


  • I remember first seeing Mothers Finest on ABC's In Concert in the 70's. I considered them to be the first "black rock band" when I saw them at the time. I know that there were other bands that had rock influences such as Funkadelic, but seemed to be a rock band that was predominately black. My questions are were they the first black rock band and what is black rock?

  • I'm glad you posted this......THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "BLACK ROCK".

  • In my opinion, this phrase is an "oxymoron", since rock & roll was invented by Black people Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, etc) and stolen away by the likes of "Elvis the Pelvis". This makes a "rock music" by definition Black music.

  • Why do you suppose it is that many Blacks choose.... not to consider this & reclaim the music ?

  • Excellent point !! When looking for the "first" Black-rock groups, you have to go back to the source, the '50s, and the likes of Chuck Berry and Little Richard and even earlier pioneers like Louis Jordan. Would you say the state of "Black rock" is poor, or is it a healthy scene that
    just doesn't get enough attention? One of the best live rock bands I've seen in recent years is Fishbone. Caught them on tour after their last Columbia album came out. ABSOLUTELY one of the most exciting and frenetically energetic shows I've witnessed... real shame they don't get more attention and sales. If Black musicians have abandoned rock, lack of acceptance is prolly why, eh?

  • I would go even further than that....Black mucisians have abandoned not just playing rock, but playing instruments because of the $$$ that seems to be available doin the "hip-hop thang" !!

  • I think the demise of Living Colour was a big setback for so called "Black Rock" I really liked them.

  • 247 Spyz is back on the scene however they played at Irving Plaza last night in NYC. Fishbone is cool also although I have never heard them perform live !!

    Where do you think this scene is going ??

  • I don't know... Spike Lee has talked about the way the film industry has historically looked at films by black directors; executives used to eye the box office receipts, and if a black film bombed, execs would say, "Well, there you go. The black community just won't support this type of black movie." And then for awhile it would be tough for black directors to get a green light for screenplays that didn't fit the executive's idea of a "hit." Maybe this is where record companies are at now with black rock bands--or any black music w/ live musicians. Since the failure of Living Colour to follow up on their debut, maybe live black musicians are not "feasible" in exec's minds.

  • There is certainly an element of truth to what you are saying. Sometimes it is "perceptions" as opposed to "reality" that determines the marketplace. I can recall Vernon Reid saying once in an interview that, "People thought I was strange because as a kid I listened to as much Led Zepplin as I did James Brown". Of course the irony of this is that Led Zepplin STOLE a lot of their music from Willie Dixon, for which they ultimatly had to financially compensate old Willie for as a result of the lawsuit that he had to file in order to get paid !! My point is that right now there is a common "perception" that the only "Black Music" is played with "two turntables and a microphone". As all of the people on this BB know ......"nothing could be further from the truth" !! I wonder what others here on the BB would have to say about this issue ?

  • I got to see 24-7 Spyz in St Louis last month, they were great! I hope they come to CA. Don't forget Bad Brains, they still play sometimes.

  • One thing that really BUGS me about Led Zep: they credit themselves for writing "The Lemon Song." And it's completely stolen from Robert Johnson! I'm not even talking about borrowing a theme--Lord knows that archetypal blues themes show up again and again--but they downright stole his lyrics, gave the song a new title, and called it theirs. I wish I had the Johnson set with me, I'd look up the song I'm talking about. Do you know the title? There's a verse in it in which Johnson sings that a woman's squeezing his "lemon" and he's got juice running down his leg--hence Led Zep's calling it "The Lemon Song."

  • I disagree with the statement the Black musicians abandoned the music genre you call rock. You have fallen into that trap made by the industry that has been used to mislead folks. First of all, we created the music, nurtured it, and it has evloved to present form with artists like Michelle N'DeOcello, Tony Rich, Seal, Lenny Kravitz, Maxwell, and others. Don't forget about Jon Butcher Axis, Bad Brains, Defunkt, Kid Creole, Labelle, Grace Jones, Tina Turner, Osabissa, and Cymande. It did not end with Jimi Hendrix. We have evolved with groups like Fishbone and Living Colour. By the way,Chuck Berry and Little Richard are still performing last time I checked. I wonder how many name we can come up with to refute this notion that musicians have abandoned their roots. Check out the lyrics to "They used to call it Dope" and "Give it Up" by Public Enemy.

  • I do not think the music has died.(Remember, we have Hootie!!) I do know that politricks is a major player here. I had to point this out to some smartass DJ from one of the so called alternative stations here. Remember the Busboys with what they called minimum wage rock N' roll? They eventually did some movie soundtrack work, but other than that and the tour they did with Linda Ronstat, they only had a two album deal I believe. Look how long it took for the Bad Brains to finally get a major label record deal. One of the keys is having the right people in positions at the record companies who are really serious about pushing the artists on all levels. Promotion, promotion, promotion is the key. The music directors at the so-called rock stations promote their racist agenda. In the late seventies they were afraid to play groups like the Clash, Billy Idol, and others. So what does that tell you. It tells you this..."We don't need this fascist groove thing" ( Heaven 17)

  • I didn't mean to imply that ALL Black musicians have abandoned rock/r&b music, though I'd bet that some musicians have been discouraged from those styles because of a lack of industry/audience acceptance. My main point had to do with how difficult it is for those black musicians who do play rock (and other r&b offshoots) to get promotion, and evencontracts, due to the mindset of industry executives--which I think is sad and wrong. Btw, I also didn't imply that Little Richard and Chuck Berry are no longer active performers (though their days of innovation are far behind them). I was just saying that to find the roots of "black rock," you must go back to them and their heyday.

  • I agree, it's these stupid "labels that are put on the music that causes the problem. For example...remember back a few years ago when Public Enemy was nominated for a grammy for "Bring the Noize" ??? Well they were placed in the "rap music" catagory...when CLEARLY that song should have been placed in "heavy metal", since the music they rapped over was provided by Anthrax !! To me this is another example of how the artist becomes "ghettoized" regardless of what the music really is !!

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