James Dean

.       Film actor in the 1950s, star of hit Hollywood film Rebel Without A Cause

.       Known for being rough-edged and rebellious on screen and in real life

.       His popularity in the 1950s proved rising popularity of youth rebellion, which helped speed the rise of rock and roll music

.       Today he remains familiar symbol of 1950s-era rock and roll culture


Leo Fender

.       Musician and inventor; created new design of early electric guitar, 1952

.       His Fender guitars were cheaper to make than earlier guitars andcould be sold for much less

.       Helped make the electric guitar accessible to the average person

.       His guitars remain the preferred instrument of many rock musicians today


Alan Freed

.       White radio disc jockey during the 1950s, known to his audiences as "Moondog"

.       Organized large concerts featuring black rhythm & blues artists

.       Helped introduce black rhythm & blues music to white youth

.       Some say he coined the term "rock and roll"


Jimi Hendrix

.       African-American rock & roll musician

.       Best known for his thrilling stage performances

.       Lit his Fender Stratocaster guitar on fire during Monterey International Pop Festival, 1967

.       Died in a hotel room at the age of 27 of unknown cause, 1970


Janis Joplin

.       Lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company, 1966 to 1967

.       Considered "queen of rock"

.       Known for her rough appearance, raspy voice, and aggressive stage presence

.       Died of a heroin overdose, 1970


Stevie Nicks

.       Singer and songwriter

.       One of rock's most legendary female musicians

.       Joined group Fleetwood Mac as lead singer, 1970

.       Her leadership helped make Fleetwood Mac one of the biggest selling rock groups in history


Les Paul

.       Musician and inventor; improved the original 1932 Rickenbacker electric guitar

.       His new Les Paul guitar had sharper amplified sound than the original

.       Leo Fender improved further on the Les Paul design in 1952


Sam Phillips

.       Record producer in the early days of rock & roll; founded Sun Records, 1952

.       Credited with discovering some of the earliest and biggest rock stars, including Elvis Presley

.       One of first people inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


Elvis Presley

.       One of the most famous superstars in history of rock and roll

.       Rose to fame in the 1950s when he began recording for Sun Records

.       Criticized in the 1950s for his "profane" hip-shaking performances

.       Considered one of the fathers of rock and roll


Little Richard

.       African-American singer and songwriter

.       Recognized as one of the first rock and roll superstars

.       Launched onto the pop charts in mid-1950s with hits like "Long Tall Sally" and "Tutti-Frutti"

.       Left music industry in 1958 to pursue life of religion


Adolph Rickenbacker

.       German-American guitar manufacturer

.       Invented first cast aluminum version of electric lap steel guitar, the "frying pan," 1932

.       His design wasn't perfect and the price for the finished product was very high

.       Though imperfect, his invention changed the sound of rhythm & blues


Grace Slick

.       Singer and songwriter

.       Helped launch the band Jefferson Airplane in the 1960s

.      Her good looks and sultry voice helped make Jefferson Airplane one of the highest paid rock groups in America




1932 Invention of "Frying Pan" Guitar

.       One of the earliest types of electric guitars produced in the U.S.

.       Changed the sound of rhythm & blues forever

.       Called "frying pan" for its long pan-shaped body

.       Improved upon first by Les Paul and then by Leo Fender, 1952


1952 First Rock and Roll Concert

.       Large rhythm & blues concert help in the Cleveland Arena

.       Organized by white Cleveland radio DJ Alan "Moondog" Freed

.       Featured African-American rhythm & blues artists, including the Dominoes

.       Attracted 25,000 young people, mostly black

.       Shut down early when thousands of ticket holders who were denied entrance became rowdy

.       "Moondog" used term "rock and roll" to advertise the concert, thus he is remembered for coining the phrase


1952 Founding of Sun Records

.       Record label launched by Sam Phillips became home for major artists such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash

.       Founding considered by some to mark the beginning of rock & roll


1985 Congressional Hearing on Profanity

.       Nationally televised Senate hearing on profanity in music

.       Parents Music Resource Center set out to prove that violent, pornographic, and satanic lyrical content in music was dangerous to the public

.       PMRC urged Congress to find a way to regulate the content in music

.       Those arguing against warning labels for music included John Denver, Dee Snider, and Frank Zappa

.       PMRC eventually convinced record industry to add warning labels to music deemed "explicit"

.       Media coverage of the hearing may have helped popularize controversial music





Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC)

.       Powerful political watchdog organization made up mainly of politically connected women, including Tipper Gore, wife of Al Gore

.       Published open letter in 1985 that condemned rock for being pornographic and violent

.       Led drive to require "explicit lyrics" labels on all music considered "profane"

.       Drew the ire of rock stars such as John Denver, Dee Snider, and Frank Zappa

.       May have inadvertently helped popularize controversial music


Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)

.       Music industry lobbying and trade organization

.       Gave in to PMRC demands to create warning sticker for music deemed "profane," 1985


Texas Instruments

.       Created the first small, transportable transistor-based radio receiver, 1954

.       The I.D.E.A. company further developed the radio into the Regency TR-1, first mass-produced transistor radio in the U.S.

.       Japanese company Sony improved the Regency TR-1 and made it affordable, 1957

.       Transistor radio revolutionized American music and the way people listened to it






.       Genre of music rooted in African-American folk traditions

.       Characterized by call-and-response patterns

.       Closely linked to rhythm & blues and early rock

.       Influenced jazz, rhythm & blues, rock & roll, hip-hop artists


Parental Advisory Label

.       A warning sticker placed on music products considered vulgar, violent, pornographic, or satanic

.       Result of lobbying in the 1980s by PMRC to regulate music it deemed offensive

.       Also referred to as "the PAL"

.       May have done more to boost sales of "explicit" music than limit them


"Race Music"

.       Record industry term in the 1940s and 1950s for black popular music

.       First popularized by black disc jockeys playing for black audiences in the 1940s

.       White teens in 1950s loved it because it was more raunchy, rowdy, and unrestrained than white pop

.       Epitomized growing cultural changes and youthful rebellion in Cold War era




Memphis, Tennessee

.       Home of Sun Records, first rock and roll label

.       Launched careers of Elvis, Johnny Cash, other major early stars