Rock n Roll

  • Rock n Roll
  • Original Rock n Rollers
  • Brill Building and Singer Songwriters
  • Motown
  • Contemporary Stage and Score


American popular music has always been a combination of sounds rooted in regional cultures all of which influenced each other with equal respect.

Culturally, R&B (rhythm & blues) became the early term associated with popular music produced and bought by African-Americans. Musically, it comes from Southern gospel's rhythmic singing and heavy beat. As music evolved from the rural gospels to the urban blues, rhythms became faster and new harmonies provided a more embellished melodic and chord patterns. Early R&B musicians such as Ray Charles and Sam Cooke--still heavily rooted in gospel-style expression--paved the way for the soul music of the 1960s. Soul music experienced its zenith from 1961 to 1965, particularly through the works of James Brown and Otis Redding. The sound--a fusion of gospel, blues and rock--expressed the optimistic emotion and pride of racial progress during the civil rights movement.

Motown began in Detroit in the 1950s with Berry Gordy. His early music put simple lyrics over the chord progressions introduced by T-Bone Walker, an array of woodwinds and percussion, and a gospel chorus. The historical "Motown" sound that swept across America did not fully develop until the late 1960s when the songwriting team of Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland and Brian Holland moved to "Hitsville, U.S.A," located at 2648 W. Grand Blvd. in Detroit. There the three wrote simple lyrics over a constant repetition of the songs' hook line (i.e. "You Can't Hurry Love...") designed to propel a driving beat. The Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder further developed this musical structure by adding soulful voicing.

Country music has had the most stylistic variations of any genre in American music, but regardless of the direction each song has taken, there is always a hint of the traditional story-line lyrics over a simple harmony of a banjo and fiddle.

Rock and pop music, which began in the 1970s and continues to the present, is so diverse that the one title must encompass every variation of rock & roll. The sounds introduced in the songs of the late 1970s were the polar opposite of the introspective substance of the singer-songwriter and soul music of the decade before. Underground New York styles like funk, disco and punk emerged with the Ramones, the Bee Gees, Blondie and the Talking Heads. In England, bands like the Police and Elvis Costello adapted the three styles with a reggae beat. The contrasting sounds and styles that came out of the extravagance of the mid-80s continue to be popular genres today. Music ranging from heavy metal, world music, rap, bubble gum pop, electronic dance, techno, and hip-hop all fall under the collective title of American popular song.

Featured Inductee

Ashford, Nickolas
Aznavour, Charles
Bailey, Philip
Bell, Thom
Bettis, John
Bon Jovi, Jon
Bowie, David
Braddock, Bobby
Brigati, Eddie
Brown, James
Browne, Jackson
Burgie, Irving
Cavaliere, Felix
Child, Desmond
Collins, Phil
Cook, Roger
Cooke, Sam
Cosby, Henry
Costello, Elvis
Creed, Linda
Cropper, Steve
Davies, Ray
Davis, Mac
Deacon, John
DeShannon , Jackie
Dixon, Willie
Dozier, Lamont
Dunn, Larry
Edwards, Bernard
Fogerty, John
Foster , David
Frey, Glenn
Gamble, Kenneth
Garcia, Jerry
Gaye, Marvin
Gibb, Barry
Gibb, Maurice
Gibb, Robin
Gimbel, Norman
Gouldman, Graham
Gramm, Lou
Green, Al
Greenaway, Roger
Haggard, Merle
Hall, Daryl
Hammond, Albert
Hayes, Isaac
Henley, Don
Holland, Brian
Holland, Edward
Howard, Harlan
Huff, Leon
Hunter, Robert
Jackson, Michael
Jagger, Mick
James, Mark
Jennings, Will
Jobim, Antonio Carlos
Jones, Mick
Keith, Toby
Kelly , Tom
Knight, Holly
Lauper, Cyndi
Lynn, Loretta
Mandel, Johnny
Manilow, Barry
Marley, Bob
Masser, Michael
May, Brian
Mayfield, Curtis
McCartney, Sir Paul
McKay, Al
McLean, Don
Mercury, Freddie
Morrison, Van
Moy, Sylvia
Nelson, Willie
Newman, Randy
Oates, John
Orbison, Roy
Parton, Dolly
Perry, Joe
Perry, Linda
Petty, Tom
Porter, David
Randazzo, Teddy
Redding, Otis
Richards, Keith
Richie, Lionel
Robinson, Smokey
Rodgers, Nile
Russell, Leon
Sager, Carole Bayer
Sambora, Richie
Schlitz, Don
Sebastian, John
Seger, Bob
Simpson, Valerie
Souther, JD
Springsteen, Bruce
Steinberg, Billy
Steinman, Jim
Strong, Barrett
Taupin, Bernie
Taylor, Roger
Taylor, Chip
Toussaint, Allen
Tyler, Steven
Warren, Diane
Weatherly, Jim
Webb, Jimmy
Weinstein, Bobby
White, Verdine
White, Maurice
Whitfield, Norman
Williams, Paul
Wilson, Brian
Withers, Bill
Wonder, Stevie