History of Rock Music
by Dr. Ruben Gonzalez
It is true that we judge a tree by its fruit, and this principle is more than
valid when it comes to the phenomenon of rock music. However to properly
understand what the effects of rock music are we shall first have a look at its
roots so that we can understand why rock music effects us the way it does.
The history of rock music is steeped in the mysterious. This can only be so
since its origins can be traced way back to the mysteries of the temple rituals
of ancient, pagan Babylon. In fact its origins are purely religious, being an
integral part of orgies and devil worship. This entire system of pagan worship,
including the music, eventually filtered down into Egypt.
Egypt is where modern historians directly trace the origins of rock music. In
fact we know quite a lot about music in Egypt. We know for a fact that it was
used to alter the emotions, it was used to create mass hypnosis and especially
to incite immorality. We also know what type of rhythms and harmonies were used
and we can clearly recognize the elements of rock music. Aristotle writing about
the effects of this music says,
"Emotions of any kind are produced by melody and rhythm...music has the
power to form character. The manner of its arrangement being so important that
the various modes may be distinguished by their effects on character. One for
example, working in the direction of melancholy, another of effeminacy; one
encouraging abandonment, another self control, another enthusiasm, and so on
through the series."
These effects on character we will see in more detail a little later. Plato
himself, however, gives us an insight into these effects.
"When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always
change with them (for) this spiritual license, finding a home, imperceptibly
penetrates into manners and customs; whence, issuing with greater force, it
invades contracts between man and man, and from contracts goes on to laws and
constitutions, in utter recklessness, ending at last, by an overthrow of all
rights, private as well as public."
"From ancient Egypt, it spread to West Africa, including Dahomey and the
Congo. A significant dance tradition derived from the Egyptians is found in the
western Congo." In fact this dance called the "Danse du ventre"
could be mistaken for modern dance in that "the shoulders, buttocks,
stomach and breasts are all separately or simultaneously rotated, wagged or
otherwise set in motion." (ibid.) In fact a similar dance is the Voodoo,
which is also a religion, and its origin is traceable to Dahomey. Music in these
African cultures is intricately involved in devil worship, altering the
conscious state and inciting sexual orgies. This music subsequently found its
way across the Atlantic to America aboard slave ships.
"Enroute to the United States many slaves were taken first to the West
Indies, especially Hispaniola; then after a time many were sold in New Orleans.
They brought with them their religious and musical heritage. Those from Santo
Domingo had retained their ancient Voodoo worship practices and continued them
in New Orleans."
"One of the most exotic sights in old New Orleans was the slave dancing
that took place in the ‘Place Congo’. The slaves’ custom of assembling on
Sundays and church holy days to dance in public squares must have begun before
1786, for in that year a local ordinance was passed forbidding such dancing
until after the close of religious services."
"The exposure of this African music and dance tradition to the public
provided an opportunity for it to influence and be influenced by European
musical tradition. The unique rhythmical emphasis of these dances plus many
other ingredients and entertainment practices combined to form a music called
JAZZ. Authorities agree that work songs from cotton fields, rural and urban
blues, banjo styles from minstrel shows, syncopated brass bands and ragtime, all
played an important part. Even Voodoo had its influence on jazz.".
"The syncopation as a primary ingredient of jazz developed as a rhythmic
accommodation of the Africans. Syncopation was the nearest and best substitute
for the complicated polyrhythms that were an integral part of their musical
heritage." It is this syncopation that causes music to "swing".
Jazz, the precursor of modern rock and roll, as we shall see, has a very
interesting place in history. The name Jazz comes from the now defunct word jass,
which means the sexual act." Jazz to the pagan is a symptom of a glorious
release from the bonds of moral restraint. It came from the slums of music; it
corrupted taste and manners." In fact jazz music was mainly developed for
use in brothels, where each brothel would try to outclass the others by having
the best jazz band. Eventually jazz evolved into what we know today as rock and
roll, however it lost none of its heritage in its long journey from Babylon to
Egypt to America and then to the world; it has simply been repackaged in a different
form wtih the same rhythms and qualities which originated with devil worship,
rebellion, and immorality.
"As its name implies, rock and roll was primarily a dance music—the
emphasis shifting from blues to rhythm—and it was accepted as a focal point
for teenage life, a common bond, an outlet for aggressions, a standard to rally
around.... Further, rock and roll has an insistent, powerful impetus—basic
backbeat and shuffle rhythms of rhythm and blues which demanded a physical
response.. So the harsh, direct syncopation of rock and roll came as a physical
manifestation of its content—a challenge to loosen up, to break the old molds
of convention and propriety, to express real emotions. The musicians themselves
moved and danced as they played, begging the listener to cast off his
inhibitions" "Rock songs convey attitudes and ideas about the form of
the dance itself, dancing as physical means of self-discovery, rebellion,
release." "Its strength (has) always been rooted in the sexual energy
of its rhythms; in that sense, the outraged parents who had seen rock as a
threat to their children’s virtue were right. Rock and roll made you want to
move and shake and get physically excited."
We have seen that the roots of rock come directly from the rites of pagan
worship. Therefore the use and effects of it are the same today as then. Let us
look at some of the effects of rock music.
Scientists tell us that music not only affects our emotions, but it actually
causes a multitude of physical reactions in our bodies, such as changes in
hormonal levels depending on what type of music it is. Not only does it do this,
but certain kinds of music can coerce one to surrender his autonomy and to
follow a crowd. "…it is the rhythm that controls the activities of large
groups...[It] furnishes a nonverbal persuasion not only to act but to act
together." What, though, is it that rock music with its driving rhythms
compels us towards? Mike Quattro a well known producer of rock shows tells us.
"Rock motivates you internally, gives you a sensual feeling. A girl can be
turned on by the music. It releases her inhibitions. The beat of the drum has
always been a factor.. A girl realizes her own sexuality through the
Columnist Phyllis Schlafly tells of a letter she received from professional
musician Jack Staulcup in response to an article she had written deploring the
sex rock trend. She wrote in 1978:
"According to Staulcup, a steady diet of rock and roll junk promotes
degenerate rebelliousness among teenagers that finds its outlet in drugs,
alcohol and illicit sex... Staulcup concludes that rock and roll is the biggest
legalized racket this country has ever seen. If we value civilization, we cannot
afford to ignore any longer the high correlation between the multibillion dollar
hard rock racket and the explosion of drug use and illicit sex among their
teenage victims." In 1978, a California music therapist, investigating the
effects of rock music on teenagers, administered to 240 school children aged 10
-18 an emotional stability test during which rock was played. The results were
then examined by a psychologist who was unaware of the experiment. He concluded
that the test had been given in a mental institution.
We can probably best see the effect of rock by listening to what the experts,
those who write this very music tell us.
The Beatles say (in the late 60’s), "Our music is capable of causing
emotional instability, disorganized behavior, rebellion and even
Spencer Dryden: "Get them while they’re young; bend their minds."
Jan Berry: "The throbbing beat of rock provides a vital sexual release
for adolescent audience."
Andrew Oldham(recording manager for the rolling stones) says , "Pop
music is sex, and you have to hit them in the face with it."
Donnie Brewer of Grand Funk: "We take kids away from their parents and
their environment to where the only reality is the rhythm and the beat."
John Denver, says of rock, "Rock music is a greater influence over the
souls of men than primitive Christianity."
Johnny Bristol : "Sex is where its at in music... and I like it."
Glenn Frey of The Eagles: "I’m in rock music for the sex and
Debbie Harry, lead singer with Blondie: "I’ve always thought that the
main ingredients in rock are sex, really good stage shows and really sassy
music, Sex and sass, I think that’s where it’s at."
John Oates: "Rock ‘n’ roll is 99% sex."
Chris Stein, lead guitarist with Blondie: "Everybody takes it for
granted that rock ‘n’ roll is synonymous with sex."
Frank Zappa, superstar of Mothers of Invention fame: "Rock music is sex.
The big beat matches the body’s rhythms."
We could quote many more rock personalities who will tell us exactly the same
thing; rock music is sex and rebellion. Don’t think for one one minute that we
are only talking about hard or heavy rock. The Beatles style of rock today seems
very mild, but we have their own witness regarding their music. And don’t
think that the lyrics are the main factor in these terrible effects of rock
music, since any one will tell you that in rock music "The words finally
don’t matter after all." Dr William J. Schafer tells us that "Rock
music is communication without words, regardless of what ideology is inserted
into the music." And Professor Frank Garlock says, "The Words only let
you know what the music already says...The music is its own message and it can
completely change the message of the words." To those who would propose the
argument that music in itself is neutral and its the words that make it either
moral or immoral, Dr Max Schoen in his book "The Psychology of Music"
says, "Music is the most powerful stimulus known among the perceptive
senses. The medical, psychiatric and other evidences for the non-neutrality of
music is so overwhelming that it frankly amazes me that anyone should seriously
Scientific evidence about the effects of rock music are just as disturbing.
In one article, ("Music to Kill Plants By") we are told that for two
years during an experiment all pot plants exposed to rock music died within one
month." Evidence floods us regarding the rebellion and immorality that rock
incites in the youth, in fact we only need to look at the changes that have
taken hold of society since the advent of rock to realize the truthfulness of
this. Medical and psychiatric evidence also abounds for the negative of effects
of rock music. In fact the current trends in society were well foreseen and
warned about during the early years of rock and roll.
Another scientific experiment was recently performed to examine the effects
of music on the brain. Two researchers Dr. Schrenckenburg, a neurologist, and Dr.
Bird, a physicist, were involved in the experiment. They took 36 mice and divided
them at birth into 3 categories © the control group, (H) the harmonic group
(those exposed to classical music with synchronized component rhythmic patterns)
and (D) the disharmonic group (those exposed to syncopated music [rock]). For
two months the (H) and (D) groups were exposed, night and day, to their
respective music, maintained at a sound level of 80-85 decibels. The © group
was kept in a relatively quite room at 75 lbs. The environments were in all
other ways identical.
After these two months of exposure, 12 mice, 4 from each group, were
sacrificed and their brains properly prepared and frozen for latter study and
comparison with what would be older mice by the time all had been sacrificed for
The other 24 mice were exposed to three weeks of maze "training".
Then they were given three weeks of rest during which no testing or maze
reinforcement occurred. This was followed by a three-week post latency period
during which the mice were retested to establish the degree of learning and
retention. Throughout this process, behavior changes and discrepancies were
carefully noted. At the completion of the maze training, these 24 mice were
sacrificed and their brains studied, along with the previous 12. The results of
this were that the © and (H) groups were very similar and no significant
differences appeared. The (D) group showed the following changes
- Excess branching of the Neuronal Dendrites
- significant increases in mRNA
- Significant decreases in learning retention or memory
- Aggression, (some of the mice resorted to cannibalism)
This clearly indicates that the rhythms common to rock music cause brain
nerve damage and behavior degradation.
In another interesting study the motor pulses produced by the brain to
different musical stimuli were measured. The range of music included rock,
blues, classical and ethnic samples. It was found that especially when rock
music and jazz were played the motor pulses produced where the same as those
produced normally by the brain during sexual arousal. The qualities of
experience and mental energies displayed overt sexual qualities. Some of the
ethnic music, also displayed these qualities mingled with aggressiveness.
When we see the origins and purpose and rock music we can not but agree with
its scientifically proven effects. The rise in violence, immorality, drug use,
rebellion, disregard for authority, increasing generation gap. The increase in
suicides, murders, teenage pregnancy. All these are proof of the effects of this
music, and yet we convince ourselves that there is nothing wrong with it. Rock
music has been specifically engineered to break up families and to ruin society.
Not only does it destroy everything that is respectable and good but it also
physically destroys those exposed to it, it drives them insane, makes them
emotionally unstable and causes brain damage. The main factors of rock
responsible for this are the very things that make it so appealing: the
syncopation, the polyrhythms and the dissonances, which themselves cause a
rhythmic effect known as ‘beating’. The brains power of association also
hightens the effect of rock music since every time you hear a rhythm, irrelevant
of the present conditions, the mind will immediately dwell on what was
associated with that rhythm the first time it was heard. This is imagery is
generally Satanic, immoral or generally unsuitable for Christians.
How can something so evil so perverse be brought into the church. We think
that we can somehow baptize rock music and make it acceptable. How can music
which we know will strengthen the carnal passions be brought into the church and
be used by it? How is it that we won’t drink coffee because it harms us yet
we listen to music which depraves and destroys in us not only our bodies, but the
desire for everything pure and holy? How is it that we allow paganism a place on
the rostrum, and feast our souls on sex. The music we hear becomes an experience
for which we are accountable. Why do we lust after that which we know is
completely evil, whose fruit we already know, even if it is not immediately
evident? We have seen from science and history, and sociology and neurology, and
psychiatry, the very nature of the phenomenon called rock music. We would do well
to avoid it so that we do not become addicted by it. Or have we have already
been burnt to the point where we no longer feel the pain?
. Aristotle, POLITICS, 1339a, b.
. Plato, REPUBLIC, bk IV, p425
. Earnest A. Budge, OSIRIS, Unviersity Books 1961 p 245.
. Marshall Stearns, Jean Stearns, THE JAZZ DANCE, Longmans ,Grand Co., 1965,
. Stearns p37.
. Eileen Southern, THE MUSIC OF BLACK AMERICANS: A HISTORY, W.W. Norton &
Co. 1971, p135
. Stearns p50,51.
. H. Lloyd Leno, "Music and the Great Controversy." Our Firm
Foundation, May 1987.
. Issa Goldberg, "Tinpan Alley"
William J. Schafer, ROCK MUSIC, Augsburg Publishing House, 1972 p.16,17
. ibid p.25
. Janet Pidell, THE REFERENCE SHELF - ROCK MUSIC IN AMERICA, The W.W. Wilson
company, 1987 pp 46,47
. E. Thayer Gaston, "Music in Therapy." Macmillan Co. 1968 p19
. Ira Peck, ed "The New Sound Yes." Scholastic Book Services, 1966,
The Olean (N.Y.) Times Herald, 1978, p.18
. Billboard, 11.12.67/
. People, 30.6.75
. Hit Parader, Sept 1979
. Circus, 31.1.76
. People, 21.5.79
. Life 28.6.68
. W, Shafer, "Rock Music"
. F. Garlock, "The Big Beat."
. The Columbus Dispatch Magazine, July 26, 1970, pp 24-27.
. G. M. Schreckenberg, H.H. Bird, Bulletin, New Jersey Academy of Science,
Vol.32 No.2 1987 pp 77-86
. M. Clynes, J. Walker, " Neurobiologic Functions of Rhythm, Time, and
Pulse in Music." Published in Music, Mind and Brain The Neuropsychology of
Music, Plenum Press, pp171-215.
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