Before this time guitars had been used to accompany the music; now they could provide a dominant sound. Another innovation was the creation of the “long play” record format; more songs could be included on the new LP records . A third development was the invention of the transistor in 1947, which made it possible to make small handheld radios in the early 1950s. For the first time, music could be portable, and put into the hands of young people. Black Music for White Audiences Due to the racial attitudes of the time, parents tended to frown on their teenagers bringing home records by black musicians. But the music was very popular among young people. Record companies began looking for white singers who could perform the songs. White musicians took ideas freely from black musicians, and they often played together. Early rock and roll stars like Fats Domino believed that the musical form was just a new way to market the music black artists like him had been playing for a long time. “Rock & roll is nothing but rhythm & blues and we’ve been playing it for years down in New Orleans,” he once said. The early rock and roll stars acknowledged the influence of black musicians. Unfortunately, black musicians often did not benefit as much financially as the white musicians did. Sometimes, music companies would purchased the rights to play a song from the original writer for a flat fee. If the record sold a lot of copies, the profit would all go to the music company, not the original writer. Publishing royalties were not common at the time. Still, if a famous white singer’s re-recording of a black performer’s song sold a million copies, the original recording would sell more copies too. That helped some black musicians, although indirectly. White musicians also made important contributions to rock and roll. Traditional country music—sometimes called


Chapter 1: Origins of Rock and Roll

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