Statue of Elvis Presley in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. The “king of Rock and Roll” became an American cultural icon in the 1950s thanks to hits like “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Hound Dog,” and “Heartbreak Hotel.”


LP record —a vinyl disc containing about twenty-two minutes of music on each side, which was played on a record player at 33 revolutions per minute (rpm). rhythm and blues —a style of music played primarily by black people, that evolved into rock and roll music with some other infuences. segregation —the practice of keeping one group or race separated from another. single —a record that is released by a musician and intended to be played on the radio. Singles generally have an A side, containing the song that’s expected to be a hit, and a B side, containing another song. Singles were also called “45s,” because they were released on smaller seven-inch record disks that were played at 45 rpm. transistor —a device that regulates the flow of electricity and acts as a switch or gate for electronic signals.


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