Peter Cross has a great 9 word definition for “Rock and Roll” music.
rock and roll, classic rock, Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Mick Jagger, The Rolling Stones
“Rock and roll is sexual energy expressed in sound”
It all started with “Elvis the Pelvis”. Why do you think all the girls started fainting all over this country when they heard Elvis’ voice for the first time? It was because nobody had ever heard a man sing something like “All Shook Up” and it shook them to the core. Being sexy like that just came naturally for Elvis and the girls picked up on it immediately like some kind of sexual email was being sent directly into their brains! Other rock and roll stars followed in Elvis’ steps very quickly. Jerry Lee Lewis knew what to do and he got himself into a great big ball of fire with his underage lover. Chuck Berry was another natural, and he also created some serious trouble simply because he was black and the white girls went for him big time. I think that may have been the first time that the pathetic and hung up white male population had to deal with the racial sex issue at this level.
Then The Beatles exploded. It was the Elvis phenomenon again except that all The Beatles really did was sing like gods, shake their mop top heads around and look adorable, and thousands of girls got wet panties at the very same time. The effect was enhanced by their memorable simple love songs because those young girls who were coming of age and dreaming about falling in love connected on the emotional level too. At first all they needed to write was “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me” and millions of girls wanted to please them and hold something of theirs. The sexual message in their music was often very subtle but Ringo’s driving beat made them want to get up and shake it all around.
Mick Jagger was another natural, just like Elvis. Right from the beginning, “The Lips” knew how to give and get Satisfaction and he followed that up with a long series of balls to the wall hits with strong sexual messages like “Play with Fire, “Live With Me” and the all time classic musical expression of sex, “Going Home”. Strangely enough, it wasn’t Mick who actually got all the girls into bed, it was Bill Wyman, the Stones’ bass player. In his autobiographical book Bill told all, and his groupies totaled in the thousands. He never made it clear in his book exactly why that happened to him and not the same way to Mick who must have gotten and still be getting whoever he really wants to have. But it did happen and all Bill ever did was stand there completely still and play his bass guitar looking sort of sad and forlorn. There simply has to be a logical explanation for Bill’s success, and I think I know what it is. (Don’t ask, I won’t tell).
Not much needs to be said about that most powerful sexual dynamo, Jim Morrison, who told all the girls to “Come on Baby Light My Fire” and before fainting dead away, they did whatever he wanted them to do. I’m not sure how many net surfers understand what “Back Door Man” is all about but the song itself says “the men don’t know but little girls understand”. Enough said on that one.
And then came Jimi Hendrix. The pun is intended. Jimi had to have been the sexiest black musician of all time and few girls didn’t want to be his “Foxy Lady”. They actually used to line up outside his dressing room backstage and Jimi would come out and choose one or more at a time. He was another one who simply couldn’t help himself, although he did understand exactly what he was doing and why. Later on in his career he stopped his sexy performance on purpose because he was a serious musician who wanted people to appreciate his playing and his songwriting for being as creative as it was. He felt that his sex show was getting in the way of that kind of appreciation so after the Experience broke up, he pretty much stood still playing with his eyes shut because he didn’t even want to see the girls out there anymore.
I believe the best example of sexual energy expressed in sound is Led Zeppelin. Whenever they played live Jimmy Page seemed to stagger around the stage as if he was drunk, but he wasn’t drunk. It was just that the hurricane of sexual force that blew out of his amp was too much for even Jimmy to withstand. Now I’m sure that most people are aware that rhythmically beating drums awaken the sexual forces. Africans were despised and envied by white people because of the sexual way they danced to their own drum music. John Bonham, who was unquestionably the best rock and roll drummer who ever walked the face of this planet, pounded his drums with such power that Led Zep’s sexual energy increased dramatically. Irresistible sexual energy in their music is only one of the many good reasons why I say that Zeppelin is the #1 Rock and Roll Band of All Time.