ROCK N' ROLL IN THE PRESS

“Trend? St. Louisans Heave of Rock n’ Roll”
Variety Magazine
January 22, 1958

“Rock ‘n’ Roll has come and gone on radio station KWK. As of yesterday (Mon), the shouts of the frantic ones are now as dead on KWK turntables as the dodo bird. The obsequies were put underway last week when Robert T. Convey, president of KWK, Inc. announced a Record Breaking Week, during which all KWK disk jockeys proclaimed the final playing of the various rock ‘n’ roll platters, then broke the records over the air so the listeners could hear the crunch.

‘I decided on this action,’ said Convey, ‘after conferring with our disk jockeys and finding their complete agreement that rock ‘n’ roll has dominated the popular music field long enough.’
The public apparently agreed with Convey and the jockeys as reactions which poured into the station during the week ran about 5 to one in favor of the ban. What started out three years ago as a musical novelty trend with tunes such as ‘Rock around the Clock’ and ‘Hearts of Stone’ has grown to such proportions as to alienate many adult radio listeners.”

“Segregationists would ban all Rock, Roll Hits”
Billboard Magazine
April 7, 1956

“ High School and College Students, tavern and restaurant owners, radio stations, and most of all juke box operators, are up in arms over a declaration by a white Citizens’ Council lead Thursday that ‘rock and roll’ has got to go.

Asa Carter, executive secretary of the North Alabama Council, said at a rally meeting that ‘rock and roll’ music was inspired by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other pro-integration forces. He indicated that the council would punish the names of music operators and location owners who failed to ban the records.

Operators here in Birmingham were of the general opinion that the idea is fantastic. A survey shows none have been approached by the council.

Harry Hurvich, partner of Birmingham Vending, AMI distributor, said, ‘I consider Carter’s proposal an invasion of the freedom of liking what you want to.’ He said he would not go along with the idea, called it ‘ridiculous.’

Teen-agers are unanimous on two points. They like rock and roll and they don’t want it taken off the machines.”

“White Council vs. Rock and Roll”
Time
April 18,1956

“The White Citizens Council of Alabama, formed to fight desegregation, are equally opposed to jazz, which they consider part of the NAACP ‘plot to mongrelize America.’ Asa E. (Ace) Carter, self-appointed leader of the North Alabama Citizens Council, said last week that ‘bebop’, ‘rock and roll’ and all ‘Negro music’ are designed to force ‘Negro culture’ on the South.

‘Individual councils have formed action committees to call on owners of establishments with roll and roll music on their juke boxes,’ he said. ‘We also intend to see the people who sponsor the music and the people who promote Negro bands to play for teenagers.’

‘Rock and roll music,’ he said, ‘is the basic, heavy-beat music of Negroes. It appeals to the base in man, brings out animalism and vulgarity.’”


“Rock and Roll Fever”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
June 13, 1956

“Even before the joint began to jump, there was trouble at the National Guard Armory in Washington, D.C. As 5,000 people, mostly teenagers, poured in for some rock ‘n’ roll, knives flashed and one young man was cut in the arm. Inside the auditorium, 25 special officers waited tensely for Bill Haley and his Comets to swing into ‘big beat’...

Some of the kids danced, some scuffed, fights broke out, a chair flew. William Warfield, 17, a high-school junior, was hit. Suffering from a brain concussion and a severe cut over one eye, he was rushed to the hospital. ‘Before I knew it, everybody was pounding everybody’, he later said.

‘It’s that jungle strain that gets ‘em all worked up,’ said Armory manager Arthur (Dutch) Bergmann.
While parents and police viewed with alarm, one sociologist tried to pin down the cause: ‘Rock and roll fever is caused by the same virus which induces panty raids and goldfish swallowing. When kids run wild, any stimulus will do.’”

“New Jersey Bans Bill Haley”
Time
July 23, 1956

“After a riot in Asbury Park, New Jersey’s Convention Hall that sent 25 vibrating teen-agers to the hospital, Mayor Roland J. Hines slapped a rock-n-roll ban on all city dance halls. Taking the hint, Jersey City canceled Jazzman Paul Whiteman’s ‘Rock and roll under the stars’ show at the 24,000 seat Roosevelt Stadium.

Bandsman Bill (Rock around the Clock) Haley, whose Comets were among the groups shut out by the Jersey City ban put a defense of sorts on records on choruses of a ditty called ‘Teen-Ager’s Mother’. Sample lyrics defend the bands actions: ‘Teen-ager’s mother, are you so right? Did you forget so soon? How much you like to do the Charleston.’


PH 3.42 “Rock and Roll: a Teenage Must”
Billboard Magazine
November 10, 1956

“Rock and roll is no longer a novelty. Its ‘honeymoon’ period with the teen-agers is over and re-appraisal of its present appeal and future potential is taking place on the station management level. Seventy-nine of the 179 managers participating in Billboard’s survey admitted that they have had to continually increase the programming of Rock and Roll due to public opinion. The typical management attitude today is that a judicious amount of rock and roll, timed for peak teen-age hours, is obligatory. While there have been many complaints and alienation within other listening segments of the population because of the excessive exposure of rock and roll, most analysts agree that the current music is here to stay.

The most important programming device is still the national and territorial popularity chart, such as Billboard’s ‘Honor Roll of Hits,’ or ‘Top 100’. Rock and roll- and traditional rhythm and blues- peppers these charts liberally and their appearance on the charts has steadily increased during the past year. When consumers buy rock and roll at the record store and slip coins into juke boxes to hear it in quantity, it is bound to get its due from radio stations.”