Important Events in the History of Rock 'n' Roll

  • That's Alright Mama

    That's Alright Mama
    Elvis Presley releases his first recording with Sun Records. In his first commercial recording with him, he sings "That's Alright Mama" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky". Elvis Sketch: Bernard Levine. Flickr. October 12, 2011.
  • The Day the Music Died

    The Day the Music Died
    Billie Holiday, Richie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper die when their plane crashes in Iowa. The event became known as "The Day the Music Died", and was memorialized in a song by Don McLean called "American Pie".
  • Cassettes are Born

    Cassettes are Born
    An audio cassette tape was introduced in Europe by Phillips in 1963. While it wasn't mass produced until a year later, the birth marks a significant change in the way music could be delivered and was the first step towards a truly portable medium
  • The British Invasion

    The British Invasion
    The Beatles land in the USA and Appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. They appeared for on the Ed Sullivan Show 3 times while Stateside and their first performance broke television viewing records of that time, attracting more than 73 million viewers. This was also considered the start of the British Invasion for the USA.
  • No Woman No Cry

    No Woman No Cry
    Bob Marley & the Wailers Release their First Hit Single. "No Woman No Cry" was the first hit for Bob Marley & the Wailers and Marley is lauched into his legendary career. While not the founder of reggae, he remains the major icon of that genre and is credited with introducing reggae to the international scene.
  • Disco Comes Alive

    Disco Comes Alive
    Saturday Night Fever premieres and Disco Comes Alive. Starring John Travolta in his awesome white leisure suit, Saturday Night Fever takes the world by storm. Supported by the smash hit soundtrack of the Bee Gees, disco gets invigorated and dance will never be the same.
  • I Want My MTV

    I Want My MTV
    MTV - Music Television - is Born! MTV is launched and The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" is the first video screened. It was an innovative concept at the time, which now is quite taken for granted. However, videos certainly changed the way we absorb music.
  • Feed the World

    Feed the World
    Live Aid Benefit Concert Hosted by Two Countries. Bob Geldorf was inspired by his benefit hit "Do They Know it's Christmas" to do more for the starving people in Ethiopia. He and Midge Ure enlisted hundred of artists and behind-the-scenes folks to stage two simultaneous concerts - one in London and the other in Philadelphia. Sill one of the largest satellite link-ups in television history, it also set a precendence for performing in the name of charity.
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit

    Smells Like Teen Spirit
    Nirvana Releases Nevermind. Kurt Cobain and Nirvana release the platinum album Nevermind with the single "Smells Like Teen Spirit" which launches the grunge era and propels Nirvana into the mainstream. Corbain would soon die and further cement his influence into grunge lore.
  • Digital Music

    Digital Music
    Mp3 Music Format is Publicly Released. After years of development, a digital compressed audio format is released to the public. It doesn't take long for software and other devices to follow allowing for music to be played and then shared via the internet.
  • Napster Gets Sued

    Napster Gets Sued
    Napster's Soar to Popularity Leads to Shut Down. Shawn Fanning created Napster and peer-to-peer file sharing which offered free music online in the form of Mp3 files. Launched in 1999, Napster had millions of users by 2000, which attracted the attention of the artists and copyright holders, who proceded to sue Napster. Napster initially shut down, then found a way to be legal and it exists today as an online music store.
  • 1000 Songs in My Pocket

    1000 Songs in My Pocket
    Apple Unveils the iPod.Though not the first Mp3 portable player on the market, Steve Jobs and Apple found a way to make it seem like it was. The first iPod was a 5 MB player which could hold 1000 songs, quite innovative at the time. Soon after they launched iTunes and quickly captured the hearts and wallets of music lovers of all ages.