Artists and Founding Fathers

It’s impossible to credit the introduction of Rock and Roll to any one individual, but there are a few that we can identify as strong influences in its evolution. These people are the founding fathers of rock and roll.

We’ve covered some of these pioneer’s achievements in other sections, but this site wouldn’t be complete without a rundown of our rock heroes. Our founding fathers come from across a broad spectrum. Many are musicians, some songwriters, and there are a couple of promoters in there. Musical whimsy brought us a lot of geniuses in the right place at the right time.

The founding fathers in the rock family tree.
The founding fathers in the rock family tree.

Many of our founding fathers aren’t considered rock stars. They came to rock from different directions, each adding a bit of something that made rock special. Some were R&B artists that added a twist or two that appealed to rock’s mostly white teen audiences. Several were country stars that crossed into rock with rockabilly offerings. Still others came from the folk side of music with their lyrical interpretations.

Any list of early rock heroes also has to include the names behind the technology. Where would rock be without the electric guitar, top 40 radio, or multi-track mixers? And how about the people behind the scenes that brought us rock radio and records, especially the geniuses who recognized rock’s new sound.

So here’s my start on a list of the founding fathers of rock and roll. They’re the ones that created and built the rhythms and sounds that are still popular today, almost like a who’s who of the hundreds of stars already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.   Lists like this are never complete. Your suggestions are welcome.

Ben E King
Bob Dylan
Buddy Holly
Chubby Checker
Chuck Berry
Elvis Presley
The Electric Guitar Inventors
The Four Seasons
Little Richard