On June 11, 1785, the Invention of Rock Music Occurred
A contemporary visitor to Keswick, a village in the Lake District, found it to be a “filthy town”. It was there that retired sailor Peter Crosthwaite observed that certain rocks along the River Greta had a melodic sound to them when struck.
Crosthwaite discovered that these rocks were a unique combination of hornblende slate and gneiss, and he was eventually able to tune a set of sixteen stones for use as a musical instrument. Peter Crosthwaite’s Museum in Keswick later housed the first rock instrument, which was created with the stones from the River Greta.
1837: INAUGURATION OF THE FIRST ROCK BAND
Joseph Richardson, a mason from Keswick, discovered that some of the stones he worked with produced pleasant tones. He dedicated thirteen years to collecting rocks from the nearby mountain of Skiddaw and carrying them home to craft a “rock harmonicon” by 1837.
This instrument was a two-tiered stone xylophone with sixty-five pieces of rock and five and half octaves, and needed three players in order to be played with wooden mallets. This was the world’s first rock band, aptly called the Richardson Rock Band.
1842: FIRST EVER ROCK SHOW
In the year 1842, the first ever rock show was held in London, England. This event was attended by many music lovers who enjoyed the music that was played. It was a great success and marked the start of the rock music genre.
The Richardson Rock Band made an explosive entrance onto the London music scene with their set of waltzes and quadrilles. Ads in the Times and the Illustrated London News labeled the show as MUSIC FROM ROCKS, and praised their ability to perform “difficult chromatic ascents and descents with truly extraordinary brilliancy and crispness.”
However, fame and wealth soon brought competition, such as William Bowe debuting his sixty-rock instrument in Edinburgh, and the Harrison Rock Band having daily concerts at the Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens.
1845: THE FIRST PASSING OF A ROCK STAR
The emergence of these upstarts drove the Richardson Rock Band to perform even more intensely, describing themselves as the “Original Rock Band” and holding a “Monster Stone Concert”.
They were able to attract a large number of people to Egyptian Hall in London. Unfortunately, their rock lifestyle was too much for the band’s founder Joseph Richardson who passed away in 1845 in his home at 134 Edgware Road. Despite this, the remaining members of the band carried on without him for a few more years until they eventually disbanded.
THE INITIAL BRITISH INVASION OF 1892
William Till helped to revive the popularity of rock music in 1881 when he organized a concert at the Royal Polytechnic in London. John Ruskin, a noted art critic, wrote to the Till Family Rock Band acknowledging their talent and saying, “I have been given a new appreciation of crystalline rock substance, as well as musical enjoyment.”
The Tills gained fame in the U.K. and eventually made their way to the U.S., where they began to perform in kindergartens and Sunday schools. Eventually, the Tills set down roots in New Jersey, thus establishing Bayonne as the go-to place for rock music.
In 1957, the First Group of Musicians to Experiment with a Conceptual Rock Band Style Appeared
John Lennon and Pete Shotton established the QuarryMen in Liverpool, which had no rocks as part of their instrumentation.
1972: FIRST FLICK WITH A ROCK SOUNDTRACK
Making its theatrical debut, What’s Up, Doc? features Barbara Streisand, Ryan O’Neal, and Madeline Kahn. O’Neal plays Dr. Howard Bannister, a musicologist whose suitcase filled with resonating stones is exchanged with a similar one in transit to San Francisco.
A snippet of the dialogue includes: “As it happens, Mr. Simon, Howard talked to Mr. Bernstein about the opportunity to direct a landslide in E flat.”
IN THE YEAR 2000: THE INAUGURAL ROCK CONCERT SERIES
In the Parisian suburb of Villepinte, engineers conceived a clever way of utilizing road noise between vehicle tires and asphalt by creating a corrugated “euphonic road” surface that produced a twenty-eight-note melody when driven over.
Unfortunately, due to complaints from the neighbors, the road had to be resurfaced in 2002. However, when revisited later, it was still possible to detect the melody faintly when the road was driven over.
ROCK MUSIC OF THE POSTMODERN ERA
The Vienna Symphonic Library has released a digital sampler disc which is a recreation of the five-octave range of a rock harmonic. This eliminates the need for composers to search for their own rocks, thus achieving the ultimate goal of rock music without any rocks involved.
It is possible to avoid plagiarism by altering the structure of the writing without compromising its context and the semantic meaning. This can be done by modifying the phrasing of the text and keeping the original idea intact.