Program Details

The Roots of Rock & Roll

Matthew Sabatella
Video Catch-up

Course Description

To some people in the mid-1950s, rock & roll music seemed to come out of nowhere. The radio was playing hit records by Doris Day, Perry Como, and Patti Page. Then, all of a sudden, there was Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bill Haley and His Comets, and Elvis Presley. Rock & roll had actually been slowly brewing for decades from a mix of music that included blues, rhythm and blues, country, bluegrass, and more. And each of these musical genres included elements from both black and white cultures. This program explores these musical roots and the birth of rock & roll through lecture and historic images and recordings.

About the Instructor

  • Matthew Sabatella, M.A. brings to life music that is woven into the fabric of the United States. As a singer, instrumentalist, recording artist, performer, speaker, and writer, he illuminates the connection between music and the story and people of the United States. He performs regularly, both as a solo artist and as the leader of the Rambling String Band. The nonprofit he founded, Ballad of America, Inc., preserves and celebrates music from America's diverse cultural history. Sabatella has been singular in his mission to share America's rich musical heritage with others, both for the sheer love of the music and for its value in inspiring people to better understand each other, the past, present, and future. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Miami and a Master of Arts in History from Florida International University.