Christine Keeble and Simon de Lisle
The original Modern Jive DVD

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Rock 'n' Roll

When Bill Haley had his surprise record hit with 'Rock Around The Clock', Hollywood cashed in with an exploitation film of the same name in 1956. When asked in the film, one of the dancers says they are dancing the "Rock and Roll" (when in fact it was nothing but good old Jitterbug that some of the key dancers had originally learned as the Lindy Hop). Professional dance studios, including Arthur Murray, jumped on the bandwagon and started teaching the same dance as 'Rock'n'Roll' in order to cash in on the new interest aroused by the film. The East Coast dance establishment refused, however, to call the dance anything other than the original Jitterbug / Lindy Hop names and eventually the West Coast gave in and abandoned its use. Once again, the Europeans were left with the term "Rock 'n' Roll" after the Americans stopped using it, so that 50's Jitterbug is known interchangeably in Europe as "Jive" or "Rock'n'Roll", whereas in America a compromise definition evolved which described all the Rock music from the 1960's onwards as "Rock 'n' Roll" as in the Stones "It's Only Rock'n' Roll But I Like it!"

'50's Rock'n'Roll soon acquired the "bad boy" image of the troubled teenagers of the post war generation gap, which they could flamboyantly indulge in, as they actually were one of the first groups of teenagers in history to have considerable spending power. The 1955 James Dean movie 'Rebel Without A Cause' popularised this youth rebellion 'attitude' and Marlon Brando added to it, as did the Teddy Boys in the UK, which led to the music industry coming under pressure to drop its increasingly "anti-social" imagery and replace it with polite, smiling role models.

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