“Rock and roll is here to stay,” Danny & the Juniors sang in 1958, but at the time they couldn’t have been so sure. In fact, for much of rock’s history, there have been pivotal moments that nearly destroyed rock.
Within a year of that song’s release, three of the genre’s rising stars died in a plane crash. Rock’s appointed “king” ended up out of action for two years, while personal issues impacted the careers of Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. All of it bolstered the argument that rock was just a passing fad. Others filled the gap until 1964, however, when the Beatles led the British Invasion.
Whether or not the Beatles saved rock, as some have suggested, is up for debate. But there’s no denying that they almost single-handedly navigated it through an entire decade, showing how the music could grow into something more than “it’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.”
Ultimately, they became accepted by a musical titan like Leonard Bernstein. Even at the height of their fame and peak of creativity, however, a comment by John Lennon so offended a large portion of the U.S. that their music and merchandise was destroyed or burned in some cities.
As the ’60s and ’70s unfolded, rock solidified its place in the culture, and later withstood threats both actual (the Parents Music Resource Center) and perceived (disco, hip-hop) before settling into a permanent place in the culture. Even so, a series of what-if scenarios have unfolded along the way that would have changed the course of music history if things turned out differently.
Here are 10 moments that nearly destroyed rock.
Moments That Nearly Destroyed Rock
A series of what-if scenarios have unfolded that would have changed the course of music history if things turned out differently.
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