Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Conjugating “to rock” (part 1)

Here’s a little grammar lesson regarding all the forms of the verb “rock.” You know, “He rocks!” “That song rocks!”–that kind of thing.

The usage of the word “rock” in this way can be traced back a hundred years to the early years of jazz and R&B. A band or a singer that performed so energetically was said to make the house or the club rock on its foundations. Or “rock” could mean “to have sex.” There’s an old blues song by Trixie Smith from the 20s called “My Man Rocks Me with One Steady Roll”–which means exactly what you’re thinking.  By the 1950s, “to rock” meant anything to do with that new form of music called “rock’n’roll.” 

But language is a living thing and “to rock” eventually took on new meanings. That’s next time.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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