Origin of "Rock 'n Roll"

The origin of the term “rock ‘n roll” is not, as is commonly thought, derived from the music itself, but the dance that was done to the music.

The dance is a 2 phase process:

  1. The “rock phase”, where the partners hold hands and dance, in place, effectively just “rocking” back and forth.
  2. The “roll phase”, where the partners “roll” thru each other in a variety of ways, and end up on opposite sides, holding hands the whole time.

Here is a good example from American Bandstand in 1957.

Rock ‘n roll was a simplified form of “swing dancing”, which young people could do w/o having to train as acrobats as what swing became by the mid-50’s.

While this site is first and foremost about pulsars, there are other occasional subjects where clarification as to the origins is required, such as the origin of the term: “Rock ‘n Roll”.