Hillbilly to Elvis
By blending folk music styles such as bluegrass with rhythm and blues, musicians in 1950s America created what is often considered ‘classic rock’. During that period, country music was often referred to as ‘Hillbilly music’, and combining this with rock and roll gave the genre its name. Elvis Presley was one of the artists who initially popularised the genre, with its strong rhythms and vocal twangs.
Rockabilly women wore full skirt dresses with flat shoes, or shoes with low heels, with their hair in ponytails. Their outfits were a girlish take on the prim post-war fashions; something rockabilly was partly about rebelling against. While adventurous, these outfits were not quite as extreme as the red lipstick and bright accessories worn by the women in the increasingly popular b-movies.
Rockabilly has given us some of the greatest performers of the rock and roll genre. It continues to influence bands such as Kings of Leon, the White Stripes, and Imelda May (pictured above). In the UK in the 50s and 60s, rockabilly fans often formed their own bands to play their versions of their favourite songs. One of these bands was called The Beatles.