Portable Record Players and Rock and Roll

Individual portable record players soon followed. Up until then, the record player was in the living room, in the same piece of furniture that held the TV and radio. If it wasn’t for that portable machine, Rock and Roll might never have happened. A record player in the living room meant kids needed their parents’ permission, or at least tolerance, to listen to what they wanted. Without the portable player, the first generation of Rock kids would have never gotten Little Richard, Bo Diddley, and Jerry Lee Lewis past their parents.

The older generation viewed those 1950s pioneers as an odd combination of novelty and threat. Humorous because of their onstage antics, flamboyant looks, and complete lack of talent (as parents defined it), but scary because there was an uncomfortable element of black culture connecting it all. What effect would that have on kids who already had too much time on their hands for their own good?

Unrequited Infatuations: A Memoir
Stevie Van Zandt