The Associated Press
Monday, March 10, 2008; 11:00 PM
New York – Rock and roll was pronounced dead tonight immediately after the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame of Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie, better known by her stage name of Madonna, the alleged singer and actress.
One of the few truly American art forms, this once vibrant musical genre was born in the 1950s from a merging of rhythm and blues, gospel, and folk music. Early practitioners included Chuck Berry, The Delta Cats, Les Paul, and Elvis Presley. Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed is credited with coining the name. The musical form is credited with giving voice to American teenagers and providing a soundtrack to 20th century American life.
Rock and roll continued to thrive in the 1960s, as it became a medium of protest against segregation and the Vietnam War. The British Invasion (lead by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones) brought new influences to the mix and broadened the scope and reach of the music.
The genre experienced its first significant challenge in the mid-to-late 1970s with the rise in popularity of disco. Rock and roll survived this era through the rise of the sub-genres of punk rock and heavy metal. However, attacks on the integrity of the music would continue, including the rise of MTV, hair metal, techno, and bubblegum pop.
Rock and roll managed to survive as long as it did through the commitment of a minority of artists to it’s roots and their insistence on writing their own songs, playing their own instruments, singing without modification to their voices, and not substituting asinine behavior for talent. However, performers as diverse as Madonna and Marilyn Manson pressed on as they were determined to liberate the genre from the “tyranny of talent.”
Doctors say that exhaustion from being over-hyphenated and neutered is the cause of death. Investigators are not ruling out conspiracy theories in their search for the culprit(s) who delivered the fatal wound. Executives from MTV, the producers of American Idol, and the board of directors of Clear Channel Communications are all being questioned as of this writing.
Rock and roll is survived by its sister genre of country music, which has experienced it’s own poor health of late.