I know that there is no way to relate this to the lives of many but in truth music and rock and roll have been in a state of transition for many years. In fact, it was changing even before it started. In the earliest days, no one really knew what to call rock and roll. The name was there. It was the music itself that no one really knew how to classify.
If one looks back at the history of the genre there is plenty of confusion. Rock and roll in the beginning was a mixed bag of everything radio stations didn't want to play. It found a home within it's own world. It was outside the box and revolutionary. However, the similarities between what Chuck Berry and Bill Haley were doing and what the Penguins and Platters were doing were like night and day. Yet they were all considered rock and roll artists. How could that possibly be? Well, at the time there weren't the rigid lines that exist today. Today there are strict interpretations and very few crossovers.
Rock and roll through the years existed even before there was such a classification. How can you describe the music of the Ink Spots and Ray Charles if you don't call it rock and roll? Was Ray Charles different than Fats Domino? Were the Ink Spots different from the Drifters?
I think it always comes back to the same thing. Rock and roll is just rock and roll. Artists do what they do and wait for the industry to classify them. As the trends change, artists feel compelled to change as well. More times than not, this leads to disaster. For example, rockabilly was a staple of early rock and roll. Elvis was a rockabilly artist if you wish to be specific. He never really changed his style. What changed was how the industry moved away from Elvis through the years. Elvis was rock and roll. But rock and roll left him behind and pushed him to the world of pop music. And yet, look at the singles he routinely released up until his passing? They were all rock and roll, rockabilly type songs. His last singles, "T-R-O-U-B-L-E", "Moody Blue", "Burning Love"... These were all rock and roll, rockabilly songs. Elvis' soul never changed. He loved a variety of music and performed songs as varied as "My Way" and "Hound Dog" in concert. Elvis didn't leave rock and roll... Rock and roll left Elvis. While the industry preferred to force feed the public songs about drugs, sex and revolution, Elvis still did old fashioned love songs.
I suspect within this world, music will evolve and the classifications will continue to be amended. The question is, what happened to that which once was. I know, I shouldn't be surprised. I mean, there was only one Jesus Christ and yet now there are over 1000 different Christian sects. How can that be? I guess 2000 years from now rock and roll will be equally splintered since it seems as if in the first 50 it has departed its roots. Too bad none of us will be around to see it. Or perhaps that is a blessing. I doubt the Apostles would be too pleased with the state of their religion nor would the founding fathers of the U.S. appreciate how those in charge have reinterpreted their crystal clear verbiage.