The term "rhythm and blues" has undergone a number of shifts in meaning. In the early s, it was frequently applied to blues records. By the s, the term "rhythm and blues" changed again and was used as a blanket term for soul and funk. It combines rhythm and blues with elements of pop , soul , funk , disco , hip hop , and electronic music. Although Jerry Wexler of Billboard magazine is credited with coining the term "rhythm and blues" as a musical term in the United States in ,  the term was used in Billboard as early as According to him, the term embraced all black music except classical music and religious music , unless a gospel song sold enough to break into the charts. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the s through the s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, and saxophone. Arrangements were rehearsed to the point of effortlessness and were sometimes accompanied by background vocalists. Simple repetitive parts mesh, creating momentum and rhythmic interplay producing mellow, lilting, and often hypnotic textures while calling attention to no individual sound. While singers are emotionally engaged with the lyrics, often intensely so, they remain cool, relaxed, and in control.
The music of the United States reflects the country's pluri-ethnic population through a diverse array of styles. It is a mixture of music influenced by music of the United Kingdom , West African , Irish , Latin American , and mainland European cultures among others. American music is heard around the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, some forms of American popular music have gained a near-global audience. Native Americans were the earliest inhabitants of the land that is today known as the United States and played its first music. Beginning in the 17th century, immigrants from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Germany, and France began arriving in large numbers, bringing with them new styles and instruments. African slaves brought their own musical traditions, and each subsequent wave of immigrants contributed to a melting pot.
The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans , at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat" was becoming more popular. In the commercial rhythm and blues music typical of the s through the s, the bands usually consisted of piano, one or two guitars, bass, drums, one or more saxophones, and sometimes background vocalists. The term "rhythm and blues" has undergone a number of shifts in meaning. In the early s, it was frequently applied to blues records.
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