Police Psychology: Rock and Roll

Posted: August 10, 2017 in Rank and Leadership
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Police Psychology:  Rock and Roll

by Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D.  ABPP


I was at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last Monday in Cleveland Ohio.  I had been there before and never saw it as part of police psychology, or psychology at all.  This time I did.

I never knew that The Beatles had 13 original albums and 237 original songs in 8-9 years, Taylor Swift was signed as a songwriter at age 14, or that so many rock singers had country singer Johnny Cash as a major influence on their music.  I didn’t know a lot of what I saw, but there is one thing that stood out to me —  becoming a rock star wasn’t all about talent.

You see there were some people who were overnight successes.  Some that started their career, like the Beatles, and found something early.  The Beatles started as kids, had one drummer who they were told by a studio was not very good and the studio wanted someone else to play drums for them. Then they found Ringo, but the studio didn’t like him either even though they recorded the tracks.  So, they re-recorded with a professional studio drummer.  When they played the song for a panel of music lovers, the music lovers said they liked Ringo better and the four boys from Liverpool was born.  You see, sometimes success is just chemistry, not all talent.

Still with other bands they produce numerous songs over years and persisted until they came up with a sound that people liked.  That became their signature sound.  So, persistence adds in there in the success equation. 

Too often people try to be overnight sensations and too often people give up the idea of being a rock star.  People approach problems often by using logic to find a right solution and worry and worry about having the perfect solution, but really the perfect solution may take trying a few times and refining it over and over.  The secret to success is to try things until you get lucky or the right chemistry, or the right combination until you are successful. 

The person who created the term Rock and Roll was a Cleveland DJ named Alan Freed.  Alan Freed was turned on to rock by a record store owner who told him the classical music he was playing on the radio didn’t fit what the kids were buying in his record store.  Alan Freed adjusted his radio show to play the Rhythm and Blues that was becoming popular.  He then called the term “Rock and Roll” because it fit the genre better than Rhythm and Blues.  His Dj nickname was “Moondog.”

He decided to throw a dance (the first rock and roll concert), which he decided to call the “Moondog Coronation Ball.”  Tickets were a buck and a half each of which 28 cents was tax.  The day was Friday March 21, 1951.  Unfortunately, thousands of extra illegal tickets were printed and sold making the 10,000 Cleveland Arena filled with twice as many participants showing up for the Coronation Ball.  The 10,000 persons that couldn’t get into the arena, crashed the gates and made the ball into a freefall riot which the police quickly ended.   A total failure in many minds, but someone saw it as an opportunity.  They tried again and again and made the rock concert through persistence and adjustment.

We all get some things we call failures, whether it is fighting MS-13 or getting yelled at by our boss.  If we make proper adjustments, we can turn the failure into success.  Some people’s strategy for breaking through an impasse is to think it through and maybe find best way in thought.  Others try to produce something and adjust it, fixing it in process.  Many times that is more successful than thinking of every alternative and working it through.  The skier that never falls, never improves.  Keep that in mind the next time you set a goal.  Set the end goal and go out and fail if you have to, then adjust.


Site Administrator:  Gary S. Aumiller, Ph.D. ABPP

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