Originally Posted by demonrail666
They are. They're just played mainly on bass rather than guitar. And if you're saying it's all about the guitar riff, then what about Jerry Lee or Little Richard? There may be formal differences in how those riffs are played but a reliance on them definitely isn't what separates RnR from funk, or reggae, or ska. For all their differences, it's their emphasis on simple repetitive riffs that, if anything, unites them.
reggae, funk, ska, etc are primarily driven by walking bass lines and syncopated drums. riffs come from the blues, where the 16 bar motifs are repeated until the song is over.
piano riffs (little richard, jerry lee lewis), sax riffs, guitar riffs, etc. I think the riff is the basis for rock n roll. remember piano and sax were the first rock n roll lead instruments.
there is a straight line from chuck berry to AC-DC and beyond, of riffage.
none of this is value judgement, just discussing the components of the genres.