Of all the 1982 Joes, I think Rock ‘N Roll is my favourite, since he’s a great character, and probably the overall best designed G.I. Joe figure in the line, at least in my opinion!
Rock ‘N Roll’s biggest strength as a figure, is the fact he’s got a very stereotypical soldier appearance, but also has some individuality, what with the beard. Most of the early G.I. Joe line owes a lot to the various depictions of US Soldiers fighting in Vietnam, and one of the most common images, would be that of a Soldier having ammo belts draped all over his torso. Rock ‘N Roll has that and because of that is strongly associated with that style of appearance, even if Big Ben had far too many figures with that same design!
The first series molds, are simple but done well enough, they could still hold up with most of the 1985 releases. Rock ‘N Roll had the benefit of unique colouring, and his torso was only used on him, and the idea behind it didn’t get repurposed until 1987. So he was a unique appearance, and he had a strong presence early in the line, so he was popular enough to wind up on things like the TTBP box art! In 2019 there’s been a few more uses of Rock ‘N Roll’s torso, but it had literally been 36 since it first appeared, and the uses of it don’t really detract from v1 (Hell one of the figures using it, is a total homage to the prototype 1997 Rock ‘N Roll).
The early Joe figures all had unique accessories, and outside of the laser rifle were all based upon real guns (I’ve seen the real life version of Stalker’s gun, but forgot where/what it was!). Rock ‘N Roll’s listed as having an M-60, which would make sense based on timing and how famous a gun it is, but he’s actually in possession of an MG 42, Hitler’s buzzsaw! It’s kind of neat, since that was a highly effective weapon with some definite drawbacks (Barrels overheat real quick!), and almost goes with the mentality that the Joes are sometimes operating with a “NO RULES IN THE BUSH!” mindset. RNR’s machine gun was also the first example of a bipod in the Joe line. Easily missing, but works well, and adds a lot to the overall look of the weapon.
Rock ‘N Roll had a memorable character because his filecard gave off a bunch of things he was into (lifting weights, playing bass in a rock band, surfing), which were far easier to relate to than other Joes. His filecard (and Order of Battle) show him as a character with a legit personality flaw for the type of work he’s involved in, with his strong sense of loyalty to his teammates. This wasn’t shown too often in the comic (Hot Potato was a good example though), he was also portrayed as a fairly competent soldier, in the mid teens, he was on a bunch of missions, and usually tasked by Hawk with doing a lot of the heavy lifting combat wise.
Because of his role, I tend to use Rock ‘N Roll more than other figures, he looks good in photos, and he makes sense to be on missions, as he alone can make up the bulk of the firepower for a mission. He’s also got a cool look!
Overall, Rock ‘N Roll is one of the top figures from the lines early years, he’s got a design that was never topped, and he was far more than the one note character a lot of Joes wound up being. Now that there’s more variations on the mold (which can be easily customized), Rock ‘N Roll is now a character a little easier to work in with more variation to the look of the character.