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A Look At How Rock Music Has Changed Over The Decades
It is hard to believe, but there was once a time when there was no rock music. Most historians trace the beginning rock back to the year 1954, when a new type of music, then called Rock and Roll, appeared and revolutionized musical tastes, at least among young people, and pretty much changed the world.
This new music, of course did not develop in a vacuum, but resulted from the convergence of three musical styles, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz and Folk, as well as a series of technological developments that created a new market for music.
Rhythm and Blues developed from the Blues, and Rock and Roll developed from Rhythm and Blues (R&B). Little Richard, one of the great innovators in 1950's rock music, has often said that "Rhythm and Blues had a baby and somebody named it rock and roll." He, of course is absolutely right, and a number of important R&B artists were part of the beginning of Rock and Roll. Among them were Muddy Waters, Willie Mae Thornton, Joe Turner and Ray Charles.
Classic rock music will always be around from the 1960's and 1970's. It is music that has withstood the tests of time. Although we will always love the way these songs were sung by their original artists such as the harmonics on Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven or The Beatles' Revolution 9, but it is also fun to hear them revamped by our favorite modern artists. Below is a list of some of the popular cover songs made possible by classic rock music.
If you have ever watched the movie Gothika, you might have recognized some classic rock music that had a new feel to it. This 2003 film contained the Limp Bizkit song “Behind Blue Eyes”. However, it was The Who that first performed this song in 1971.
The first Scream movie released in 1996 also held some transformed classic rock music. This popular horror movie had a remake of the 1976 hit song “Don't Fear the Reaper”. This Blue Oyster Cult song was redone with a slower beat to match the eerie movie.
In the midst of anger and political frustration came the rise of Punk during the late 1960's and early 1970's. Along with Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, one of the bands that is considered one of the main innovators of punk rock music was Iggy Pop and The Stooges from Detroit. The Stooges played a unique form of rock music and their live shows consisted of frontman Iggy Pop contorting his body into strange positions, some self mutilation and other acts of the bizarre. The Stooges were considered rock and roll but their influence is what spawned the punk rock music movement in the seventies. In the opinions of many punk rock music fans the first bands to truly be considered punk rock were The New York Dolls, David Bowie (but many consider them glam), Patti Smith, and The Ramones, coming from New York City, some will try and say it was the Sex Pistols from England, but that is not true because Malcolm Mclaren, the founder of the Sex Pistols was the manager for the New York Dolls before he even formed the Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols and other band such as the Clash made the English punk movement widely popular though but in many minds the first true punk rock album was The Ramones self titled album in 1976.
Punk rock music was a music that was anti everything and many of the English punk bands considered themselves anarchists and tried to ensure they were social outcasts. Punk music was very simplistic, usually consisting of a couple chords, fast drum beats, and nihilistic lyrics. Many punk rock music bands and their fans wore raggedy clothes covered with punk rock patches and held together by safety pins. Another signature of the punk rock movement, especially in the British punk movement in the late seventies was the new and unique hair styles and hair colors. Hairstyles such as the Mohawk and the liberty spikes became extremely popular among punk rockers, and they were usually died colors like green, red, and blue. Punk flourished through the late seventies and into the eighties. Many bands started taking punk and branching out from it and many different forms of punk rock are in existence today, and a majority of today’s top music acts are variations of punk rock.
In the 1980's, something interesting happened with the rise of Hair Metal and Glam Metal. There are a lot of fans of hard rock music. Most of these fans like their music loud when pumping out some Guns N Roses or Motley Crue. That is the best way to listen to hard rock music. However, that is also the best way to loose your hearing. Most people don't realize that loud music is just as bad for your hearing as working in a factory or shooting guns without proper ear protection. This is why it is important to be careful when listening to hard rock music. To the uninitiated, any loud music is called heavy metal. In reality there are a multitude of heavy metal styles and subgenres. Heavy metal is a wide umbrella characterizing a style of music that is generally loud and aggressive. There are genres that are very melodic and mainstream, and other genres that are extreme and underground. The backbone of heavy metal is the electric guitar. You can't have metal without at least one guitarist, and many bands have two or more. Certain genres have some quiet and mellow parts, but most metal is loud, intense, fast and aggressive. The vocal styles in heavy metal range from melodic singing to aggressive singing to growls or even screaming in the case of its influence on Hardcore Punk acts.
During the 1990's, Alternative music was well on its rise to the mainstream. Alternative rock music is really a name given to rock music that didn't fit any other genre. However, the technical meaning is usually any rock music that descended from punk rock, classic rock and underground music of the time. A lot of rock music has been classified as alternative rock music even though some of these did not exactly fit the meaning.
Alternative rock music became popular in the 1990's but the history of alternative rock music goes back farther than that. Before Nirvana brought alternative rock music to the mainstream audience, the music genre had been gaining popularity with the college crowds and music underground. The popularity of alternative rock music came about after the grunge period. Grunge was a type of alternative rock music that denounced commercialism. This movement started in Seattle, Washington and soon took the world by storm. This was ironic since it was this type of music that helped to create the commercial success for alternative rock music. Bands such as Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. During the height of success for alternative rock music, many record companies handed out the name to bands that fit the requirements loosely at best. This was done in hopes that the label of alternative would help sales. However, looking back one can see that some of this music was more pop than alternative. Nu-Metal and Alternative Metal acts such as Tool and the Deftones continue to be influenced by 90's alternative music.
In the mid 90s, pop-punk music began to find itself becoming more and more popular. Green Day released their first album on a major record label, and other bands such as The Offspring and MxPx did the same. With many of these songs being played over and over on radio stations and MTV, there was an interest in punk music again from major record labels. Punk bands were offered lucrative contracts, and they often would tour with pop-punk bands. Worth noting, ska-punk began to rise in the early to mid 90s.
During the mid 2000s, the lines that defined pop-punk genre began to become more and more obscured due to the rise of many new bands with a unique blend of sound. Bands such as The Used, Taking Back Sunday, and My Chemical Romance began to take the scene by storm, showing many pop-punk characteristics but spouting a darker and more depressing tone. Because of the previous obscurity of what defined it, the pop-punk genre began to fall in prominence during the late 2000's much in the same way grunge did in the 90's. For the first time in music alternative rock was beginning to fall out of favor, although bands like The Wonder Years continue to uphold the genre's mantle.
With the growing popularity of Indie music in the 2010's there has been a lot of discussion on how one is supposed to define 'Indie' music. When the topic comes up, a common response is that Indie music is not an actual genre but just a catchall phrase for any independent artists of any style of music. "Independent would obviously be implying anything that hasn't been done with the help of a major label". But the fact is, Indie music is an actual genre of music that encompasses a broad range of styles that all derived from the Folk, Punk and Post-Punk scenes. For this, the style has often been criticized for its lighter sound compared to previous movements. The genre has given rise to an interesting floor of artists such as fun. and Foster The People, while newer acts such as Imagine Dragons, Arctic Monkeys and Portugal The Man continue to hold down the fort. We still have a good bit of the 2010's left to go, and it'll be interesting to see what direction a genre that has redefined itself since the 1950's will go next.