A BRIEF HISTORY OF ROCK MUSICRock music first grew out of the rock’n’roll movement of the 1940s and 50s. Which itself was inspired by country and African-American rhythm and blues from the 1920s and 30s. Even from its inception, rock music has been constantly evolving, and continuously creating subgenres that can be sourced from all over the world.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ROCK MUSICWhile rock’n roll had been increasing in popularity in the US for several years, it wasn’t until 1955 that Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock reached No 1 in the charts. Paving the way for rock music to become a prominent part of music culture. At that time, there were many popular solo artists including Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. During this period, musicians were moving away from the acoustic guitar and picking up electric guitars instead.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF ROCK MUSICBranched out into a multitude of different genres and sub-genres to create music that is more a way of life than entertainment. However, the still prominent fact that rock is a form of self- expression and non-conformist desire still remains strong even after all this time.
Rock's Origins (1940s-‘60s)Rock's Origins (1940s-‘60s) Rock’s origins can be traced back to the late 1940s, when the popular styles of the day, country music, and blues, morphed into a new sound aided by electric guitars and a steady drum beat. Pioneering rock artists of the ‘50s like Chuck Berry leaned heavily on classic blues structures while demonstrating a flair as natural-born entertainers. As opposed to the safe pop music of the era, rock’s aggressive attack suggested a sexual freedom that proved shocking during that conservative age.
Rock's Origins (1940s-‘60s)Rock's Origins (1940s-‘60s) By the early ‘60s, Berry’s followers, most notably the Rolling Stones, expanded rock’s scope by transitioning from singles artists into musicians capable of producing cohesive albums of songs. Embracing sex and youthful rebellion in their music, the Stones courted controversy but also elevated rock to new cultural heights.
Rock's Evolution (1970s)Rock's Evolution (1970s) As rock music became the dominant form of popular music, new bands built on their predecessors’ strengths while branching out into the new sonic territory. Led Zeppelin gave the Rock a darker, heavier tone, becoming one of the ‘70s’ most popular bands and helping to kick-start a new genre known as hard rock or heavy metal.
Rock's Evolution (1970s)Rock's Evolution (1970s) Around the same time, Pink Floyd added psychedelic elements and complex arrangements, creating concept albums tied together by a single theme and meant to be absorbed in a single sitting. Albums like "Dark Side of the Moon" were credited with spawning the progressive rock movement.
Rock's Evolution (1970s)Rock's Evolution (1970s) In the late ‘70s, as a response to what they perceived as pretentious “hippie” bands such as Pink Floyd, groups like the Sex Pistols and the Clash simplified rock down to its core ingredients: loud guitars, rude attitude and enraged singing. Punk was born.
Rock's Splintering (1980s)Rock's Splintering (1980s) As the ‘80s began, mainstream rock music was losing commercial steam, its sound growing stale. In such a creatively stagnant environment, subgenres started to assert their dominance. Inspired by punk’s outsider status and industrial’s eclectic instrumentation, keyboard-driven English bands like Depeche Mode demonstrated a more introverted songwriting style, creating post-punk, which is also described as a new wave.
Rock's Splintering (1980s)Rock's Splintering (1980s) By the end of the ‘80s, college rock had become such a lucrative alternative to mainstream rock that it received a new moniker: alternative rock. It was also referred to as indie rock because the bands were often signed to small, independently owned labels. Significantly, alternative rock cemented its cultural standing when the music magazine Billboard created a new chart in 1988 specifically for alternative rock, which the publication classified as modern rock.
Rock's Re-Emergence (1990s-Present)Rock's Re-Emergence (1990s-Present) The early 1990 era was an era that saw the expansion of Alternative rock music a lot. Dance and party music were lost by now. People started to like alternative rock more and artists started focussing on alternative rock more. The music in this era was more focussed on the abstract. The early 1990s were also focussed a lot of grunge music which is a subgenre of alternative rock.
Rock's Re-Emergence (1990s-Present)Rock's Re-Emergence (1990s-Present) Grunge music was basically described as “dirty guitar, strong guitar riffs with distortion and feedback.” The well known Alternative Rock and Grunge bands were Nirvana, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Jane’s Addiction. Nirvana’s album “Nevermind” was a huge hit. These bands were most popular among the mainstream rock audiences.
Rock's Re-Emergence (1990s-Present)Rock's Re-Emergence (1990s-Present) Other than Alternative Rock and grunge, metal and heavy metal also dominated the early 1990s. Metallica, Motorhead and Black Sabbath were popular at this point of time. The crazy hair sprayed hair was still in fashion and so were the leather clothes. Metallica and Guns n Roses had popular new albums. Metallica’s album was called “Black Album” and the Guns n Roses album was called “Use your illusion.”
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