In the beginning, rock music was a fusion of electric blues, gospel, and country music. This was the 1950s when rock stars such as Frank Sinatra (seen left), Elvis Presley, and Doris Day ruled the top charts. This was also when the electric guitar was invented. Throughout the 1950s the most popular genre was rock.
In the 1960s, rock became even more popular as it diversified and added other genres such as soul, surf, folk rock, the British Invasion, psychedelic, and hard rock. Famous ’60s rock bands included Motown, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones (seen right). Rock songs at this point began to involve political statements and social consciousness as prevailing themes So now, instead of only writing love songs, rock music could be used to make a change or inspire people through the changing times. At the time, the Cold War and the Vietnam War were at full effect and people needed to let their political opinions out or just to relieve their stress. Music festivals such as Woodstock and the Monterey Pop Festival became available to the increasing number of hippies and psychedelic music lovers.
In the 1970s, rock tones down on the psychedelic front and the hard rock, progressive rock, and heavy metal atmospheres increase. Also, until the ’70s, bands and rock artists had been performing in clubs and theaters (seen left). By then, however, they had moved to sports arenas and travel by private jet to play in arenas and outdoor stadiums. The famous bands of the time included Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Who, and the Rolling Stones. Reggae, disco, and punk rock become popular and there is a clear distinction between the Top 40 and FM Radio.
In the 1980s, MTV (Music Television) is formed and now bands can sell and advertise their music videos on the 24/7 channel to become even more financially successful. Artists of the time included Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Madonna, and Duran Duran. Rap, hip-hop, glam/glitter rock, metal, hardcore, and alternative began to make their way into the music scene.
In the 1990s, the Internet was invented. This made sharing music videos and files legally or illegally much easier. Therefore, this threatened the dominance of major record labels and more and more artists left labels to produce their albums individually. Alternative rock’s subgenres, grunge and pop punk, find success with the mainstream audiences. Heavy metal develops into rapmetal/rapcore, nu metal, and industrial metal. Electronic changes into techno, house, trance, drums & bass, trip hop, and eurodance. Hip hop continued to expand and pop, teen pop, and BritPop become popular. Famous artists of the time included Nirvana, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Blink-182, *NSYNC, Whitney Houston, etc.
Nowadays, a lot of the old rock lovers find that today’s rock music “sucks” and it’s “depressing”. After fifty years of tons of different kinds of great rock music, we have come to an era where the only music on the top charts is pop and the only music played at parties is EDM. Why is that? Is this the next leap towards great music or the musical Dark Ages? Now, the great rock stars of the late twentieth century who are still alive may still produce, but even their music has evolved with the times. Some say they have adapted to the new and young audience to sell more. But since when is art about the viewer and not about the artist?