Rock music

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Rock music
Stylistic origins: Rock and roll, ultimately blues (mostly jump blues and Chicago blues), country music and R&B
Cultural origins: Late 1940s United States
Typical instruments: Guitar - Bass - Drums-
occasionally Keyboards
Mainstream popularity: Much, constant and worldwide since the 1950s

<tr><th align="left" valign="top">Derivative forms:</th><td valign="top">Alternative rock - Heavy metal - Punk rock</td></tr><tr><th align="center" bgcolor="crimson" colspan=2 valign="top"><font color="{{{bgcolor|}">Subgenres</font></th></tr>}">Subgenres</th></tr>}} }}<tr><td align=center colspan="2" valign="top">Art rock - British rock - Christian rock - Desert rock - Detroit rock - Experimental rock - Garage rock - Girl group - Glam rock - Glitter rock - Group Sounds - Hard rock - Heartland rock - Instrumental rock - Jam band - Jangle pop - Krautrock - Post-rock - Power pop - Protopunk - Psychedelia - Pub rock (Aussie) - Pub rock (UK) - Rock en espanol - Soft rock - Southern rock - Surf</td></tr><tr><th align="center" bgcolor="crimson" colspan=2 valign="top"><font color="{{{bgcolor|}">Fusion genres</th></tr>}}<tr><td align=center colspan="2" valign="top">Aboriginal rock - Afro-rock - Anatolian rock - Blues-rock - Boogaloo - Country rock - Cumbia rock - Flamenco-rock - Folk rock - Indo-rock - Jazz rock - Madchester - Merseybeat - Progressive rock - Punta rock - Raga rock - Raï rock - Rockabilly - Rockoson - Samba-rock - Tango-rockéro</td></tr><tr><th align="center" bgcolor="crimson" colspan=2 valign="top"><font color="{{{bgcolor|}">Regional scenes</th></tr>}}<tr><td align=center colspan="2" valign="top">Argentina - Armenia - Australia - Austria - Belarus - Belgium - Bosnia and Herzegovina - Brazil - Cambodia - Canada - Chile - China - Cuba - Czech Republic - Croatia - Denmark - Dominican Republic - Estonia - Finland - France - Greece - Germany - Hungary - Iceland - India - Indonesia - Ireland - Israel - Italy - Japan - Latvia - Lithuania - Malaysia - Mexico - Nepal - Netherlands - New Zealand - Norway - Peru - Philippines - Portugal - Russia - Serbia and Montenegro - Slovenia - South Africa - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland - Tatar - Thailand - Turkey - Ukraine - United Kingdom - United States - Uruguay - Vietnam - Zambia</td></tr><tr><th align="center" bgcolor="crimson" colspan=2 valign="top"><font color="{{{bgcolor|}">Other topics</th></tr>}}<tr><td align=center colspan="2" valign="top">Backbeat - Rock opera - Rock band - Performers - Rock anthem - Hall of Fame - Social impact</td></tr>

Rock is a form of popular music from the mid 20th century which typically features a vocal melody (often with vocal harmony) that is supported by accompaniment of electric guitars, a bass guitar, and drums, often with a strong back beat. Keyboard instruments such as organ, piano, or synthesizers are often used in many types of rock music. While brass and woodwind instruments, such as saxophone were common in some styles in earlier development of rock, they are less common in the newer subgenres of rock music since the 1990s. The genre of rock music is broad, and its boundaries loosely-defined, with related genres such as soul and funk sometimes being included in the definition of the term.

A major formative influence on rock was rock and roll, and rockabilly. In the 1960s, as British rock developed, the term "rock music" became popular. With the "British Invasion" this reinvigorated musical style spread back to the United States, and became an international cultural phenomenon with considerable social impact. Rock has evolved into a multitude of highly-varying styles with widespread popularity.


[edit] Origins

Rock and Roll came from a fusion of musical cultures, and in turn its influence fed back to these cultures, a process of borrowings, influences that continues to develop rock music. Rock 'n' Roll had runaway success in the U.S. and brought rhythm and blues-influenced music to an international audience. Its success led to a dilution of the meaning of the term "rock and roll", as promoters were quick to attach the label to other commercial pop.

Rock 'n' Roll started off in the early-to-mid 1950s in the United States of America. African-American artists such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley and Fats Domino played predominantly to African American crowds. While these key early rockers were indisposed to racism, local authorities and dance halls were very much divided upon racial lines.

Mainstream acceptance of rock and roll came in the mid-1950s when what Bo Diddley describes as 'ofay dudes' (or Caucasians) signed to major labels and started covering their material. Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and the Comets, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, The Big Bopper, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash often toured and played together in dance halls and clubs across the US and Britain.

Towards the end of the 1950s "chessboard" crowds (both black and white patrons) would emerge at Rock and Roll concerts as fans discovered the original artists of the songs they knew from television and the radio, such as Little Richard's Tutti Frutti. The genre ignited British enthusiasm for rhythm and blues and the development of British rock. The 1960 name The Fabulous Silver Beatles was partly a tribute to Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and was later shortened to The Beatles.

[edit] Surf music

Main article: Surf music

The rockabilly sound influenced the West Coast development of a wild, mostly instrumental sound called surf music, though surf culture saw itself as a competing youth culture to Rock and Roll. This style, exemplified by Dick Dale and The Surfaris, featured faster tempos, innovative percussion, and processed electric guitar sounds. In the UK, British groups included The Shadows. Other West Coast bands, notably The Beach Boys, Mr. Shears and the Wavettes, and Jan and Dean, slowed the tempos back down and added harmony vocals to create the "California Sound."

[edit] British rock

Main article: British rock

In the United Kingdom the Trad jazz movement brought visiting blues music artists to Britain. Lonnie Donegan's 1955 hit "Rock Island Line" was a major influence, and helped to develop the trend of skiffle music groups throughout the country, including John Lennon's The Quarry Men, the 1957 precursor to The Beatles. Britain developed a major rock and roll scene, without the race barriers which kept "race records" or Rhythm and Blues separate in the U.S.

Cliff Richard had the first British rock 'n' roll hit with "Move It", effectively ushering in the sound of British rock. At the start of the 1960s, his backing group The Shadows was one of a number of groups having success with Surf music instrumentals. And while Rock 'n' Roll was fading into lightweight pop and schmaltzy ballads, at clubs and local dances British rock groups were starting to play with an intensity and drive seldom found in white American acts, heavily influenced by Blues-rock pioneers like Alexis Korner.

By the end of 1962, the British rock scene had started, with groups drawing on a wide range of American influences including soul music, rhythm and blues and surf music. Initially, they reinterpreted standard American tunes, playing for dancers doing the Twist, for example. These groups eventually infused their original rock compositions with increasingly complex musical ideas.

The Beatles brought together an appealing mix of image, songwriting, and personality. In mid-1962 the Rolling Stones started as one of a number of groups increasingly showing blues influence, along with The Animals and The Yardbirds. In late 1964, The Kinks, followed by The Who, represented the new Mod style. Towards the end of the decade, British rock groups began to explore Psychedelic musical styles that made reference to the drug subculture and hallucinogenic experiences.

After their initial success in the UK, The Beatles launched a large-scale US tour to a frenzy of fan interest known as Beatlemania. The Beatles first visit to the US in 1964 included an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. In the wake of Beatlemania, other British bands headed to the US, notably the Rolling Stones, The Animals, and The Yardbirds.

[edit] 1960s garage rock

Main article: Garage rock

The British Invasion spawned a wave of imitators that played mainly to local audiences and made inexpensive recordings, a movement later called Garage Rock. Some music from this trend is included in the compilation album Nuggets. Some of the better known bands of this genre include The Sonics, ? & the Mysterians, and The Standells.

[edit] Development of a counterculture (1963-1974)

Main article: Counterculture

In the late 1950s the US Beatnik counterculture was associated with the wider anti-war movement building against the threat of the atomic bomb, notably CND in Britain. Both were associated with the jazz scene and with the growing folk song movement.

[edit] Bob Dylan and folk rock

Main articles: Bob Dylan and Folk rock

The folk scene had strong links between Britain and America. In both countries, there were folk music lovers who liked acoustic instruments, traditional songs, and blues music with a social message. This genre was pioneered by Woody Guthrie. Bob Dylan came to the fore in this movement, and his hits with Blowin' in the Wind and Masters of War brought "protest songs" to a wider public.

The Byrds, playing Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, helped to start the trend of Folk rock, and helped to stimulate the development of Psychedelic rock. Dylan continued, with his "Like a Rolling Stone" becoming a US hit single. Neil Young's lyrical inventiveness and wailing electric guitar attack created a variation of folk rock. Other folk rock artists include Simon & Garfunkel, The Mamas & the Papas, Joni Mitchell and The Band.

In Britain, Fairport Convention began applying rock techniques to traditional British folk songs, followed by groups such as Steeleye Span, Lindisfarne, Pentangle, and Trees. The same approach was done in Brittany by Alan Stivell .

[edit] Psychedelic rock

Main article: Psychedelic rock

Psychedelia began in the folk scene, with the Holy Modal Rounders introducing the term in 1964. With a background including folk and jug band music, The Grateful Dead fell in with Ken Kesey's LSD fuelled Merry Pranksters, playing at their Acid Tests then providing an electric Acid rock soundtrack to their Trips Festival of January 1966 , together with Big Brother & the Holding Company.

The Fillmore was a regular venue for groups like another former jug band, Country Joe and the Fish, and Jefferson Airplane. Elsewhere, The Byrds had a hit with Eight Miles High and the 13th Floor Elevators titled their album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. The music increasingly became associated with opposition to the Vietnam War.

In Britain, Pink Floyd had been developing psychedelic rock since 1965 in the underground culture scene. In 1966 the band Soft Machine was formed. Donovan had a folk music-influenced hit with Sunshine Superman, one of the early psychedelic pop records. In August 1966 The Beatles' Revolver album, featuring psychedelia in Tomorrow Never Knows and in Yellow Submarine. The Beach Boys responded in the U.S. with Pet Sounds. From a blues rock background, the British supergroup Cream debuted in December, and Jimi Hendrix became popular in Britain before returning to the US.

January 1967 brought the first album from The Doors. As the year went by many other pioneering groups got records out, with Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne in March only hinting at their live sound. The Beatles' groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in June, and by the end of the year Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Cream's Disraeli Gears.

The culmination of rock and roll as a socially-unifying force was seen in the rock festivals of the late '60s, the most famous of which was Woodstock which began as a three-day arts and music festival and turned into a "happening", as hundreds of thousands of youthful fans converged on the site.

[edit] Progressive rock

Main article: Progressive rock

The music itself broadened past the guitar-bass-drum format; while some bands had used saxophones and keyboards before, now acts like Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues (and others following their lead) experimented with new instruments including wind sections, string sections, and full orchestration. Many bands moved well beyond three-minute tunes into new and diverse forms; increasingly sophisticated chord structures, previously limited to jazz and orchestrated pop music, were heard.

Dabbling heavily in classical, jazz, electronic, and experimental music resulted in what would be called progressive rock (or, in its German wing, krautrock). Progressive rock could be lush and beautiful or atonal and dissonant, highly complex or minimalist, sometimes all within the same song. At times it was hardly recognizable as rock at all. Some notable practitioners include Electric Light Orchestra, Pavlov's Dog, King Crimson, Caravan, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Gentle Giant, The Nice, Yes, Gong, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Soft Machine, Steve Hillage, Barclay James Harvest, Magma, Camel, Can, Rush, Faust and Dream Theater.

[edit] German prog

Main article: Krautrock

In the mid-1960s, American and British rock entered Germany, especially British progressive rock bands. At the time, the musical avant-garde in Germany were playing a kind of electronic classical music, and they adapted the then-revolutionary electronic instruments for a progressive-psychedelic rock sound. By the early 1970s, the scene, now known as krautrock, had begun to peak with the incorporation of jazz (Can) and Asian music (Popol Vuh). This sound, and later pioneers like Neu! and Kraftwerk, influenced the development of techno and other related genres.

[edit] Italian prog

Main article: Italian rock

In Italy progressive rock had a great success in the 1970s and some bands played prog at the same level of the more famous American groups and went on tour in the States. Some Italian progressive rock bands were Premiata Forneria Marconi, Le Orme, Banco del Mutuo Soccorso and Area International Popular Group.

[edit] Birth of heavy metal

Main article: Heavy metal music

A second wave of British bands and artists gained great popularity during this period. These bands were typically more steeped in American blues music than their more pop-oriented predecessors, but their performances took a highly amplified, often spectacular form. Guitar-driven acts such as Cream and Led Zeppelin were early examples of this blues-rock form as well as heavier rock bands including Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. All are cited as having a huge influence on what would come to be known as heavy metal. Several sources for the actual term exist. Noted rock critic Lester Bangs is generally accepted as being the first journalist to use the label in print. The phrase was also used in Steppenwolf's signature tune, "Born To Be Wild." (ref: "heavy metal thunder").

[edit] 1970s rock genres

[edit] Arena rock

Main article: Arena rock

The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Who began the practice of live performances for large audiences in stadiums and arenas. The growing popularity of metal and progressive rock led to more bands selling out large venues. Entertainment companies marketed a series of arena rock bands, such as: Journey, Boston, Styx and Foreigner. The "arena rock" movement became a precursor to the power pop of future decades.

[edit] Soft rock

Rock music had a short-lived "bubble gum pop" era, of soft rock, including groups such as The Partridge Family, The Cowsills, The Osmonds, and The Archies. Other bands or artists added more orchestration and created a popular genre known as soft rock. Performers included Manilow, Olivia Newton-John, and Eric Carmen, and groups such as Bread, The Carpenters, Electric Light Orchestra, and England Dan & John Ford Coley. Other well-known artists performing soft rock included Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand.

[edit] Rock crosses borders

In the early 1970s, Mexican singer Rigo Tovar took the musical elements of rock melody and blues and fused it with cumbia, and tropical music. He was one of the early Mexican artists to use the rock and roll image (e.g. long hair, sunglasses, glam outfits, and tattoos). He also started to use electric guitars, synthesizers and electronic effects that were previously little-used in Mexican music. In his live performances he covered songs by Ray Charles and the Beatles.

[edit] Disco, punk and New Wave (1973-1981)

[edit] Disco

Main article: Disco

While Funk music had been part of the rock and roll scene in the early 1970s, it would eventually give way to more accessible songs with a danceable beat. The Disco format was propelled by such groups as Donna Summer, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, MFSB, The Three Degrees, The O'Jays, Barry White, Gloria Gaynor, CHIC, and The Trammps. Suddenly, many popular hits featured the danceable disco beat, and discotheques -- previously a European phenomenon -- began to open in the U.S., notably Studio 54 in New York, which became the model for dozens of disco clubs nationwide.

The group most associated with the Disco era was The Bee Gees, whose music for the 1977 Paramount film Saturday Night Fever marked the pinnacle of the era. Many mainstream rock acts, including the Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Queen (Another One Bites The Dust) and even the Grateful Dead, incorporated disco beats into their releases in attempts to keep up with the trend; many rock radio stations began to adopt all-disco formats.

But by the end of the 1970s an anti-disco backlash occurred as, in the rush to capitalize on the popular format, the overall quality of disco music began to fall and as rock fans reacted to the perceived loss of traditional rock outlets in favor of disco. The anti-disco movement culminated in the disco demolition riot in Chicago during the summer of 1979.

While much of the cachet of disco as a genre had dissipated by the end of the '70s, danceable sounds persisted; disco, in its own way, would spin off hip hop music (or "rap music") as we know today, when The Sugarhill Gang took portions of Chic's hit "Good Times" and transformed them into "Rapper's Delight", the first hip-hop recording to become a Billboard Top 40 hit single.

[edit] Punk rock

Main article: Punk rock

Punk rock started off as a reaction to the lush, producer-driven sounds of disco, and against the perceived commercialism of progressive rock that had become arena rock. Early punk borrowed heavily from the garage band ethic: played by bands for which expert musicianship was not a requirement, punk was stripped-down, three-chord music that could be played easily. Many of these bands also intended to shock mainstream society, rejecting the "peace and love" image of the prior musical rebellion of the 1960s which had degenerated, punks thought, into mellow disco culture.

Punk developed as more than an aesthetic movement in America, with artists Richard Hell, Television (with whom Hell briefly played), Patti Smith, The Ramones, Talking Heads and others of CBGB's taking the stage and changing music for years. The Ramones were the "safer" brand of punk: equally aggressive but mostly apolitical. Richard Hell was the flip side: he was a poet, his band could play their instruments as well, and usually better, than any corporate band. The Punk movement was born out of an intellectual movement, but The Ramones took a "dumbed down" sound to the mainstream. However, Punk spread to Britain, especially in England, where it became a more violent form of expression with the proto-typical band The Sex Pistols.

The Sex Pistols chose aggressive stage names (including "Johnny Rotten" and "Sid Vicious") and did their best to live up to them, deliberately rejecting anything that symbolized the establishment in Britain when they toured. They were most well represented on their first two singles "Anarchy in the U.K." and "God Save the Queen". Despite an airplay ban on the BBC, the record rose to the top chart position in the UK. The Sex Pistols paved the way for many other political bands like The Clash, whose approach was less nihilistic but more overtly political and idealistic. Artsier bands like Wire gave punk another side.

As the Pistols toured America, they spread their music as the first wave of Punk had been spread in theirs. Punk was mostly an East-coast phenomenon in the US until the late 1970s when Los Angeles-based bands such as X and Black Flag gained greater exposure.

It was also through punk, and to an extent, New Wave, that Australia made its first major impacts on the global popular music scene. After Johnny O'Keefe's last major hit in 1961, Australian popular music was dominated by clean-cut family bands. Bubbling beneath the surface, however, was a group of pioneering bands like the surf band The Atlantics, but it was not until the late 1970s, with acts like The Birthday Party, INXS, SPK, and Midnight Oil offering an energetic experimentalism that the country's role in pop music became manifest.

[edit] New Wave and post-punk

Main article: New Wave music
Main article: Post-punk

Punk rock attracted devotees from the art and collegiate world and soon bands sporting a more literate, arty approach, such as the Talking Heads and Devo, began to infiltrate the punk scene; in some quarters the description New Wave began to be used to differentiate these less overtly punk bands.

If punk rock was a social and musical phenomenon, it garnered little in the way of record sales (small specialty labels such as Stiff Records had released much of the punk music to date) or American radio airplay, as the radio scene continued to be dominated by mainstream formats such as disco and album-oriented rock. Record executives, who had been mostly mystified by the punk movement, recognized the potential of the more accessible New Wave acts and began aggressively signing and marketing any band that could claim a remote connection to punk or New Wave. Many of these bands, such as The Cars and The Go-Go's were essentially pop bands dressed up in New Wave regalia; others, including The Police and The Pretenders managed to parlay the boost of the New Wave movement into long-lived and artistically lauded careers.

Between 1982 and 1985, influenced by Kraftwerk and Gary Numan, New Wave went in the direction of such New Romantics as Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls, Psychedelic Furs, Talk Talk and the Eurythmics, sometimes using the synthesizer entirely in place of other instruments. This period coincided with the rise of MTV and led to a great deal of exposure for this brand of synth-pop. Although many "Greatest of New Wave" collections feature popular songs from this era, New Wave more properly refers to the earlier "skinny tie" rock bands such as The Knack or Blondie.

Alongside New Wave, post-punk developed as an outgrowth of punk rock. Sometimes thought of as interchangeable with New Wave, post-punk was typically more challenging, arty, and abrasive. The movement was effectively started by the debut of Public Image Ltd. in 1978, formed by former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon (nee Rotten), and was soon joined by bands such as Joy Division, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Fall, Gang of Four, and Echo & the Bunnymen. Predominantly a British phenomenon, the genre continued into the 1980s with some commercial exposure domestically and overseas, but the most successful band to emerge from post-punk was Ireland's U2, which by the 1980s had become one of the biggest bands in the world.

[edit] Rock diversifies in the 1980s

In the 1980s, popular rock diversified. This period also saw the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The early part of the decade saw Eddie Van Halen achieve musical innovations in rock guitar, while vocalists David Lee Roth (of Van Halen) and Freddie Mercury (of Queen as he had been doing throughout the 1970s) raised the role of frontman to near performance art standards. Bono of U2 would continue this trend. Concurrently, pop-New Wave bands remained popular, with performers like Billy Idol and The Go-Go's gaining fame. American heartland rock gained a strong following, exemplified by Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, John (Cougar) Mellencamp and others. Led by the American folk singer-songwriter Paul Simon and the British former prog rock star Peter Gabriel, rock and roll fused with a variety of folk music styles from around the world; this fusion came to be known as "world music", and included fusions like Aboriginal rock.

[edit] Hard rock, glam metal and instrumental rock

Main article: Glam metal
See also: Hard rock, Heavy metal music, and Instrumental rock

Heavy metal languished in obscurity until the mid- or late 1970s. A few hard rock bands maintained large followings, like Queen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, and there were occasional mainstream hits, like Blue Öyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper". Music critics overwhelmingly hated the genre, and mainstream listeners generally avoided it because of its strangeness. However this changed in 1978 with the release of the hard rock band Van Halen's eponymous debut, which ushered in an era of widely popular, high-energy rock and roll, based out of Los Angeles, California.

The most popular rock genre of the 1980s, was that of group of glam metal. Taking influence from various artists such as Aerosmith, the Sweet, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath. The earliest glam metal bands to gain notability are often considered as Mötley Crüe, W.A.S.P., and Ratt. They became known for their debauched lifestyles, teased hair, use of make-up and clothing. Their songs were bombastic, aggressive, and often defiantly macho, with lyrics focused on sex, drinking, drugs, and the occult.

By the mid 1980s, a formula developed in which a glam metal band had two hits -- one a "power ballad" (slow-dance tempo, but just as loud and driving as anything else by the group), and the other a hard-rocking anthem. The original line-up of Van Halen broke up in 1985. In 1987 a subgenre of glam metal emmerged that would change it forever, spearheaded by, L.A. Guns, Faster Pussycat, and most famously Guns N' Roses whos debut album Appetite for Destruction, became phenomenally successful. Until glam metal's demise in the early-1990s, Guns N' Roses were hard rock's standard-bearers, and influenced its sound by incorporating influences from punk rock, and blues.

Instrumental Rock was also popularised during this period with Joe Satriani's release of "Surfing with the Alien". With many heavy metal guitarists being virtuosos, many of them felt constrained by their bands and were releasing solo albums. Guitarists such as George Lynch, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Morse have all greatly contributed to the genre.

[edit] Alternative music and the indie movement

Main article: Alternative rock

The term alternative music (also often known as alternative rock) was coined in the early 1980s to describe bands which didn't fit into the mainstream genres of the time. Bands dubbed "alternative" could be most any style not typically heard on the radio; however, most alternative bands were unified by their collective debt to punk. Important bands of the '80s alternative movement included R.E.M., Sonic Youth, The Smiths, Pixies, Hüsker Dü, The Cure, and countless others. Artists largely were confined to indie record labels, building an extensive underground music scene based around college radio, fanzines, touring, and word-of-mouth. Although these groups never generated spectacular album sales, they exerted a considerable influence on the generation of musicians who came of age in the 80s and ended up breaking through to mainstream success in the 1990s. Notable styles of alternative rock during the 80s include jangle pop, gothic rock, college rock, and indie rock. The next decade would see the success of grunge in the US and Britpop in the UK, bringing alternative rock into the mainstream.

[edit] Alternative goes mainstream (the 1990s)

[edit] Grunge

Main article: Grunge music

By the late 1980s rock radio was dominated by hard rock artists, slick and glam metal; MTV had arrived and brought with it a perception that style was more important than substance. Disaffected by this, some young musicians began to reject glam metal and arena rock, created instead angst-ridden music. The American Pacific Northwest region, especially Seattle, became a hotbed of this style, dubbed grunge.

A few grunge bands, such as Mudhoney and early Nirvana, were very much inspired by garage rock/punk rock. Other grunge bands, particularly Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, took much of their sound from early heavy metal and much of their approach from punk, though they eschewed punk's ambitions towards political and social commentary to proceed in a more nihilistic direction. Grunge remained a mostly local phenomenon until the breakthrough of Nirvana in 1991 with their album Nevermind. A slightly more melodic, more completely produced variation on their predecessors, Nirvana was an instant sensation worldwide and made much of the competing music seem stale and dated by comparison, after Guns N' Roses' successful 1991 double-album Use Your Illusion I and II experimental hard-rock faded almost completely from the mainstream.

Nirvana whetted the public's appetite for more direct rock music, leading to the success of bands like Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Soundgarden who took a somewhat more traditional rock approach than other grunge bands but shared their passion and rawness. Pearl Jam were a major commercial success from their debut but, beginning with their second album, refused to buy in to the corporate promotion and marketing mechanisms of MTV and Ticketmaster, with whom they famously engaged in legal skirmishes over ticket service fees.

While grunge itself can be seen as somewhat limited in range, its influence was felt across many geographic and musical boundaries; many artists who were similarly disaffected with commercial rock music suddenly found record companies and audiences willing to listen, and dozens of disparate acts positioned themselves as alternatives to mainstream music; thus alternative rock emerged from the underground.

By 1994 grunge rock and its bands had become some of the most famous bands and genre of the 20th centry. In 1991 Nevermind was released and grunge was very popular, along with Pearl Jam's Ten. In 1992 Alice In Chains released Dirt and thus the genre became even more popular. In early April of 1994 grunge took a sudden shift in popularity with Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's sudden suicide. The scene stayed alive with Alice In Chains releasing their Jar of Flies EP later that year, and Soundgarden released their follow up to 1991s Badmotorfinger entitled Superunknown with the huge hit "Black Hole Sun." Alice In Chains released their self titled in 1995, but by 1996 the grunge fad was declining in popularity, with unsuccessful albums from Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots.

[edit] Britpop

Main article: Britpop

While America was full of grunge, post-grunge, and hip hop, Britain launched a 1960s revival in the mid-90s, often called Britpop, with bands like Suede, Oasis, The Verve, Radiohead, Pulp and Blur. These bands drew on myriad styles from the 80s British rock underground, including twee pop, shoegazing and space rock as well as traditional British guitar influences like the Beatles and glam rock. For a time, the Oasis-Blur rivalry was similar to the Beatles-Rolling Stones rivalry. While bands like Blur tended to follow on from the Small Faces and The Kinks, Oasis mixed the attitude of the Rolling Stones with the melody of the Beatles. The Verve and Radiohead took inspiration from performers like Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd and R.E.M. with their progressive rock music, manifested in Radiohead's most famous album, OK Computer. These bands became very successful, and for a time Oasis was given the title "the biggest band in the world" thanks to an album selling some 14 million copies worldwide but slowed down after band breakups, publicity disasters in the United States and slightly less popular support. The Verve disbanded after on-going turmoil in the band, but on the other hand Radiohead threw themselves into electronic experimentation in their latest records and have stood the test of time in both the U.K and the USA as a major act.

[edit] Indie rock

Main article: Indie rock

By the mid-90s, the term "alternative music" had lost much of its original meaning as rock radio and record buyers embraced increasingly slick, commercialized, and highly marketed forms of the genre. At the end of the decade, hip hop music had pushed much of alternative rock out of the mainstream, and most of what was left played pop-punk and highly polished versions of a grunge/rock mishmash.

Many acts that, by choice or fate, remained outside the commercial mainstream became part of the indie rock movement. Indie rock acts placed a premium on maintaining complete control of their music and careers, often releasing albums on their own independent record labels and relying on touring, word-of-mouth, and airplay on independent or college radio stations for promotion. Linked by an ethos more than a musical approach, the indie rock movement encompasses a wide range of styles, from hard-edged, grunge influenced bands like Superchunk to do-it-yourself experimental bands like Pavement to punk-folk singers such as Ani DiFranco.

Currently, many countries have an extensive local indie scene, flourishing with bands with much less popularity than commercial bands, just enough of it to survive inside the respective country, but virtually unknown outside them.

[edit] Stoner rock

Main article: Stoner rock

With some influences of Psychedelic Rock and riff orientated structure of early Heavy Metal, stoner rock emerged in the late 1980s. Bands such as Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Nebula and Queens of the Stone Age. Characterised by sludgy sounding, heavily distorted amps and detuned guitars, stoner rock tries to simulate the experience of an LSD trip or smoking marijuana. Many stoner rock bands can often play one song for up to 20 minutes with incredible variation in emotion, speed and genre.

Stoner rock remains the cornerstone of the independent recording industry, with few mainstream exceptions. Most notably Josh Homme who was the songwriter for both Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age.

[edit] Post-grunge and pop punk (1995-2000)

With the death of Kurt Cobain, rock and roll music searched for a new face, sound, and trend. A second wave of alternative rock bands began to become popular, with grunge declining in the mid-90s. Green Day, Foo Fighters, Radiohead, and Creed spearheaded rock radio, and 311 and Rage Against the Machine brought a fresh rap/rock hybrid sound. In 1995, a Canadian pop star, Alanis Morissette, arose, and released Jagged Little Pill, a major hit that featured blunt, personally-revealing lyrics. It succeeded in moving the introspection that had become so common in grunge to the mainstream. The success of Jagged Little Pill spawned a wave of popularity in the late 90s of confessional rock releases by female artists including Jewel, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, and Liz Phair. Many of these artists drew on their own alternative rock heroes from the 1980s and early 90s, including the folksy Tracy Chapman and various Riot Grrrl bands. The use of introspective lyrics bled into other styles of rock, including those dubbed alternative.

The late 1990s brought about a wave of mergers and consolidations among US media companies and radio stations such as the Clear Channel Communications conglomerate. This has resulted in a homogenization of music available. Bands like Green Day and Blink 182 defined pop punk at the end of the 90s. At this time, "nu metal" began to take popular form, it contained a mix of grunge, metal, and hip-hop. Using downtuned 7 string guitars, KoRn first created their heavy crushing riffs in 1994 with their first self-titled album. This then helped spawn a wave of nu metal bands such as Linkin Park, Deftones, P.O.D., Static-X, Disturbed, and Limp Bizkit.

[edit] Present day (2000-Present)

In the early 2000s the entire music industry was shaken by claims of massive theft of music rights using file-sharing tools such as Napster, resulting in lawsuits against private file-sharers by the recording industry group the RIAA.

After existing in the musical underground, garage rock saw a resurgence of popularity in the early 2000s, with the garage rock revival. Bands like The White Stripes, The Strokes, Jet, The Vines, and The Hives all released successful singles and albums. This wave is often referred to as back-to-basics rock because of its raw sound. Currently popular rock trends include a style of pop-punk that is often referred to as emo (though some disagree with that label), which draws its style from softer punk and alternative rock styles from the 1980s. Many new bands have become well-known since 2001, including Jimmy Eat World, Hawthorne Heights, Dashboard Confessional and Taking Back Sunday; however, this subgenre has come to be frequently maligned by many rock enthusiasts. Additionally, the retro trend has led to the revitalization of dance-rock. Bands like Franz Ferdinand, Hot Hot Heat, The Killers and The Bravery mix post-punk sensibilities with electronic beats.

The biggest factor that has contributed to the resurgence of rock music is the rise of paid digital downloads in the 2000s. During the 90s, the importance of the buyable music single faded when Billboard allowed singles without buyable, album-separate versions to enter its Hot 100 chart (charting only with radio airplay). The vast majority of songs bought on paid download sites are singles bought from their albums; songs that are bought on a song-by-song basis off artist's albums are considered sales of singles, even though they have no official buyable single.

Meanwhile, "Top 40" music today is largely dependent on either synthesizer orchestration or sampling, prominent in such pop artists like Gwen Stefani, Ashlee Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Simpson, Hilary Duff and Kelly Clarkson.

During much of the 2000s, hip hop music dominated the US single charts, with artists such as 50 cent, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Nelly, Eminem and Jay Z. According to a recent study by Teenage Research Unlimited, hip hop is the most popular format of music among adults from ages 18-34. R&B acts like Mariah Carey , Usher and Alicia Keys are very popular on the pop charts, although with the exception of Carey, none of these acts, rap or R&B, sell as many albums as rock did. Nearly all of the best selling albums of all time are still rock.

In many other nations, such as the UK and Australia, rock figures much more prominently in album sales than in the US. Rap and hip hop, although popular in those nations, are not as dominant as in the USA. American bands such as The White Stripes, The Killers and The Strokes have more success in the UK than in the USA, and British bands such as The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, Coldplay, Oasis, Kaiser Chiefs, Gorillaz, and Arctic Monkeys are still the UK's biggest selling artists. Emo remains a marginal genre, although it is arguably growing in popularity in the UK.

[edit] Social impacts

The influence of rock and roll is far-reaching, and has had significant impact worldwide on fashion, film styles, and attitudes towards sex and sexuality and use of drugs and alcohol. This impact is broad enough that "rock and roll" may also be considered a life style in addition to a form of music.

[edit] Trivia

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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