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High Powered ROCK MUSIC: still ROCKing?

Updated on July 16, 2014


That's an absolutely normal thing to keep comparing the way things are today with what they used to be in the past. This urge is especially strong when it comes to tracking the creative processes like those in various music genres. Some past tendencies will hardly be understood by the modern generation while other old-days hits will always be there enjoyed by millions.

There is more and more whispering going on around about the decline in music genres like the Rock. Some even compare it with a monotonous conveyor with no hits assembled, or a fast-food restaurant with same typical hamburgers made every day. Meanwhile, whenever an old good dusty vinyl is taken out, the ear can't resist plunging into the great sound of the past glory.

So is rock music evolving or declining with time?

burning mic
burning mic

A peep to the backward

Crude, gross and destructive – were the words used to refer to rock-and-roll, a new music style that emerged in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Well, the decades that followed proved these definitions wrong since the new style not only survived but blossomed, turning out to be not just a passing fad but a cultural event for the generations to come.

The rock-and-roll style featuring the elements of both European and African cultures could only have come into being in America. The immigration flux from a multitude of European countries brought along the instruments immigrants had played at home. African slaves deprived of the right to use their homeland instruments had to make do with singing and dancing. All this gave rise to the new musical phenomenon dubbed as “rock music”.


Precursors of rock music

Certain musical styles that appeared in America at the time when slavery flourished gradually evolved into the musical styles we have today, such as jazz, blues and of course rock music. As it was mentioned earlier the slaves were granted no rights. Taking into account the fact that slaves of African descent had numerous contacts with settlers from Europe it was obvious that both cultures overlapped, music was no exception. The abolition of slavery was followed by the emergence of the first real musical styles. “Rhythm and blues” extant till our days was among them.

Namely R&B was the precursor of rock music. Originally all the styles preceding rock music and rock and roll were considered music for blacks while the white population of the country was striving to distance itself fully from the culture of the “lower-class” as the blacks were referred to. When the race discrimination began to fade away the music of various styles performed by black musicians gained a worldwide recognition eagerly welcomed by their audiences.

The first rock and roll composition and the King

The first to perform a rock music composition was Bill Haley. It occurred in the early 1950s. The piece was the closest in its sounding to what we now call rock music. Haley’s repertoire included rock and rock and roll songs alike since no one could draw the dividing line between the styles. They sounded very much like rock and roll songs but were still somewhat peculiar. The compositions performed were in minor keys which was totally unusual for rock and roll style.

Soon 40 million American watched a young guy perform a Bill Haley’s song on TV. His compositions instantly ignited a passionate love from young fans while older folks called him nothing else but "lousy", "vicious", "a maniac with greasy hair and dirty songs" or a "youth defiler".

As time went by, Elvis indisputably turned into the king of rock and roll. Quite a number of his compositions are considered in their own right classics of rock music, among them Jailhouse Rock, Hound Dog and All Shook Up, his ballads Love Me Tender and Can't Help Falling in Love. All the movies featuring Elvis attracted huge crowds of loyal fans. When Presley passed away in 1977 millions of his contemporaries and their children considered rock music to have died with the King.

New musical styles - Following the death of the King music fans started looking for alternative musical styles as an alternative to rock and roll music revered

He popularized Twist -one of the most popular dance styles. It seemed an adequate replacement had been found but the new style did not succeed in making #1 hits in musical charts for very long. Rock music resurrected again bearing significant changes inflicted by the fashion trends of modern times. It was based on the same principles as before but its rhythms and tonalities underwent serious alterations. The compositions were mostly played in the minor key regardless of a tempo. Lyrics became more meaningful and often conveyed a message.

The end of the third epoch of rock music - One can trace several epochs in the development of rock music. The first one started with Bill Haley, a popular Ameri

The third epoch was marked with the appearance of a phenomenon called "The Beatles". They went on to become the biggest selling rock band of all time and even after they split each member of the quartet pursued a successful solo career.


Some general information about original rock music styles

Metal. A genre of rock music that developed in the early 1970s, peaked is popularity in the 1980s and then fragmented into more extreme forms. The style is characterized by a thick, massive sound, highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, and emphatic beats. The exponents: Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and some other bands.

Punk rock. The main features of the style are fast, typically short songs, simplified instrumentation and often an aggressive vocal manner. The lyrics are as a rule anti-establishment, exposing social injustices. The exponents: The Sonics, Monks, The Seeds, The Who, The Kinks.

Pop rock. Show business moguls could not exercise control over those buying LPs, but using mass media resources they could decide who to air on TV. By mid-50s they had realized the lucrativeness of the business connected with teenagers’ musical preferences. Rock stars were needed badly and they arose, among the first was Tommy Steele (born Thomas William Hicks).

Progressive rock. The style reached its peak of popularity in the early 1970s. If 1967 might be considered as the year of its burgeoning then 1969 could safely be called the year of its developing. This period is known for emerging of the bands that later would be regarded as classical representatives of the progressive rock. In the 1970s the most influential acts in the genre were: Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Genesis, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, Van der Graaf Generator, Camel, Space and Yes.

Psychedelic rock or Acid rock. The style features a deformed instrumentation, sound effects, enigmatic and surreal vocals. That is the kind of music inspired by attempts to enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. The chief exponents – Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Arthur Brown.

Woodstock - The Legendary Festival - Have you ever heard of Woodstock?

For thousands of years prior to the Woodstock Festival the only reason a million people could flock to a locality was military action. In mid-August of 1969 no one could even think of Woodstock being later called one of the greatest and most pivotal moments in popular music history.

The festival was organized by young men who got approval permission only 2 weeks before the festival opened. They had $2, 5 million, a huge amount of money back then. At the time the most expensive Hollywood blockbuster budget averaged to 1-2 million dollars. The organizers expected 100,000 - 150,000 people to attend the venue but nobody could have envisioned selling 250,000 tickets. The festival was named after the town of Woodstock, Ulster County, N.Y. where it was originally planned. But the town officials thought they had no place in the area to room as many as a million people they had expected to arrive. So the next place was the town of Wallkill, but the town authorities using contrived pretexts officially banned the concert. In the end the festival was held at Max Yasgur's dairy farm land in the town of Bethel, Sullivan County, 40 miles south-west of Woodstock. 200,000 people were expected to show up but as many as half a million swamped the site, mostly without tickets. Cars and crowds of people created a massive traffic jam. People just abandoned their cars and walked for miles to attend the festival.

Many prominent artists and acts participated in the festival. Among them Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Loan Baez, Santana, Grateful Dead, Ravi Shankar and others. A few performers declined invitations, among them "Led Zeppelin", "Jethro Tull","The Doors" and some others.

Eventually, Woodstock Music and Art Fair turned out to be one of the most famous rock festivals in the history of rock music.

Printable Sheet Music

At you will find different-level rock sheet music as well as score arrangements that will help you plunge into the powerful world of rock music.

The Favorite Rock Music Videos - So what are those hits listening to which we are still having goose bumps?

They are shaking us from the inside and keep inspiring to go on. What truly amazes about the performers is that the age here is out of dimension. Yes, these artists look older than they used to be but it doesn’t hinder them from the powerful performing full of energy and hard rock fluids. Here’s the best from the rock music pearls.

Rock is the music of thinking people, the music of intellectual rebels. It’s not just a music preference but an entire lifestyle. How many bands play rock internationally? The answer is – quite a lot. A number of them have won recognition, winning millions of hearts with their compositions. We can only hope that the new rock branches will bear hit-fruit loved just like the old vinyls are. Some performers already do have loyal fans not only by the message of their compositions but by their appearances and the beauty of their vocals. Rock music by definition cannot be boring. Don’t you agree?

Readers Feedback

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    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      Great Lens! Rock On!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Dick Dale has often been called the Father of Heavy Metal due to his innovations with loud surf-style instrumentals starting in 1961. First 100-watt amp ever for a guitarist was his, custom made by Fender.

    • Raymond Eagar profile image

      Raymond Eagar 4 years ago

      When you rock you rock .

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      When you take a moment to analyze it, rock music has surely come a long way baby!

    • Niko2 profile image

      Niko2 5 years ago

      A great lens on a complex topic - I didn't notice any reference to Bob Dylan though (unless I missed something). Bob Dylan was without doubt a massive influence on the Beatles and the Rock music of the sixties - he has amazing lyrics - still tours the world - and is still covered by many artists such as the recent big hit by Adele ''Make You Feel My Love'

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 5 years ago

      Great rock and roll history lesson. The videos above show it all!