Rock of Ages.
Anyone with a fondness for Rock music will undoubtedly know a good deal about it already. But do you understand how Rock came about in the first place? And do you realise just how many changes it has been through since it all began?
You see, Rock did not simply slip into a leather jacket and turn up on the music scene one day. This is a genre that has evolved, morphed and spread out in many different directions (all at the same time too!).
Here is a brief history of the beast that is Rock; how it began, what it became and where it is heading to next!
Most music connoisseurs will happily agree that the Blues laid the groundwork for all modern Rock music. It had the beat, it had the guitar riffs and most it most certainly had the attitude!
Bluesmen such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Lightning Hopkins and B.B. King are now all absolute legends and their sound has influenced countless musicians over the years.
Any real fan of Rock music will also have a very deep love for the Blues!
Rock and Roll
This is where things began to get really exciting! Rock and Roll may have stemmed directly from the Blues, but it also took music to a whole new level.
Guitarists like Eddie Cochran broke all the rules with their raucous guitar sound and many bands are still playing their own versions of Rock and Roll songs today. In fact, Mr Cochran’s, ‘Summertime Blues' happens to be one of the most covered tracks of all time!
The next big thing to come along in the music scene was Psychedelic Rock. Of course, this was now the Hippy era and musicians were experimenting with all manner of interesting sounds… However, it was the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin who would really break new ground.
Musicians like these were the first to introduce distortion into their guitar playing; something that would become increasingly important in the years to come…
Groups who play Heavy Metal are given a pretty bad name a lot of the time. They are often made out to be total brainless morons who are not even capable of reading Newquay hotel reviews !
However, Heavy Metal is actually a really important musical genre that is often far more intricate than many people will realise. It is usually written in sections much like Classical music and it has been incredibly influential over the years!
Twenty minute long meandering guitar solos may not be everyone’s cup of Rosy Lee, but Progressive Rock is still a notable genre. And what it lacks in the ’Rock Out Sounds' department it more than makes up for with its sense of imagination.
Prog Rock also helped to introduce electronic sounds into music, teaching all of those puritan Rockers that synthesisers are actually our friends, not our enemies!
It was big, it was loud, it was angry and it upset a whole lot of people (most of whom were parents). Whilst Punk Rock was inarguably nasty and self-destructive, it was quite simply the result of a frustrated and disillusioned generation. Prospects were pretty vacant (!) for the young and Punk was the perfect vehicle for their rage.
There may not have been a great deal of depth to this particular phase in music, but it still had its own distinctive sound. And the Punk guitar style would be adopted by many bands further along the line.
This movement was almost like a thoughtful interlude after a very destructive storm! Post Punk was still loud and rough around the edges, but it had much more of an artistic flavour about itself.
Bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure and Joy Division all boasted well-crafted songs, contemplative lyrics and a very definite guitar sound. Needless to say, this all helped to steer Rock back towards the creative.
Originating in Seattle, Grunge was the last big thing to come along in the world of rock music. Nirvana were the most commercially accessible band from this genre, but there were certainly plenty of others to choose from…
The Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Audioslave were/are all notable acts. And each of these employed the same dirge-y, distorted guitar style too. Rather ironically, this Grunge sound hails back to the Blues of the early days; right where we began with this article on Rock!
It would seem then that Rock has literally gone full circle. Sure, it has certainly changed its sound and its look plenty of times, yet it has never really wandered very far from its roots at all. So perhaps Rock is not as much of a wild and untamed beast that we have all been led to believe… Maybe it is actually very proud of its ancestry and it does not want to stray too far from this.
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