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Anthony Hill
Anthony Hill

Rock Music In American Popular Culture III: Mor...


In the twenty-first century, rock has lost its position as the pre-eminent popular music genre in world culture, but remains commercially successful. Many recent movements have been conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk revival in the 2000s. The increased influence of hip-hop and electronic dance music can be seen in rock music, notably in the techno-pop scene of the early 2010s and the pop-punk-hip-hop revival of the 2020s.




Rock Music in American Popular Culture III: Mor...



Rock has also embodied and served as the vehicle for cultural and social movements, leading to major subcultures including mods and rockers in the United Kingdom, the hippie movement and the wider Western counterculture movement that spread out from San Francisco in the US in the 1960s, the latter of which continues to this day. Similarly, 1970s punk culture spawned the goth, punk, and emo subcultures. Inheriting the folk tradition of the protest song, rock music has been associated with political activism as well as changes in social attitudes to race, sex, and drug use, and is often seen as an expression of youth revolt against adult consumerism and conformity. At the same time, it has been commercially highly successful, leading to charges of selling out..mw-parser-output .toclimit-2 .toclevel-1 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-3 .toclevel-2 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-4 .toclevel-3 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-5 .toclevel-4 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-6 .toclevel-5 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-7 .toclevel-6 uldisplay:none


The sound of rock is traditionally centered on the amplified electric guitar, which emerged in its modern form in the 1950s with the popularity of rock and roll.[5] It was also greatly influenced by the sounds of electric blues guitarists.[6] The sound of an electric guitar in rock music is typically supported by an electric bass guitar, which pioneered in jazz music in the same era,[7] and by percussion produced from a drum kit that combines drums and cymbals.[8] This trio of instruments has often been complemented by the inclusion of other instruments, particularly keyboards such as the piano, the Hammond organ, and the synthesizer.[9] The basic rock instrumentation was derived from the basic blues band instrumentation (prominent lead guitar, second chordal instrument, bass, and drums).[6] A group of musicians performing rock music is termed as a rock band or a rock group. Furthermore, it typically consists of between three (the power trio) and five members. Classically, a rock band takes the form of a quartet whose members cover one or more roles, including vocalist, lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, bass guitarist, drummer, and often keyboard player or other instrumentalist.[10]


Unlike many earlier styles of popular music, rock lyrics have dealt with a wide range of themes, including romantic love, sex, rebellion against "The Establishment", social concerns, and life styles.[11] These themes were inherited from a variety of sources such as the Tin Pan Alley pop tradition, folk music, and rhythm and blues.[18] Christgau characterizes rock lyrics as a "cool medium" with simple diction and repeated refrains, and asserts that rock's primary "function" "pertains to music, or, more generally, noise."[19] The predominance of white, male, and often middle class musicians in rock music has often been noted,[20] and rock has been seen as an appropriation of Black musical forms for a young, white and largely male audience.[21] As a result, it has also been seen to articulate the concerns of this group in both style and lyrics.[22] Christgau, writing in 1972, said in spite of some exceptions, "rock and roll usually implies an identification of male sexuality and aggression".[23]


Debate surrounds the many recordings which have been suggested as "the first rock and roll record". Contenders include "The House of Blue Lights" by Ella Mae Morse and Freddie Slack (1946);[29] Wynonie Harris' "Good Rocking Tonight" (1948);[30] Goree Carter's "Rock Awhile" (1949);[31] Jimmy Preston's "Rock the Joint" (1949), which was later covered by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1952;[32] and "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (in fact, Ike Turner and his band the Kings of Rhythm), recorded by Sam Phillips for Sun Records in 1951.[33] Four years later, Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" (1955) became the first rock and roll song to top Billboard magazine's main sales and airplay charts, and opened the door worldwide for this new wave of popular culture.[34][35]


It also has been argued that "That's All Right (Mama)" (1954), Elvis Presley's first single for Sun Records in Memphis, could be the first rock and roll record,[36] but, at the same time, Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle & Roll", later covered by Haley, was already at the top of the Billboard R&B charts. Other artists with early rock and roll hits included Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Gene Vincent.[33] Soon rock and roll was the major force in American record sales and crooners, such as Eddie Fisher, Perry Como, and Patti Page, who had dominated the previous decade of popular music, found their access to the pop charts significantly curtailed.[37]


In the late 1950s and early 1960s, American blues music and blues rock artists, who had been surpassed by the rise of rock and roll in the US, found new popularity in the UK, visiting with successful tours.[55] 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, many of which, including John Lennon's Quarrymen (later The Beatles, moved on to play rock and roll.[56] While rock and roll in the USA was becoming dominated by lightweight pop and ballads, British rock groups at clubs and local dances were developing a style more strongly influenced by blues-rock pioneers, and were starting to play with an intensity and drive seldom found in white American acts;[57] this influence would go on to shape the future of rock music through the British Invasion.[55]


The term pop has been used since the early 20th century to refer to popular music in general, but from the mid-1950s it began to be used for a distinct genre, aimed at a youth market, often characterized as a softer alternative to rock and roll.[58][59] From about 1967, it was increasingly used in opposition to the term rock music, to describe a form that was more commercial, ephemeral and accessible.[24] In contrast rock music was seen as focusing on extended works, particularly albums, was often associated with particular sub-cultures (like the counterculture of the 1960s), placed an emphasis on artistic values and "authenticity", stressed live performance and instrumental or vocal virtuosity and was often seen as encapsulating progressive developments rather than simply reflecting existing trends.[24][58][59][60] Nevertheless, much pop and rock music has been very similar in sound, instrumentation and even lyrical content.[nb 1]


Although the first impact of the British Invasion on American popular music was through beat and R&B based acts, the impetus was soon taken up by a second wave of bands that drew their inspiration more directly from American blues, including the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds.[104] British blues musicians of the late 1950s and early 1960s had been inspired by the acoustic playing of figures such as Lead Belly, who was a major influence on the Skiffle craze, and Robert Johnson.[105] Increasingly they adopted a loud amplified sound, often centered on the electric guitar, based on the Chicago blues, particularly after the tour of Britain by Muddy Waters in 1958, which prompted Cyril Davies and guitarist Alexis Korner to form the band Blues Incorporated.[106] The band involved and inspired many of the figures of the subsequent British blues boom, including members of the Rolling Stones and Cream, combining blues standards and forms with rock instrumentation and emphasis.[57]


After the early successes of Latin rock in the 1960s, Chicano musicians like Carlos Santana and Al Hurricane continued to have successful careers throughout the 1970s. Santana opened the decade with success in his 1970 single "Black Magic Woman" on the Abraxas album.[166] His third album Santana III yielded the single "No One to Depend On", and his fourth album Caravanserai experimented with his sound to mixed reception.[167][168] He later released a series of four albums that all achieved gold status: Welcome, Borboletta, Amigos, and Festivál. Al Hurricane continued to mix his rock music with New Mexico music, though he was also experimenting more heavily with Jazz music, which led to several successful singles, especially on his Vestido Mojado album, including the eponymous "Vestido Mojado", as well as "Por Una Mujer Casada" and "Puño de Tierra"; his brothers had successful New Mexico music singles in "La Del Moño Colorado" by Tiny Morrie and "La Cumbia De San Antone" by Baby Gaby.[169] Al Hurricane Jr. also began his successful rock-infused New Mexico music recording career in the 1970s, with his 1976 rendition of "Flor De Las Flores".[170][171] Los Lobos gained popularity at this time, with their first album Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles in 1977.


From the late 1960s the term "heavy metal" began to be used to describe some hard rock played with even more volume and intensity, first as an adjective and by the early 1970s as a noun.[178] The term was first used in music in Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" (1967) and began to be associated with pioneer bands like San Francisco's Blue Cheer, Cleveland's James Gang and Michigan's Grand Funk Railroad.[179] By 1970 three key British bands had developed the characteristic sounds and styles which would help shape the subgenre. Led Zeppelin added elements of fantasy to their riff laden blues-rock, Deep Purple brought in symphonic and medieval interests from their progressive rock phase and Black Sabbath introduced facets of the gothic and modal harmony, helping to produce a "darker" sound.[180] These elements were taken up by a "second generation" of heavy metal bands into the late 1970s, including: Judas Priest, UFO, Motörhead and Rainbow from Britain; Kiss, Ted Nugent, and Blue Öyster Cult from the US; Rush from Canada and Scorpions from Germany, all marking the expansion in popularity of the subgenre.[180] Despite a lack of airplay and very little presence on the singles charts, late-1970s heavy metal built a considerable following, particularly among adolescent working-class males in North America and Europe.[181] In the 1980s, bands such as Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses, Duran Duran, Skid Row and Def Leppard saw mainstream success, with hard rock and a fusion of hard rock with pop. During the 1990s, hard rock saw a slight decline in popularity, save for some major hits like Guns N' Roses' November Rain. But in the early 2000s, Bon Jovi's It's My Life saw a huge increase in popularity of rock and pop rock and helped introduce the genres to a newer fanbase. 041b061a72


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