1. The form of rock music originated from United Kingdom and United States during 1950s and 1960s. It is a mixture of other genres present during that time for e.g. blues, jazz, classical etc. A rock group usually consists of an electric guitar player with drums, bass and one or more singers. Themes stressed through this kind of music are varied encompassing romantic love to social or political issues, sex, lifestyle, rebellion against church. Similar is the case with the style of song which generally varies with each group. Every other band be it Queens, the Eagles, A.C./D.C. etc has varied styles.
2. Different subgenres have emerged in the scene by time. Folk rock and country rock are popular examples of hybrids while psychedelic rock was created due to hippie movement prevalent at that time. Also new techniques like heavy metal using intolerable volume, punk rock focussing on political criticism have found a place in our day-to-day life. This kind of music can also be mixed with pop and rap to produce a new and exciting piece. Most basic instrument used in any rock concert is amplified electric guitar which can be supported by other instruments like drum, piano, synthesizers etc. The music can be divided in the following eras :-
3. 1950s : Rock and roll – It is rightly termed as the originator of rock. This form evolved in United States spreading later to other places. Although there are debates around the first rock and roll record, but the person to use this term first was Alan Freed , a disc jockey. Some popular singers of this time were – Elvis Presley (Jailhouse Rock, That’s All Right)* , Big Joe Turner’s (Shake,Rattle & Roll) , Chuck Berry, Lee Lewis etc. But rock and roll declined in late 1950s due to multifarious reasons like death of Buddy Holly in a plane crash, Elvis asked to serve the army , prosecution of Lee Lewis.
4. Early 1960s – Now, rock music mainly put emphasis on live performances and experienced a gradual change in its style. This era is special in history of rock in the sense that it was dominated by black and female artists. In the previous era, white males were involved in large numbers. Most development during this time took place in the British rock groups.
5. A new kind of fusion termed soul music emerged led by pioneers like Same Cooke and Ray Charles. The “Beach Boys” was a famous group with songs like “Good Vibrations”, “God only knows” which are still celebrated today.British groups like The Beatles , Hollies etc. invaded the scene. The Beatles group is still widely known due to their perseverance and ears satisfying melodies like Hey Jude, Yesterday, While my guitar gently weeps, Don’t let me down. The group had as members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison. All are well-known. John Lennon sang a popular song “Imagine” whose lyrics are so influential and timeless that they still stand true in today’s world. The song asks listeners to imagine a world of peace without borders, religion , nationality ; a kind of utopia.
6. Other famous bands were The Animals (House of the Rising Sun) , The Rolling Sones (Wild Horses). Jimi Hendrix was a famous proponent of psychedelic rock though there is a sad ending associated with his life. Music was inspired to produce a kind of higher trance state when consuming LSD or other related drugs. The hippie lifestyle was centred around experimenting with hallucinogenic drugs , being natural and participating in rave parties.
7. Early 1970s – A kind of new rock called Roots Rock evolved . The major factor leading to its genesis was excess of psychedelic rock and so people were kind of fed up by it. So an attempt to bring back original influences was done. Some famous singers of this time were Bob Dylan (Knockin on heaven’s door) , Ry Cooder, Lowell George. Eagles (Hotel California, Take it Easy) emerged as one of the most successful bands of this time. A distinction between soft rock and hard rock was made. While soft rock had as its predecessor folk music with acoustic instruments , hard rock had more loudness and intensity.
8. I love hard rock with Queen, Aerosmith, and AC/DC among my favourites. Lead singer of Queen was Freddie Mercury. He had the most powerful voice I have ever heard. Freddie wrote the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” himself which is still the hardest song to perform live. The song has a unique feel since it mixes varied speed and intensity to produce a magical piece of art. Other songs by Queen worthy of mention are “We Will Rock You” , “Somebody To Love” , “Too Much Love Will Kill You” , ” The Show Must Go On” . Aerosmith song “Dream On” became an anthem for the young population inspiring them to dream big. AC/DC song “Highway To Hell” has a unique tinge attached to it.
9. The band “Led Zeppelin” used fantasy to create magical effects in their songs. Lyrics of their songs like “Stairway To Heaven” , “Kashmir” are hard to decipher still. Also their song “Whole Lotta Love” catched young audience attention. Another famous band “Scorpions” from Germany’s song “Still Loving You” is rumoured to create baby boom in France. It was followed by a Jesus Movement giving birth to Christian Rock.
10. Punk Era – Main characteristics of this phase were fast music, short songs and often political lyrics. A new philosophy of bands self-producing the music and sending it to audience through informal channels was seen. The people who followed this kind of music had a distinct clothing style and ideology. Some famous bands were the Police (Every breath you take, Roxanne) , the Pretenders and the Cars. In this era, Indie Rock also developed with bands like the Cranberries, an Irish band. “Zombie” was a song by the Cranberries which was written in memory of two boys killed in IRA bombing. It was a kind of protest song and ignited young people’s mind.
11. 2000s – Digital electronic rock can be the term used for present generation of rock. Since software technology has advanced so much, high quality music is created through only a laptop. This has increased home production of songs and they are later released through video sites like YouTube.
12. Rock is not just a form of music but it is a way of living life. There are evidences that the lifestyle of people changed according to the music they listened to. This article was a tribute to the rock culture and an attempt to summarise it’s past. Live performances in past attracted lakhs of people to these concerts. I am often envious of my elders who got a chance to experience the best like Queens, Scorpions, Led Zeppelin etc. live. I wish that more people know about our past valuable heritage and maybe one day we create a new culture similar to those like of hippie, indie. The world needs a new movement since I believe it has somewhat lost the zeal to come together after coming of technology.
* Inside (…) is the famous song associated with the band or singer.