History of Rock Music

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  • Chronology of Rock Music
  • Profiles of 1980's bands
  • Profiles of US bands of the 1990's
  • Profiles of non-US bands of the 1990's
  • Profiles of 1970's bands
  • Profiles of 1960's bands
  • Profiles of 1950's bands
  • Cronologie della Musica rock
  • Schede anni '80
  • Schede anni '90 USA
  • Schede anni '90 non-USA
  • Anni '70
  • Anni '60
  • Anni '50
  • Lebenslauf der musiker der 80ziger
  • Lebenslauf der U.S. musiker
  • Lebenslauf der nicht-U.S. musiker
  • Chronologie der Rock Musik

  • (Copyright © 2009 Piero Scaruffi)
    The Seventies
    The deaths of the Doors' Jim Morrison, of Janis Joplin, of Jimi Hendrix and countless others, sort of cooled down the booming phenomenon. After the excesses of the mid Sixties, a more peaceful way to rock nirvana had already been proposed by Bob Dylan and others when they rediscovered country music. And "country-rock" became one of the fads of the Seventies, yielding successful bands such as the Eagles. Reggae became a mainstream genre thanks to Bob Marley. Funk became even more absurd and experimental with George Clinton's bands. Hard rock begat heavy metal, that soon became a genre of its own (Blue Oyster Cult, Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Rush, Journey, Van Halen). The Seventies were mostly a quiet age, devoid of the nevrastenic battage of the Sixties.

    At the turn of the decade, the main musical phenomenon was the emergence of a new generation of singer songwriters that were the direct consequence of the previous generation's intellectual ambitions. Leonard Cohen, Tim Buckley, Nico, Lou Reed, Todd Rundgren, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tom Waits, and the most famous of all, Bruce Springsteen, established a musical persona that unites the classical composer and the folksinger.

    In Britain, the early Seventies saw the proliferation of hard rock and progressive-rock and their branching into several sub-genres. British musicians gave rock and roll an "intellectual" quality that made it the cultural peer of European cinema and literature. British rock was dragged down by the same stagnation that afflicted American rock. The momentum for innovation was rapidly lost and the new genres created by British musicians either languished or mutated into commercial phenomena. Musical decadence led to decadence-rock, personified by dandies David Bowie and Marc Bolan. Eccentric remnants of progressive-rock such as Robert Fripp and Peter Gabriel started avantgarde careers that were to lead to an expanded notion of rock music. New musicians such as Kate Bush and Mike Oldfield helped liberate rock music from the classification in genres and opened the road to more abstract music. But the single most influential musician was Brian Eno, who first led Roxy Music to innovate progressive-rock and then invented ambient music.

    Largely neglected at the time, German rock was probably twenty years ahead of British rock. Kraftwerk, Amon Duul, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Faust, Neu Can made some of the most important albums of the era, and of the entire history of rock music. They laid the foundations for popular electronic music, for modern instrumental rock, even for new age music and for disco-music.

    The mid-Seventies were largely a decade of consolidation, rather than innovation, but two phenomena erupted that would have a strong impact: disco-music and punk-rock. Disco-music was the first genre to use electronic instruments for commercial, mass-scale music. The beat of dance music would never be the same again. Orchestral arrangements became as ordinary as a guitar solo. Punk-rock had an even greater impact, because it came with the emancipation of the record industry from the "majors". Thousands of independent record labels promoted underground artists and soon the music scene was dramatically split between mainstream rock (descendant of Presley and Beatles) and alternative rock (descendant of Zappa and Grateful Dead). Punk-rock per se was fast, loud rock and roll music, but it quickly became a moniker for all angry music of the time.

    From the ashes of decadent acts such as the New York Dolls, the Ramones made punk-rock more than a sound, they made it a religion.

    New York punks were as intellectual as the folksingers of twenty years before. Patti Smith, Television, Suicide and Feelies were the main acts of the "new wave". The new wave was truly a new wave of creativity, that harked back to the mid Sixties, when bands were competing to innovate.

    Details on the New Wave

    The Sex Pistols led the prolific British school of punk-rock, a more socially and politically conscious kind of rebellious music. Punks were not necessarily angry, anarchic and suicidal: the Clash and the Fall were punks with a brain.

    Details on Punk-rock

    The Pere Ubu, and Devo in Ohio, and the Residents and Chrome in San Francisco led the way for hundreds of bands that Zoogz Rift went beyond the song format and offered music as bizarre and revolutionary as Zappa's and Beefheart's.

    Details on the New Wave

    Tom Petty, in California, was one of the few musicians of that generation to remain untouched by the experimental frenzy.

    The Fleshtones and the Cramps and the Cars led the myriads of bands the rediscovered the Fifties and the Sixties, in the wake of the "american graffiti" movement.

    Details on the Sixties Revival

    In Britain a generation that toiled in the pub scene got its chance to emerge at national and international level. Elvis Costello, the Police, the Dire Straits were the most prominent musicians to come out of that milieu.

    Details on the British Revival

    Blondie, Talking Heads and James Chance, and later Madonna, took the idea to the discos of New York.

    Details on Dance music for punks

    The number of solitary geniuses grew exponentially and counted on renaissance men such as Bill Laswell out of Boston and demented industrial composers such as Foetus in New York (via Australia).

    Rock and roll was born again. Just like in the mid Sixties, each year yielded scores of brilliant musicians that were rewriting the canon of rock music. In Britain first came industrial music, invented by Throbbing Gristle as a hybrid of avantgarde and rock music, and then dark-punk, whose main proponents were Joy Division, Siouxsie Sioux, Public Image Ltd, the Cure, the Killing Joke, the Sisters Of Mercy.

    Details on Dark Punk

    The Pop Group was the most innovative combo of the time, and spawned the careers of Rip Rig and Panic and Mark Stewart, predating the fusion of soul, jazz and hip hop.

    Details on Industrial Music

    continues... | back...
    Details (1976-1989):

    USA: The New Wave
    UK: Punk-rock
    USA: The Blank Generation
    USA: American Graffiti
    UK: British Graffiti
    USA: Dance music for punks
    UK: Dark Punk
    UK: Industrial Music


    Kosmische Musik: Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Cluster
    French avantgarde: Magma, Vangelis
    Roots-rock: Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Little Feat
    Space-rock: Hawkwind
    British eccentrics: Kevin Ayers, Robert Wyatt, Mike Oldfield, Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush
    Between genres: Todd Rundgren, Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones, Annette Peacock
    Free-rock: Henry Cow
    German futurism: Kraftwerk, Neu
    German existentialism: Faust, Popol Vuh, Can
    Southern rock: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers
    Heavy blues-rock: Aerosmith, AC/DC
    Heavy metal: Blue Oyster Cult, Rush, Kiss, Van Halen
    Euro-pop: Abba
    Blue-collar rock: Bruce Springsteen
    Intellectuals: Tom Petty, Patti Smith
    Dance-pop: Blondie, Police
    British metal: Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard
    New wave: Television, Suicide, Feelies
    Blank generation: Pere Ubu, Residents, Chrome
    Avant-funk: Talking Heads, B52's, James Chance, Pop Group
    Punk-rock: New York Dolls, Ramones, Clash
    Synth-pop: Ultravox, XTC, Wire, Japan
    Industrial music: Throbbing Gristle
    Voodoobilly: Cramps, Fleshtones
    Dark-punk: Public Image ltd, Cure
    Soul-rock: Prince
    French avant-rock: Art Zoyd, Univers Zero