How Rock Music Evolved

Posted by Mike Schumacher

We all have our favorite songs, music genres, and artists. Some people know what genre their song fits into or which artist they believe is better than anyone else, but for most of us, we find new music that we like and learn to appreciate as we grow older.

Music changes depending on several different factors. What kind of instrument an artist uses, how well they use it, what genre they fit into, and when they were born all play a part in determining their style.

As humans, we subconsciously associate certain sounds with other experiences. For example, musicians will often use brass instruments during times of celebration or victory because those sounds are familiar to listeners.

In this article, you’ll discover some interesting facts about rock music! Who knows, you might find a new favorite band or song.

The British Invasion

After World War II, America was in need of an internal refresh. A sense of unity had been lost due to the country being divided over whether or not Franklin D. Roosevelt should have made concessions to Adolf Hitler.

A new national anthem wasn’t enough; people wanted to feel like they belonged to something bigger than themselves.

So music publishers began creating what would become known as the “Rock and Roll” style. This included genres such as ska, surf rock, blues-rock, folk-rock, and more.

These styles were characterized by catchy melodies, lyrics that expressed strong emotions, and guitar licks that could keep even the most seasoned musician up all night.

Many believe this genre originated in England with artists such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin. Others say it came directly from Mexico!

What isn’t disputed is the fact that these bands inspired an entire generation of musicians who wanted to make their own sounds. Many of them took creative cues from groups such as The Who, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, and The Yardbirds. (The latter two are especially credited for helping shape the development of heavy metal.)

Music theory has many terms used to describe different elements of songs. These include melodic motifs, harmonic progressions, meter, key changes, etc.

The rise of heavy metal

how rock music evolved

As we know, music can inspire many different emotions. There are songs for every mood! Heavy metal is an integral part of American culture that has left its indelible mark across all genres.

Heavy metal was not originally considered “music” per se. In fact, some people may even argue that it does not belong in the category of music at all. After all, what defines music as such seems to exclude certain types of sounds with intense grooves and strong lyrics.

Music theorists now consider heavy metal to be part of the larger genre known as hard rock. Hard rock is typically characterized by slow melodies, powerful bass lines, and vocals that emphasize intensity or growling. Soft guitar parts also exist, but they are rare.

The term “heavy metal” was first used in 1969 when British journalist Les Bihari described Led Zeppelin as a group that played heavy music. Since then, this style of music has exploded in popularity worldwide.

There are several reasons why heavy metals have become so popular around the world. To begin with, most heavy metal musicians write their own material. This allows them to add personal touches and emphasis on whatever aspects of the song they want.

Hard-hitting drum beats, rich basslines, and loud guitars are just some of the elements that make up a heavy piece of music. All these components work together to create an immersive experience for listeners.

The emergence of punk

how rock music evolved

Before there was grunge, before there were Brit-pop songs with guitars in them, there was something that sounded like no other music at the time. Punk!

The term “punk” may sound vague to some, but it really doesn’t mean much beyond its initial tone and effect. It is often described as loud, abrasive, and rebellious – good descriptors if you want to know what kind of music someone has given up on.

However, not everyone agrees that punk began in Britain or even America. Some say proto-punks experimented more directly with art than anything else. In India, members of the band Allah Las are credited with creating the genre by simply calling themselves a group called the Band. They would then go onto write their own lyrics and melodies while still wearing leather jackets!

In any case, most agree that two key components made up early punk: heavy bass lines and guitar chords that have dropped out of place. When musicians use these tools in new ways, we call it experimentation.

Many theories exist about why this style of music emerged during the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, one thing is for sure: people loved it!

Punk quickly spread across national boundaries. Many countries had their own local styles of punk, from Japan’s power rock to Germany’s krautrock.

Disco takes off

how rock music evolved

After World War II, America was in need of a new style to listen to. People needed something to shake them out of the constant state of fear that had consumed them for the past few years. They wanted music that would take their mind off of things for a while.

Disco is just such music. Discothèques are where disco originated, so it makes sense that people would want to hear this type of music. DJs play songs with heavy bass drops and rhythms that get people moving and shaking.

Many consider disco to be too simple and easy to follow, which is why other types of music have evolved from it. It paved its own way back then, and it still does today!

Music has always been influenced by what era it belongs to. This effect can be seen when comparing 1980’s hip hop to how we talk about rap now or 1970’s rock to how artists like Led Zeppelin shaped our ideas of what an album should be.

The rise of rap

how rock music evolved

As we know, music comes in many forms- some are louder than others, some have lyrics, and some just make you feel good! But what all songs share is a melody, rhythm, and structure that listeners relate to.

Music has evolved into several distinct genres, with different rules set for how they can be performed. One such genre is called rock.

Rock is usually defined as an instrumental song with a simple chord progression accompanied by strong vocals and a catchy melody. Some examples of classic rock bands include The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd.

While those artists’ styles of music shifted over time, their roots lie in the 1970s when they first came onto the scene. They inspired other musicians to create more experimental versions of themselves.

In this article, you will learn about five key developments in rock music that shaped the genre and influenced future generations.

#5 Alternative Music

Central theme: Finding new ways to express yourself

Product: Album

Genre: Rock

Length: Approximately 30 minutes – 1 hour long

What makes it significant: This album features only one main vocalist, no instruments except for drums, and very few lyrics. Instead, it explores various themes through music alone- creating an immersive experience.

Some songs on the album feature spacey effects, experimental instrumentation, or soft melodies. These qualities made the album popular across musical genres.

The 90s were big for rock

how rock music evolved

Between 1991 and 2000, there was a lot of growth in how we listen to music. Technology allowed for new ways to access music, creating room for newer styles. Grunge exploded onto the scene in 1992 with the debut of Nirvana’s Nevermind, which quickly skyrocketed into success!

The mid-to-late 1990s saw the rise of many different types of rock. We had grunge, alternative, hard rock, classic rock, and even some pop/rock songs that incorporated heavy metal elements. All these genres could be heard on the radio, in stores, and online at this time.

Music from this era is known as “90s music.” Many people have strong memories attached to it, making it very popular. Artists like Justin Timberlake, Oasis, Taylor Swift, Adele, One Direction, and Ariana Grande all belong to this category.

The 2000s were big for rock

how rock music evolved

Since the turn of the millennium, we’ve seen an explosion in diversity and variety within the genre. Artists have experimented with new styles and genres more frequently than ever before. We now have our first No Country For Old Men-style western rap songs, and artists incorporating elements from everything from jazz to trip hop into their music.

The decade also saw us hit all time highs for album sales every year. Technology has allowed musicians to produce, distribute, and market their work much faster than ever before, making it possible to keep up with the ever-expanding musical landscape.

And while some may argue that there is too much remix culture and sampling going on these days, rock as a whole seems to be embracing those trends more and more heavily!

Overall, the past ten years have been quite the ride for hard rock, heavy metal, punk, glam, grunge, alternative, pop, dance, and just plain old rock & roll.

The future of rock

how rock music evolved

Most people associate rock music with heavy metal, hard-hitting songs about drinking and violence, and lyrics that tell you to get in touch with your inner savage. But while those styles of music have always been a part of rock, they are not it’s main focus anymore.

Since the late 1980s, a new type of rock has emerged. It is characterized by introspective, emotional music written by intelligent musicians. Songs usually discuss themes such as love, life, death, and other philosophical concepts.

This style of music is known as “introspectionist rock or psychobilly.” Artists who play this kind of music include The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Florence And The Machine, Two Door Man, and even some hip hop artists like Drake and Future.

These types of bands make music for everyone; there is no one way to listen to their music. They appeal to all demographics because they contain rich melodies, catchy choruses, and powerful vocals.


This article will talk more in depth about these five groups and why they matter to you as an artist.

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