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Once, music wasn’t digital or synthesized, but quality and authentic. Rock music is different from the pop genre; it has different instruments blending together cohesively with an old nostalgia vibe for a different age. Classic rock is a great escape from the humdrum regularity of modern bubblegum, so if you’re looking for a change, here’s a list of rock bands that will educate you about the soulful masterpiece of the classics on top of making you want to buy tons of vinyl records. In the words of ACDC, “for those about to rock, we salute you.”
The Beatles, the Grateful Dead, the Doors, Steppenwolf, The Rolling Stones, the Who, Jimi Hendrix
When thinking of music from the ‘60s, the notorious Beatles tend to come to mind. The Beatles were iconic in this era, with hits like “Come Together” and “Hey Jude” that are still popular today. Formed in 1965, the Doors pair the typical hard rock with long psychedelic keyboard solos. The Rolling Stones are a staple in rock history because of their musical creativity. Their most famous songs are “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “Brown Sugar”, “Start Me Up”, and “Sympathy for the Devil”. The Who may best be known for Keith Moon’s reckless drum solos, and once even had an album hit the Broadway stage (“Tommy”, 1969). Jimi Hendrix is considered the greatest guitarist of all time. Enough said.
Jimi Hendrix, “Purple Haze”:
The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”:
Boston, Journey, Foreigner, Blue Oyster Cult, Creedence, Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Styx, Heart, Queen, Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Pink Floyd, ACDC, Black Sabbath
The ‘70s was when the music took it up a notch with more varied styles of rock. The music exhibits more amplified guitar, edgier lyrics and outspoken drumming. ACDC is a perfect example of this with songs from their Back in Black album such as “TNT” and “Highway to Hell”, being so intense that Angus Young, lead guitarist, couldn’t help but jam his way across the stage in concert. Queen is on the opposite end of the spectrum with music that can best be described as “theater rock.” Songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” showcase a huge range of vocals throughout the first two thirds of the song, and comes to an end with a more classical definition of rock music. Their unique style is impossible to recreate. Creedence Clearwater Revival and Fleetwood Mac explore softer, mellower tunes with hints of a folk sound. This category offers many more choices, so don’t discount the 70s as just disco.
Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody”:
Duran Duran, INXS, 38 Special, REM, Bon Jovi, Tom Petty, The Police, U2, Def Leppard, Twisted Sister, Guns n’ Roses, Poison, Motley Crue, Metallica, Iron Maiden
It’s not just Twisted Sister that was twisted in the ‘80s. In this era, rock music did a genderbend with the rise of the hairbands. Flowing locks and thick make-up abound, the look may have been feminine but the music was hardcore: with the heavy make-up came the heavy metal. Tommy Lee of Motley Crue plays fast furious drums while literally spinning through the air, and Joe Elliot of Def Leppard belts out serious vocals in songs like Photograph and Rock of Ages. Bon Jovi didn’t have to “live on a prayer” because his music made the band plenty of money. Songs like Bad Medicine and You Give Love a Bad Name blend the elements of pop and hard rock.
If you aren’t into heavier rock music but still want to check out the decade, try the folksier rock of Tom Petty or the alternative styles of INXS and Duran Duran.
Def Leppard, “Photograph”:
Tom Petty, “You Got Lucky”:
U2 belongs in a class all its own. U2 manages to pair philanthropic lyrics with a rock sound unique to all others. The guitar manages to have its own voice yet still blend simultaneously with the other instruments. “Pride”, a song about civil rights that highlights Martin Luther King Jr., has quick guitar with steady drums. Although the song is about a moment in US history, one cannot help but feel a touch of Irish when listening to this song. Other favorites to check out include: “Where the Streets Have No Name”, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, “New Year’s Day” and “Desire”.
Some people may disregard these decades of music because they consider them old or outdated. The truth is that they have withstood the test of time. It’s hard to imagine what music being produced today will be listened to as classics 20 or 30 years from now. So going back in time to hold on to the long-standing artists of the past is the solution for those who truly want to rock.