It’s interesting to kind of know or see that some music from the last 40-50 years is now classic and considered something that is long ago or for some too long ago. I think music followed more or less a natural progression until the 90’’s. Of course we are talking popular music with all it’s subdivided genres. Though Blues and Jazz go back within a century…and classical music has it’s modern composers making music also within one hundred years.
Let’s start with the 1950’s- the birth of Rock and Roll or so it was called that borrowed heavily on Blues which came before it and has recordings as early as the first third of the 20th century. In the 1950’s it was a burst of new music and one band and artist came on the heels of another. Truly it’s an era that can not be duplicated both for the songwriting and also for it’s sound. Though it was in some ways influenced by the music of the 40’s, the new artists and bands pioneered the blueprint for Rock and Roll. It is an interesting thing to note that the sound(s) which came from the studio were very similar and that would be how music would be produced up until the late 20th to the 21st century. The music of the 50’s was about Pop, Dance, and Relationships like a retelling of the bards in centuries long ago.
With the Beatles and bands imitating them the era grew into the 60’s where in the middle of the 60’s you could sense a slow but sure departure from the energetic showing of the 50’s into a broader music and more experimental especially toward the late 60’s into the seventies. With the hippie movement songs were about experimentation with mind powers and more issues on the feminine movement and about experiences that were not always so happy or not always easily defined. The great performers of the 60’s though is still prominent today which can tell you what forces they really were in music. Though the 50’s were the birth of Rock and Roll for the mainstream, the 60’s showed real creativity and a new look for community in some cases and not just the relationship of boy-girl topics and psychedelic rock.
After the early 70’s when the hippie movement was declining and people were distressed about the Vietnam war, more anti-establishment views came out and there were songs about trying to make peace as well as the dark subjects of human relations and it’s upbeat topics as well.
The 70’s were giving birth to a big panorama of not only music but subjects as well. With the early 70’s came the blueprint for Heavy Metal, Art Rock, New soul music, Glam music and everything in between. Just like the 60’s were an explosion of new bands and music that was evolving form the 50’s, the 70’s took the experimental flower age into new frontiers with some thoughts about space probably influenced by the moon landing.
The first heavy metal bands came mostly in the early 70’s. As the era progressed along there were more Art Rock bands and influences of more bands by the new-age movement. Somewhere in the mid to late 70’s there became a pop scene or what was called bubble-gum pop, though this term had been used before, however songs became in some ways more laid back, a softer side to the music previously had seemed to come in the mainstream with exceptions of the Progressive, Art Rock, and Heavy metal bands that were toiling along.
Then in the late 70’s there came Disco, a complete opposite of the whole era and era of the 60’s…With stomping beats sometimes with drum machines and a goal alone to get people to dance. Around the end of the 70’s and in a sticking contrast to all the music before including disco came Punk music. Punk was not about the finesse and musicianship of Progressive Rock bands nor was much about anything other than a bit of Rock but to make music that was a ‘not-music’ even though some were melodious to an extent, it was a lot about shouting and keeping the guitar part simple however a lot of great bands and musicians came from the Punk Music even up to today.
With all of the great effort of the music of the 1970’s, the 80’ was for the most part a new field for music. On the onset borrowing from Punk, Rock and even some of the dance effect of Disco, the 80’s were a brand new time for music where everything before was eclipsed by the fresh, new, shininess of the the rock and pop scene of the 80’s.
It seemed as though everyone was willing to forget the 70’s and go into the new unexposed territory combining Synths, Guitars, Drum machines and the like thought Metal bands were starting to make big influences and a lot of the new kind of metal was gaining audience starting from the last years of the 70’s into the 80’s. As well other bands did not abandon their rock roots either, but on the radio most of the music was revolved around pop with exception of select and hard to find stations.
The 80’s was the era also when Alternative music had began with some growing up from their roots in Punk and others completely experimental and off the dial. It would be the influence of the Alternative music of the 80’s that later would be the Alternative coming into the 90’s and up until just before the 21st century.
That said with the scene in the late 80’s being saturated with Pop and into the first year of the 90’s finally the music found Alternative music of the early 90’s which would grow and mutate into Alternative of the mid 90’s. It was one of the few genres to change a scene and the culture into something different like the era of the mid to late 60’s did for music.
Then from the late 90’s into the first or so year of the new century were Punk-Rap Metal bands against the pole of Bubble gum Pop again with Boy Bands sprouting up as they have a tendency to do.
However, the music of the early 21st century was not easily definable and there still were plenty of bands with the Alternative rub and other bands that have been around making new and impressive songs. The culture of music of the 21st century has seemed to be of a wider mix of genres an types of bands and sounds more than any other era before it. Perhaps with the use of computers having a role more in production has given artists greater ability to craft their sound as well as technology in the instruments and amplifiers etc themselves.
It seems as though music is at a crossroads now in the beginning of the 21st century and that we can speculate of what will be the next game-changer in music. With all of the influences from before, from the 50’s until now the next great thing could be well…anything.