It is arguable that by the end of the 20th century, rock had established itself as the world’s dominant form of popular music. It began in the 1950s in the United States, spread to other English-speaking countries and throughout Europe in the 1960s, and by the 1990s its global influence was clear (if in many different local forms). The structure of the global recording industry, foreign record store outlets, and music radio and television playlist strategies reflected rock’s commercial value at the time. Classical, jazz, easy listening, country, folk and other types of music are marketed as minority preferences, while rock defines the musical mainstream. As a result, in the second half of the 20th century it became the most inclusive of musical labels – anything can be “rocked” and as a result the most difficult to describe. To answer the question “What is rock?” one must first understand its origins and what made it possible. And to understand rock’s cultural significance, one must first understand how it functions both socially and musically.
What is rock?
Rock meanings are difficult to pin down because the word has different connotations in British and American usage (the latter being broader in compass). While everyone agrees that rock is “a type of music with a strong beat,” it’s hard to be more specific. “Rock is a type of music with simple songs and a very strong beat played and sung, generally loudly, by a small group of people with electric guitars and drums”, according to the Collins Cobuild English Dictionary, although there are so many exceptions to this definition that it is practically worthless.
Legislators trying to classify mountains for regulatory purposes have had difficulty doing so. “Rock and rock-oriented music”, according to the Canadian government, “is characterized by a heavy rhythm, the use of blues forms and the inclusion of rock instruments such as an electric guitar, an electric bass, an organ or an electric piano. ” This means that rock can be formally distinguished from other types of music based on its sound. But really, the differences that matter to rock fans and musicians are ideological. The word “rock” was coined to distinguish certain types of music-making and listening habits from those associated with pop music; the problem wasn’t so much a sound as an attitude. Pop music was described as “any kind of music characterized by a strong rhythmic element and a reliance on electronic amplification for their sound” by British lawmakers in 1990. The music industry reacted angrily, arguing that such a term ignored the simple sociological distinction between pop. (“Instant single-based music aimed at teenagers”) and rock (“Album-based music for adults”). Legislators overlooked rock music’s importance in their search for definitional clarification.
Important rock musicians
The purpose of definition, both for lexicographers and legislators, is to understand a sentence and hold it in place so that people can use a word correctly—for example, to assign a track to the right radio outlet (rock, pop, country, jazz). The problem is that the word “rock” refers to an ever-changing musical practice influenced by a number of non-musical factors (of creativity, sincerity, commerce and popularity). It makes more sense to approach the historical concept of rock with examples. The musicians listed below played an important role in the development of rock music. What does it all have in common?