Welcome students, today’s lesson is all about the ins and outs of our fantastic music genre Rock! Now whether you’re new to this or not, there’s a handful of bands who influenced the music industry so much that we wouldn’t have the bands or sounds of today without them.
Some of these you may of heard of, some of them maybe not, but all of them should be listened to if at least only one album each to get a sense of where they have influenced some of your favourite bands of today (some of them may even be your favourite bands still and ya know what? That’s cool too!)
So come with me as we embark on this crazy journey that I like to call… Rock 101!
The year is 1960, the swinging sixties are about to hit full force. Taboos are gonna go out the window; racism and sexism don’t seem to matter anymore and neither does how you talk. Space exploration is at its height by the end of the decade when humans land on the moon. Regional accents are about hit full force in the media and that of course is where we start our journey.
The Beatles: Enter John, Paul, George and Ringo from Liverpool. Now you may or may not like The Beatles, but you will definitely have heard of them. Now personally I’m not a massive fan of their work, but their earlier stuff I feel is better than their later stuff (but that might just be cause their later stuff makes no sense, I mean honestly “we all live in a yellow submarine”… and what drugs were you on at the time guys?), but either way they were a major influence on the face of music and were the start of teenage influence with music media. No longer were girls mini-versions of their mother who wanted to just grow up to be the perfect housewife. No, they wore mini-skirts now and screamed like no one has ever screamed before. All because of these four guys from Liverpool. So if you wonder why that girl is screaming next to you at the singer of the band you’re watching, who you both know is old enough to be her dad… blame The Beatles.
Album you should check out: A Hard Day’s Night (it may not be their most popular, but I feel it shows what they were capable of truly before the 60’s and all it’s drugs got a hold of any of them)
The Rolling Stones: In 1962 came along Brian, Ian, Mick, Keith, Bill and Charlie who started to bring Rhythm and Blues or R ‘n’ B as it became known to the masses (yeah that’s proper R ‘n’ B, not that bullshit that they call it these days). Of course these days their line up is different and features Ronnie Wood, but this is 1962 and he weren’t around then when they first hit. These were my mum’s favourite band as I was growing up and I used to change all the words to their songs as I’d sing along. I became a Stones fan thanks to my mum early on and have seen them in concert a couple of times (which is amazing!). They can still move like they used to, even at their age, and they’re STILL rocking out 50 years on, it’s amazing! Most of our bands these days barely make the 10 year mark, so to have 5 times that is shocking! One direct influence I can think of from this band is Adam Lazzara from Taking Back Sunday doing Mick Jagger’s ‘chicken step’ on stage, something I love to watch.
Album you should check out: Sticky Fingers (this was a truly hard choice cause some of my favourite songs are spread across so many of their albums. A greatest hits album like ‘Forty Licks’ might be a good way to go). Anyway this album was released in 1971 and contains two of the bands most fantastic songs and I love it!
The Who: One of England’s finest rock bands to have ever existed. Known for their instrument destruction and energetic live performances, The Who shot to fame pretty quickly. They were the nasty boys that were the juxtaposition for The Beatles over-niceness. Keith Moon was an amazing drummer but he ruined himself with drugs as so many great musicians did. But at least in his lifetime he could be part of such an influential band who also started the rock opera with Tommy and Quadrophenia and influenced countless other genres away from just the rock.
Album you should check out: My Generation. This is the album that shot them to fame and brought about mayhem to Britain and the rest of the world. You’ll have probably heard the title track used in an Austin Powers movie and countless other things the world over, but it’s worth checking the whole thing (and after that, head into some other albums, maybe a greatest hits. There’s a host of amazing songs from this band).
Jimi Hendrix: Considered to be the greatest electric guitarist in the history of music. Not only was he a lefty, but he could play the guitar with his teeth. Whilst creepy; also pretty impressive. I just want to know what made him go “I know, I’ll put it in my mouth to play”. Anyway, he developed some notable techniques that are used the world over today such as amplifier feedback because he favoured raw overdriven amps with high gain and treble. He also popularised the use of the wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock.
Album you should check out: Are You Experienced. Contains some of his most well known songs including ‘Purple Haze’. This album is so good it’s been permanently preserved in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in the US.
Well that’s the swinging 60’s!