Rock music is one of the more popular music genres, as it has been for decades, but many are wondering if its best days are in the past, and we’re slowly shifting towards more upbeat mainstream music.
In this article, we’ll explore the history of rock music, where it’s at right now, and whether a comeback could be on the cards.
How has rock music evolved over the years?
Rock music has been around for quite a while, with many music experts tracing its origins back to the 1950s, with early trailblazers like Chuckberry and The Beatles laying down a path that newer artists could follow. From there, the genre really took off and in the following years we saw bands like The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin become global megastars, and things only went up from there.
Since then, the genre has continued to evolve, with there being countless sub-genres and influences having a knockoff effect and adding to the growing influence of rock music in general. Some of these influences helped form genres such as metal, punk, and alt-rock.
The 1990s saw a bit of a downturn for rock music as grunge and hip-hop began to dominate the charts. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in classic rock bands as well as newer acts like Greta Van Fleet and Rival Sons. This has led many to speculate that we could be on the verge of a full-blown rock revival.
The biggest rock bands in the world are able to sell out stadiums all over the world, whether they’re in San Francisco or Seoul. What’s more, these older bands sell huge amounts of music when they have their reunion tours after the hiatuses, which are all the more common for bands that’ve been in the game for a while.
What’s the current state of rock music?
The state of rock music is strong, with the genre regularly appearing on Billboard’s Top 100 charts and artists such as Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, and Post Malone crossing over into the mainstream. They aren’t rock artists in the same sense as the classics, but more and more we’re seeing artists cross the lines of genre and redefine what we think is possible.
However, some believe that rock music is no longer as popular as it once was and that the genre is in decline. This is supported by data from Nielsen Music, which shows that rock music sales have been declining since 2006. Rock definitely had its biggest moment in the early 00s, largely thanks to the popularity of metal, punk, and indie blending with the genre.
Despite this, there are still a number of hugely successful rock bands and artists such as Foo Fighters, Kasabian, and Red Hot Chili Peppers who continue to sell out arenas and stadiums around the world. They’re absolutely massive and look set to continue being as popular as ever, even if the genre overall continues to struggle.
For one thing, there are very few breakout rock stars anymore. Sure, we have our share of popular singers and guitarists but nobody truly captures the public imagination the way that Elvis Presley or Jimi Hendrix did in their heyday. It’s also worth noting that while classic rock radio stations are still going strong, they’re not exactly setting the world on fire with their ratings.
Could rock music make a big comeback?
Rock isn’t where it once was, and maybe it won’t ever be, but there is still a strong chance that things could bounce back after a recent slump in mass appeal. Rock music is no longer what we mainly hear on the radio, despite elements of it being sampled and used by other, more mainstream artists. This gives us hope that a comeback could one day be on the cards, even if it won’t reach the same heights as before.
As we mentioned before, classic rock bands continue to sell out stadiums, and new albums by established acts regularly debut at the top of the charts. Furthermore, many young people are starting to discover classic rock bands for themselves, thanks to streaming services like Spotify and YouTube.
An example of this would be Pearl Jam selling out their recent gig in Imola, Italy when the crowd was full of young people who had traveled from all over Europe to see the aging rock band. Young people, at least the edgier ones, take pride in being able to listen to older music that their parents likely exposed them to at a younger age, even if it isn’t cool according to their peers.
Of course, all of this is just speculation at this point. Only time will tell if rock music can make a full-blown comeback or if it will remain a niche genre enjoyed by a small group of diehard fans. Does that really matter? There’s still an excellent pipeline of young rock bands, and while they may often indulge in a more indie sound, they’re definitely carrying the torch for the broader rock genre.