Portal:Rock music

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Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s, developing into a range of different styles in the mid-1960s and later, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style that drew directly from the blues and rhythm and blues genres of African-American music and from country music. Rock also drew strongly from a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical, and other musical styles. For instrumentation, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass guitar, drums, and one or more singers. Usually, rock is song-based music with a 4
4
time signature
using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political. Rock was the most popular genre of music in the United States and much of the Western world from the 1950s to the 2010s and remains popular.

Rock musicians in the mid-1960s began to advance the album ahead of the single as the dominant form of recorded music expression and consumption, with the Beatles at the forefront of this development. Their contributions lent the genre a cultural legitimacy in the mainstream and initiated a rock-informed album era in the music industry for the next several decades. By the late 1960s "classic rock" period, a number of distinct rock music subgenres had emerged, including hybrids like blues rock, folk rock, country rock, southern rock, raga rock, and jazz rock, many of which contributed to the development of psychedelic rock, which was influenced by the countercultural psychedelic and hippie scene. New genres that emerged included progressive rock, which extended the artistic elements, glam rock, which highlighted showmanship and visual style, and the diverse and enduring subgenre of heavy metal, which emphasized volume, power, and speed. In the second half of the 1970s, punk rock reacted by producing stripped-down, energetic social and political critiques. Punk was an influence in the 1980s on new wave, post-punk and eventually alternative rock.

From the 1990s, alternative rock began to dominate rock music and break into the mainstream in the form of grunge, Britpop, and indie rock. Further fusion subgenres have since emerged, including pop punk, electronic rock, rap rock, and rap metal, as well as conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk and techno-pop revivals in the 2000s. The 2010s saw a slow decline in rock music's mainstream popularity and cultural relevancy, with hip hop surpassing it as the most popular genre in the United States; rock was the most popular music genre in the United States and much of the Western world from the 1950s to the late 2010s. (Full article...)

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The illustrated music sheet cover for Shoe Tickler Rag, an example of American ragtime dance music from 1911.
American popular music has had a profound effect on music across the world. The country has seen the rise of popular styles that have had a significant influence on global culture, including ragtime, blues, jazz, swing, rock, bluegrass, country, R&B, doo wop, gospel, soul, funk, punk, disco, house, techno, salsa, grunge and hip hop. In addition, the American music industry is quite diverse, supporting a number of regional styles such as zydeco, klezmer and slack-key.

Distinctive styles of American popular music emerged early in the 19th century, and in the 20th century the American music industry developed a series of new forms of music, using elements of blues and other genres These popular styles included country, R&B, jazz and rock. The 1960s and 1970s saw a number of important changes in American popular music, including the development of a number of new styles, such as heavy metal, punk, soul, and hip hop. Though these styles were not in the sense of mainstream, they were commercially recorded and are thus examples of popular music as opposed to folk or classical music. (Full article...)

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Promotional photograph of Elvis Presley, taken in 1954.
Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), often referred to mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the "King of Rock and Roll", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race relations, led him to both great success and initial controversy.

Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, with his family when he was 13 years old. His music career began there in 1954, recording at Sun Records with producer Sam Phillips, who wanted to bring the sound of African-American music to a wider audience. Presley, on rhythm acoustic guitar, and accompanied by lead guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, was a pioneer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. In 1955, drummer D. J. Fontana joined to complete the lineup of Presley's classic quartet and RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who would manage him for more than two decades. Presley's first RCA Victor single, "Heartbreak Hotel", was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit in the United States. Within a year, RCA would sell ten million Presley singles. With a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records, Presley became the leading figure of the newly popular sound of rock and roll; though his performative style and promotion of the then-marginalized sound of African Americans led to him being widely considered a threat to the moral well-being of the White American youth.

In November 1956, Presley made his film debut in Love Me Tender. Drafted into military service in 1958, Presley relaunched his recording career two years later with some of his most commercially successful work. He held few concerts, however, and guided by Parker, proceeded to devote much of the 1960s to making Hollywood films and soundtrack albums, most of them critically derided. Some of his most famous films included Jailhouse Rock (1957), Blue Hawaii (1961), and Viva Las Vegas (1964). In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed television comeback special Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley gave the first concert by a solo artist to be broadcast around the world, Aloha from Hawaii. Years of prescription drug abuse and unhealthy eating habits severely compromised his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at his Graceland estate at the age of 42.

Having sold over 500 million records worldwide, Presley is recognized as the best-selling solo music artist of all time by Guinness World Records. He was commercially successful in many genres, including pop, country, rhythm & blues, adult contemporary, and gospel. Presley won three Grammy Awards, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame. He holds several records, including the most RIAA-certified gold and platinum albums, the most albums charted on the Billboard 200, the most number-one albums by a solo artist on the UK Albums Chart, and the most number-one singles by any act on the UK Singles Chart. In 2018, Presley was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Full article...)

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Idlewild South is the second studio album by American southern rock band the Allman Brothers Band. Produced by Tom Dowd, the album was released on September 23, 1970 in the United States by Atco Records and Capricorn Records. Following the release of their 1969 debut, the Allman Brothers Band toured the United States extensively to promote the album, which had little commercial success. Their performances, however, did create positive word of mouth exposure that extended to more famous musicians, such as Eric Clapton, who invited group leader Duane Allman to contribute to his 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

As a result of the band's relentless touring schedule, Idlewild South was recorded gradually over a period of five months in various cities, including New York, Miami, and Macon, Georgia, the band's adopted home. Tom Dowd had previously been sought to record the group's debut but had been unavailable. The material presented on Idlewild South was written during this period and tested out on the road at shows. The album's title comes from the band's nickname for a rustic cabin the band rented out and used for rehearsals, as well as parties. Idlewild South contains two of the band's best-known songs, "Midnight Rider" (later a hit for various artists) and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed", which became one of the band's famous concert numbers.

The album was released in September 1970 but again failed to achieve significant success. Sales began to grow, however, due to over 300 shows the band put on in 1970, setting the stage for their artistic and commercial breakthrough with 1971's live follow-up album, At Fillmore East. Following the band's increased fame in the early 1970s, this album and its self-titled debut, The Allman Brothers Band, were repackaged into the compilation album Beginnings. In 1973, Beginnings was certified gold for sales of 500,000 copies, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. (Full article...)

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"Watching the River Flow" is a blues rock song by American singer Bob Dylan. Produced by Leon Russell, it was written and recorded during a session in March 1971 at the Blue Rock Studio in New York City. The collaboration with Russell formed in part through Dylan's desire for a new sound—after a period of immersion in country rock music—and for a change from his previous producer. The song was praised by critics for its energy and distinctive vocals, guitar, and piano. It has been interpreted as Dylan's account of his writer's block in the early 1970s, and his wish to deliver less politically engaged material and find a new balance between public and private life.

Charting in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States, the song was included on the 1971 Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II, and other Dylan compilation albums. In 2011, five current and former Rolling Stones appeared on a recording of "Watching the River Flow" as part of a tribute project for pianist Ian Stewart. The song has been covered by the Earl Scruggs Revue, Steve Gibbons, Colin James, Russell, and many others. (Full article...)

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Scorpions - 07.jpg
Credit: Carlos Delgado CC-BY-SA

Paweł Mąciwoda, bassist of German rock band Scorpions, in Madrid, Spain in 2014.

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The new wave of British heavy metal (commonly abbreviated as NWOBHM) was a nationwide musical movement that started in England in the mid-1970s and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the mid to late 1970s, during the period of punk rock's decline and the dominance of new wave music. (Full article...)

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Silent Alarm is the debut studio album by English rock band Bloc Party. Recorded in Copenhagen and London in mid-2004 with Paul Epworth as producer, it was released on 2 February 2005, by Wichita Recordings. The album peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart. In the United States, it entered the Billboard 200 at number 114 and the Billboard Independent Albums at number seven. The double A-side "So Here We Are/Positive Tension", "Banquet" and "The Pioneers" were released as singles. Silent Alarm went on to achieve worldwide sales of over one million copies.

Bloc Party aimed to create an album that appealed to followers of different musical genres. Building on the arrangements in their demo songs recorded in 2004, the band members moulded tracks largely through live takes during the Silent Alarm studio sessions. The compositional focus was on rhythm and the drum and bass parts, while lyricist Kele Okereke's writing examined the feelings and hopes of young adults, including views on global politics. Following the album's completion, Bloc Party embarked on promotional tours before its release. (Full article...)

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