Rock music is a unique genre of music which was originally played in the United States of America as rock and roll as from the 1940s. The distinct sound of rock music is the loud electric guitar accompanied by the electric bass guitar, drums, and cymbals. Other instruments are also incorporated, but on a softer note such as the piano. However, through the years rock music has developed into different styles and does not always have a similar sound. First, there is the instrumental style which is loud and has little or no vocals. Secondly, we have the hard rock which is heavy on instruments and is accompanied by vocals. Thirdly, we have contemporary or alternative rock music which is a blend of different styles of rock music. Lastly and most importantly, we have the soft rock or pop rock which is widely recognized and is the modern sound of rock music (Ford, 2013).
The legends of rock music trace their origins in the US and the UK. Elvis Aaron Presley, who released all time classic rock songs such as “Heartbreak Hotel” and “That’s All Right Mama” is recognized as the king of ‘rock and roll’ music genre and is the second earning dead musician behind Michael Jackson. On the other hand, the English rock band from Liverpool, the Beatles still remains one of the most significant and prominent rock bands in the US and Britain. The term “Beatlemania” was coined to identify their worldwide popularity and they are the most successful music act in history. Modern influential rock acts are softer and more refined in their music such as Coldplay, Journey, Linkin Park and Katy Perry (Ford, 2013).
Rock music has contributed significantly to the social organization in society. This is in terms of ideologies, associations, and fashion. The punk, Goth and emo subcultures were influenced by rock music. These cultures advocate for individual freedom and have been credited for eliminating racial discrimination. To a large extent, these have yielded positive results, but on the flip side, rock music extremism has a negative impact especially for young people. This is because rock music has been allied with advocating for excessive sexual freedom, drug abuse and disregard to political issues (Novara, 2014).
Listeners of rock music around the world have a rock culture which incorporates rock music into their lifestyle. Initially, rock music was used to influence political issues on the status quo, such as the establishment of the dominant elite groups. Today, rock music is a mainstream genre of music which relates significantly to its listeners through romance and more distinctly through its perspectives on different life issues. This is because the themes addressed in rock music express consistent views on love, life, and death, thus uniting its listeners in the rock culture (Novara, 2014).
The main reason I listen to rock music is because of its in-depth thought and authentic message in its lyrics which speaks directly to the soul. Different from other genres of music such as rap music which is random and impulsive, most rock songs demonstrate a well-arranged pattern of thought on the subject matter. The combination of concrete content together with organized rhythm and sound makes rock music ideal for listening to. The existence of different sub-genres of rock music offers a wide variety and gives it a greater platform in terms of reaching its different audiences. The great variety also makes rock music ideal for all occasions as it is easily switched to suit different moods.
The rock tradition will continue to dominate society because the rock legends are still influential and are consistently succeeded by modern rock acts. The main requirement in maintaining a radiant rock tradition is enhancing creativity and ensuring artists are well equipped with vast content covering a variety of key issues in society. The dominance of classic rock music from the previous decades tells of a firm foundation and a never ending thirst for rock music, even with the evolution of music from audio to visual media. Therefore, rock music will continue to be alive and relevant in society through its continuation of today’s generation and those to come.
Novara, V. J. (2014). Before Elvis: The Prehistory of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Notes, 71(1), 101-103.
Ford, D. (2013). Preserving Music History. Library Journal, 138(18), 65.