Top 10 Most Influential Rock Music Movements
Rock music represents freedom for every single rocker. Spanning dozens of subgenres, rock music offers rockers several avenues for them to express their every emotion and idea. The sheer angst of grunge music was quite infectious during the early 90’s. The energetic approach of punk music to the anarchistic movement was a milestone in British music history. Breaking the cycle from the standard norms of music was the driving force of early British rock. These music movements gradually evolved the rock music genre as new subgenres were added and redefined. Each music movement greatly contributed to what this generation calls rock music. Here are ten of the most definitive rock music movements that influenced the current trend of rock.
10. Nu Metal
The term Nu Metal is more of a label than an actual subgenre. Some of the bands that supposedly fall under the nu metal category display very different characteristics. In fact, most of them can fall under some of the more established subgenres. It just so happened that flocks of bands sprouted out of the woodwork after Korn released its debut album in 1994.
Korn barged on to the music scene with their attempt to innovate heavy metal. They managed to inspire a ton of new bands to follow their footsteps. Those bands didn’t exactly sound like Korn, but they also played music that tried to innovate the other subgenres of rock. This infuriated music purists as they bashed the entire nu metal scene in music magazines. Ultimately, this led to the downfall of the movement and the nu metal bands found themselves in their true genres.
Juvenile heartbreaks are some of the unforgettable moments on your road to becoming a full-fledged adult. During those times, you’d often find yourself sulking in one corner because your crush ignored you along the way. Strange as this may sound, but a lot of Emo songs tackle this topic. It’s quite strange to see fully grown men whine like teenagers as they struggle in their romantic attempts. Who could blame them since Emo is derived from the word emotional?
This strange genre first appeared in 1985 as a good alternative to hardcore music. It eventually faded away since hardcore was still the obvious choice of punk and metal fans. It re-emerged in 1994 and featured bands like Jimmy Eat World and The Get-up Kids. By the year 2000, emo was formally embraced by the masses since everyone can actually relate to its emotional theme. Today, emo continues to be one of the current musical trends, but it is being threatened by the emergence of newer subgenres like disco punk and the reappearance of Brit rock.
Sweetness – Jimmy Eat World
8. Alternative Rock
Alternative Rock is just like a good movie with an unconnected sequel. It first appeared at the time when grunge was starting to lose steam due to the death of Kurt Cobain in 1994. Alternative rock sounded like a pacified version of grunge at that time. The guitars are prominent, but not too heavy, and the song themes don’t have the level of angst found in grunge anthems. Audiences were captured by it at first, but since it is heavily based on grunge, it faded away shortly after it. At the turn of the 20th century, the term alternative rock re-emerged with an entirely different flavor. Gone are the heavy guitars and the angst overtones. It became more like pop music with guitars and drums. The second coming of alternative rock appealed to a lot of people because it hit both the pop and rock audience, although rock critics are seldom happy with alternative records.
One of the first popular alternative rock bands-REM
7. Glam Rock
Glam rock wasn’t only about the music; it was about living the rockstar lifestyle to the fullest. The entire glam era was a period marked by big hair, spandex tights and performance art. Frontmen pranced on stage and developed some of the default rockstar moves that current bands use. Along with the 70’s hard rock era, the glam generation also featured bands wrecking their hotel rooms and having sex with countless groupies in a celebration of rockstar hedonism.
Glam rock bands usually played heavy themes accompanied by long guitar solos. The lyrics often pertained to personal hedonistic acts and surrealism. You can probably describe glam rock as The Rolling Stones on steroids. Bands such as Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith, Skid Row, Kiss and Poison highlighted this movement.
Sweet Child O’ Mine – Guns N’ Roses
6. New Wave
Lively danceable music was often classified by people as disco or some other dance music genre. New wave was often mistaken for a modernized form of disco, but it actually is one of the legit subgenres of rock. New wave is one of the movements borne out of the punk rock scene. It was created by a young group of punk rockers who wanted a more mainstream version of punk. The end result is friendly punk music that is either played by a band or played through electronic devices. New Wave was the most prominent music genre during the 80’s. It reigned supreme in every mainstream countdown at the time when glam rock ruled the underground scene.
Boys Don’t Cry (Live) – The Cure
5. Brit Rock / Britpop
If you were going to look for a modern day version of The Beatles, you would probably get dizzy with the amount of Brit Rock and Scandinavian Rock acts scattered throughout the subgenre. You can easily point your fingers at bands like Blur, Oasis, Radiohead and Muse, but then again, that role should be reserved for a single band, right?
Brit rock is the current movement ruling the airwaves. With hits spanning dozens of subcategories, Brit rock has successfully cemented its name on the list of significant rock music movements. Exceptional acts like Coldplay have influenced a plethora of new artists to step up and create music. With the potential shown by this movement, it might rival the movements occupying the first four slots of this list.
Muse performing in Toronto
4. 70’s Punk Rock
The 70’s punk rock scene is the British’s answer to the 70’s hard rock era of the Americans. This movement was beyond a musical movement; it actually sparked a lifestyle that paved the way for a lot of succeeding subcultures and lifestyles. In fact, the punk subculture is still gaining fame at this very moment. Started by punk legends Sid Vicious and The Ramones, the punk movement supported radical ideologies like anarchy and it despised elitism and racism. This movement brought to life other successful movements such as New Wave, Brit Rock and Emo.
Sid Vicious and his Girlfriend
3. Grunge Rock
At the dawn of glam rock’s musical domination, Seattle-based bands began spreading their take on hard rock music. They snagged the spotlight from those big-haired glam rockers and began treating music fans with their brand of music. In 1991, Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains flourished. They went on to dominate the rock music scene for almost the entire decade.
Grunge rock is defined by its heavy guitars and the use of “dirty” guitar effects like distortions and feedback. It is also known for its angst and apathetic fashion statement. During grunge’s heyday, a lot of fans focused on the gray areas of their lives. This gave rise to the grunge subculture that is still exists. The popularity of grunge rock eventually waned down near the end of the 20 century, but it left rockers a definitive lasting impression. The heavy, thick guitar playing and the troubled statements carried over to some of the succeeding rock music movements.
The Screaming Life
2. 70’s Hard Rock
Pioneering is the identifiable quality of 70’s hard rock music. Coined as the formative years of rock and roll, bands like The Who, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin defined the rock genre and separated it from pop music. This is also the time when the heavy metal genre was born. These bands played some of the earliest forms of aggressive music. Initially, it did not attract a whole lot of listeners because people at that time weren’t accustomed to hearing such loud and heavy music. It was only in the late 70’s when people embraced the genre. Yes, this period may not sound too favorable for the mainstream market, but this is one of the most important eras for rock and roll. A lot of the bands in this movement happen to be the influences of significant rock bands in the succeeding movements.
Black Sabbath in 1970
1. Early British Rock
Rock music’s existence is based on the musical breakthrough produced by perhaps the most reputable rock band in history, The Beatles. During the 60’s, when contemporary music dominated the airwaves and dictated the pop culture, The Beatles came like musical messiahs with their “free music” and their free spirits. They played their own brand of pop and rock music that caught the attention of the entire world. What happened next was beyond the expectation of everyone, even The Beatles. People traded their contemporary records for the strange music that The Beatles played and eventually the general populace began emulating each member of the band. Soon, they dominated every music chart en route to becoming the best-selling musical act of all time. Their influence on the masses soon defined the entire 60’s generation and paved the way for all the succeeding pop and rock musical movements. Forty years after, bands that play Beatles-inspired music continue to appear and gain public attention. The Beatles just proved to the entire world that a good idea can set the standards for all the succeeding generations.
With the Beatles
Rock music is all about expressing your thoughts, inhibitions, loves and hates without any barriers. Through each of these music movements, rock continues to diversify and cater more converts. One day, you might find your dad rocking out to a new rock music movement in the same way he probably supported The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. Who knows?