As society evolves, the sound of music also changes. So, music is like a reflection of our cultural evolution. Not only does music change with society, but it changes with technological advances as well. While technology gets better, musicians get to introduce new styles and new ways for people to listen.
Now, ever wonder what music was like in the years before? Or who were the artists from that time strived their way up? Right now, I will be sharing with you the history of music, including the styles. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover something new today, and it might be something that’ll help you through your musical journey.
- The 1950s
Following World War II’s detrimental effects, the US was about to embark on a musical journey that would change the face of music for the decades to come. Music at this time reflected the beginnings of major social changes in the world, especially the US. Rock n’ Roll, Rhythm & Blues (R&B), and traditional pop ruled the charts. Simultaneously, radio and television connected the people with their musical tastes and exposed the world to a greater variety of artists and styles.
Although there were racial tensions in this decade, others believed that R&B and Rock n’ Roll’s popularization helped bridged the gap between blacks and whites and furthered the civil rights movement. While these genres paved the way for future music, traditional pop and country music stuck to the past with old standards. All in all, this decade was a time of innovation that helped influence everything that we listen to today.
Great artists at this time include Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Pat Boone, and Tony Bennett.
- The 1960s
In 1963 and the years to follow, many social influences changed what popular music was and gave birth to the diversity we experience with music today. President Kennedy’s assassination, the escalation of the war in Vietnam, and the forward-progress of the Civil Rights Movement all greatly impacted the mood of American culture. The “British Invasion” also began in this decade when The Beatles arrived on the music scene.
The British Invasion was well known because of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Aretha Franklin. Hard rock was also one of the famous genres in this decade, having popular artists such as The Who and Janis Joplin. Also, Acapella was born with rising artists like The Persuasions and The Concepts. It was really a decade of a lot of changes.
- The 1970s
This decade became a perfect musical bridge between the rebelliousness of the 60s and the happy songs from the 80s. You should also know that the 70s created the trend of relaxing music and dance music. Out of the idea that many people before sought refuge in dance clubs and other places to have a good time, the disco movement emerged. There were still bands playing the music telling the ills of the society, but most people were just looking for another way to vent out their frustrations. And by this time, they found it from the fun disco provides.
So, disco became one of the biggest and most despised trends in music during the decade. But did you know that it was so pervasive that many established singers and bands came out with disco songs such as rockers like Blondie and Rod Stewart? Well, it was something necessary for them to keep up with the trends.
Popular genres at this time were disco, punk, funk soul, glam rock, and country-pop. And there’s a lot of popular artists that got big in this decade that we still know of today. This includes ABBA, Billy Joel, The Jackson 5, Barry Manilow, Sex Pistols, Marvin Gaye, The Bee Gees, and many more.
- The 1980s
A drastic change came into the world when Music Television (MTV) came. But what does this mean? This meant that music videos became more and more necessary for artists to gain popularity and sell records. When it came to music during the decade, nothing was understated, not sound, not fashion, not charity. The 1980s reflected the beginning of a great income disparity, and a focus on affluence was reflected in the music.
Greater importance was placed on the appearance of musicians, and gimmicks became commonplace. Did you know who the most dominant artist was at this time? It was actually Michael Jackson. He was helped by his creative music videos, pure talent, and music videos setting pop music standards.
Other genres that emerged were hip-hop, new wave, and synth-pop. The electronic sounds of new wave and synth-pop fit perfectly with the beginnings of the computer age. Cool J, Duran Duran, Whitney Houston, Madonna, Lionel Ritchie, and David Bowie made their names during this era.
- The 1990s
The musical era of the 1990s was filled with a variety of pop, rap, and alternative music. It was a time when musical taste was as varied as the events that were happening at the time. Many of the most popular acts that emerged in the 1990s were bands and artists who enjoyed a type of resurgence in the mainstream music scene after their popularity dwindled for a decade.
Also, just like the 60s, this was a decade of extremes with under-produced, anti-establishment grunge bands and rappers enjoying just as much success as the overly produced and studio manufactured pop groups. The decade was ruled by powerful singers such as Mariah Carey and Celine Dion topping the charts. By this time, many artists face personal problems, including drug abuse, and rap feuds overshadowed a lot of the talent during the decade.
So, genres born in this decade include grunge, alternative rock, gangster rap, bubblegum pop, boy bands, or girl groups. Few artists we know today, such as Notorious B.I.G., Nirvana, Boyz II Men, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, got big.
- The 2000s
Music of the 2000s showcased various genres and reflected a great deal of the pop music that came from the nineties, with many of the same artists and bands remaining popular between the two decades. With the suffering brought by this decade like the September 11th attacks, wars in the Middle East, and an economic downturn, a lot of the music had to strike a fine balance between upbeat and optimistic while still giving a representation of the pain that many experienced.
Although hip-hop was one of the most popular styles in this decade, other genres have used the style to achieve a great deal of opportunity, too. This includes rock metal rap, combining catchy rhythms, which is rock. The hardcore feeling of metal and the lyrics that is characteristic of rap. Another genre that emerged was emo. The music characteristic of this is emotional because of the heartfelt lyrics and melancholic melodies.
Artists that rose in this decade and are still widely known today are Eminem, Taylor Swift, Linkin Park, Maroon 5, Destiny’s Child, Blink-182, Britney Spears, Rihanna, and many more.
The way we listen to music and how they are produced has drastically changed over the past years. Music is something constant; it’s always changing, just like how our society is changing. So, if there’s one thing you need to learn from this, it’s that as a musician, one great quality you can have is adapting to changes.