Beware of labels: they are as necessary as they are slippery. Especially when it comes to signs posted a posteriori. Occurs with the term classic rock. During the last third of the last century, that seemed to refer to the pioneers of rock and roll, the Chuck Berries, Jerry Lee Lewis and company. Now, the idea of classicism has moved to another musical territory.
It could be worse, for the record. In the UK, it was coined dad rock (daddy’s rock). Using English art for veiled insult, he described the music of the father’s generation or the music of that time (that of the brit pop) which was inspired by the saints of the sixties and seventies. In the United States, always attentive to the commercial dimension, there was talk of FM rock, the rock that sounded in the Modulated Frequency, already converted into a radio formula, that is to say, into a straitjacket to nullify the free impulse of the first countercultural FMs. This is precisely where the format derived classic rock.
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You cannot ask the protagonists: those who are still alive tend to take the wild card of the-best-that-I-recorded-is-the-last-album. So better inquire among the users. That’s what the British magazine has done Classic Rock, by consulting his followers – on Facebook and Twitter – about his favorite songs. The tabulation of the contributions is the basis of a special number, 100 Greatest Rock Songs, that helps to delimit the space of the so-called classic rock.
The abundance of ballads may come as a surprise, but you know that the lion is not as fierce as it is painted (and it is essentially about lions: there is no more female presence than the girls from Heart and Fleetwood Mac). All rock groups and soloists are aware that a melodic song tends to have a longer commercial life, as confirmed by those compilations entitled Metal Ballads or similar. In general, the concessions to emotional fragility are resolved with the corresponding apotheosis guitar solo. Virtuosity is a sign of identity of these formations.
In chronology, it could be argued that the classic rock it is a creature of the expansive seventies, with solid foundations in the previous decade. The sixties are represented here by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the Kinks, Steppenwolf, the Moody Blues, MC5, The Cream, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan, The Who, Led Zeppelin or the Beach Boys (for another day remains to discuss how much rock there is in that studio pop prodigy called Good Vibrations, No. 84 on the list compiled by Classic Rock). It is a music favored by the mass recognition loop. With its immense power of evocation, it is constantly recycled in advertising, series and movies.
A possible explanation for the hegemony of the sixties and seventies, beyond their intrinsic creative values, is the period in which those born after World War II occupied the center of the track. In the long run, however, boomers they were quite conservative in aesthetic matters. That can be deduced from the relative shortage of votes for the music of the eighties. A decade that, we must remember, meant the implementation of new instrumental technology (synthesizers, drum machines, sequencers, etc.) and the emergence of hip-hop, a music rejected here, although there were pairings of rap Y metal as popular as the Beastie Boys or the duo Aerosmith-Run DMC.
According to the votes, the classic rock only has a rebound in 1991, when they coincide Metallica themes (Enter Sandman, 42nd on the list), Nirvana (Smells Like Teen Spirit, 59) and Pearl Jam (Alive, 67). A replica of the earthquake of the grunge was, already in 1994, Black hole sun (# 86), creation of another group from Seattle, Soundgarden. And there classic rock ends? Well, the category requires hearth, the guarantee of resistance to wear and tear of time. However, the readers of the magazine make an exception with Blackbird, Epic song by Alter Bridge, a band from Orlando (Florida), released in 2007, which reaches number 96. It is true that its own authors recognize themselves as disciples of the University of Classical Rock, with their David Gilmour guitar and that voice that tries evoke the outbursts of Jeff Buckley. To reinforce its legitimacy, Alter Bridge tends to preface its performance live with a burst of the other. Blackbird. Exactly: Paul McCartney’s.
THE CREAM OF THE LIST
These are the first 10 positions of the list of 100 topics voted by the readers of Classic Rock.
1. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen (1975).
two. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin (1971).
3. Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd (1979).
Four. Kashmir – Led Zeppelin (1975).
5. Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1973).
6. Hotel California – The Eagles (1976).
7. Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple (1972).
8. Tom Sawyer – Rush (1981).
9. Highway to Hell – AC / DC (1979).
10. Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who (1971).
All well-known groups in Spain, perhaps with the exception of Rush, a spectacular Canadian progressive rock trio.