In the mid-1980s, the format’s widespread proliferation came on the heels of Jacobs Media’s (Fred Jacobs) success at WCXR, in Washington, D.C., and Edinborough Rand’s (Gary Guthrie) success at WZLX in Boston. Between Guthrie and Jacobs, they converted more than 40 major market radio stations to their individual brand of classic rock over the next several years.
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By the mid-1980s, glam metal was a dominant presence on the U.S. charts, music television, and the arena concert circuit. New bands such as L.A.’s Warrant and acts from the East Coast like Poison and Cinderella became major draws, while Mötley Crüe and Ratt remained very popular. Bridging the stylistic gap between hard rock and glam metal, New Jersey’s Bon Jovi became enormously successful with its third album, Slippery When Wet (1986). The similarly styled Swedish band Europe became international stars with The Final Countdown (1986). Its title track hit number 1 in 25 countries. In 1987, MTV launched a show, Headbanger’s Ball, devoted exclusively to heavy metal videos. However, the metal audience had begun to factionalize, with those in many underground metal scenes favoring more extreme sounds and disparaging the popular style as “light metal” or “hair metal”.
44 ZZ Top ZZ Top is an American rock band that formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. The band is composed of bassist and lead vocalist Dusty Hill, guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons, and drummer Frank Beard.
40 Slayer Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California, formed in 1981 by guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. They rose to fame with their 1986 album Reign in Blood, and is credited as one of the big four of thrash metal bands, the others being Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. …read more.
Between 1983 and 1984, heavy metal went from an 8 percent to a 20 percent share of all recordings sold in the U.S. Several major professional magazines devoted to the genre were launched, including Kerrang! (in 1981) and Metal Hammer (in 1984), as well as a host of fan journals. In 1985, Billboard declared, “Metal has broadened its audience base. Metal music is no longer the exclusive domain of male teenagers. The metal audience has become older (college-aged), younger (pre-teen), and more female”.
Anyone can cover another artist’s song, but few are able to take that song and truly make it their own. In the case of ‘All Along The Watchtower,’ there is no doubt that Jimi Hendrix most certainly turned the Bob Dylan composition into not only a Hendrix song, but into a true classic.
36 Marilyn Manson Marilyn Manson is an American rock band from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Formed in 1989 by frontman Marilyn Manson and Daisy Berkowitz, the group was originally named Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids with their theatrical performances gathering a local cult following in the early 1990s. …read more.
You take Geddy Lee, Easily the best Bassist in the world, mix complex drumming from Neil Peart, put in Alex Lifeson’s stellar guitar work, add in some odd time signatures, complex themes, spectacular synthesizers and you got Rush’s Tom Sawyer.
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45 The Ramones The Ramones were an American punk rock band that formed in the New York City neighborhood of Forest Hills, Queens, in 1974. They are often cited as the first band to define the punk rock sound.
They’re more metal than Hard Rock,but I’ll take them. I listen to all these young punks talk about Metallica and I always have to school them and let them know, there would be no Metallica if it wasn’t for Black Sabbath!
The Beatles are considered the first group to have played classic rock. At that time they began to gradually move away from using the simple song structures and harmonies that characterised the music of their early years, as they increasingly developed a rockier sound. However, classic rock only first became famous thanks to the wild guitar sounds produced by bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Animals and The Rolling Stones. The latter is with “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, widely considered the first, best and one true classic rock hit of all time. In general, classic rock hits are referred to as “the best” and “most original” songs in rock music.
Excellent column Fred! I only wish that Modern Rock from the eighties could become the new Classic Rock, as in my opinion that was the best popular music the decade produced. But for all the reasons you enumerate, it will never happen, at least not in the US. In the UK and other parts of Europe most of those bands had a higher profile and many more hits, and the format could probably be sustained there. Among the only places that Modern Rock bands get any exposure in this country these days are in period films and TV shows. For example, “The Americans” is a great show by any measure, but a particular joy for any fans of Modern Rock. Check out Season 1, Episode 4 (about how the KGB reacted to the attempted assassination of President Reagan), which uses the song “Pictures On My Wall” by Echo & the Bunnymen, among others.
It is a difficult job to pick out the best classic rock songs because there are so many of them. However, here is our final list of the classic rock songs that we think have become indelible to the minds of rock fans coming from various generations.
MARK & NEANDERPAUL’S :30 Second Song Challenge, sponsored by Larry H. Miller, Dodge-Ram Peoria, is weekdays @ 7:30 on 100.7 KSLX! Don’t forget about the :30 Second Song Challenge Cheat Sheet at 4pm, weekdays, with Pete Cummings. Pete will play the first 3 songs of the Next Morning’s :30 Second Song Challenge giving you an unfair advantage. Read More »