As the story goes, The Beatles movie needed a title, something other than Beatlemania, so the Beatles suggested a comment made by Ringo might work. Ringo had said they’ve worked so hard night and day that it’s been a hard . . . day’s night, kind of a malapropism. Eureka! Then, once the producers had a title for the movie, they also needed a theme song. So John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote it and the Beatles recorded it the next day. In July 1964, “A Hard Day’s Night,” the single and album, soared to #1 on the charts in both the US and UK, the first time a musical group had achieved such a feat.
During the late 1960s, many psychedelic singers, such as Arthur Brown, began to create outlandish, theatrical and often macabre performances; which in itself became incredibly influential to many metal acts. The American psychedelic rock band Coven, who opened for early heavy metal influencers such as Vanilla Fudge and the Yardbirds, portrayed themselves as practitioners of witchcraft or black magic, using dark—Satanic or occult—imagery in their lyrics, album art, and live performances. Live shows consisted of elaborate, theatrical “Satanic rites.” Coven’s 1969 debut album, Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls, featured imagery of skulls, black masses, inverted crosses, and Satan worship, and both the album artwork and the band’s live performances marked the first appearances in rock music of the sign of the horns, which would later become an important gesture in heavy metal culture. At the same time in England, the band Black Widow were also among the first psychedelic rock bands to use occult and Satanic imagery and lyrics, though both Black Widow and Coven’s lyrical and thematic influences on heavy metal were quickly overshadowed by the darker and heavier sounds of Black Sabbath.
One of many Aerosmith hit singles in the 1970s, “Walk This Way” is a hard rock tune appearing on the band’s third studio album, Toys in the Attic, which is their highest selling album to date. “Walk This Way” jumped to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Then, during the 1980s, when Aerosmith hit a lull in popularity, the rap group Run-D.M.C re-made the song, with Aerosmith vocalist Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry making guest appearances in the tune and on the video. Surprisingly, this version of the song did even better on the Billboard Hot 100, climbing to #5, and also helped spawn a new genre – rap rock.
Guns N’ Roses began their career with a big bang. Their first single, “Welcome to the Jungle,” arrived on their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, and both kicked some serious tail. “Welcome to the Jungle,” a tune about the mean streets of Los Angeles, soon catapulted to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, while Appetite for Destruction eventually sold 30 million copies, the eleventh best-selling album in the US. And, in 2009, VH1 picked “Welcome to the Jungle” as the number one hard rock song of all time.
David Benoit, Cindy Bradley, Warren Hill, Darren Rahn, Julian Lage, Walter Beasley, Najee, Boney James, Dave Koz, Kim Waters, Bernie Williams, Lee Ritenour, Tim Bowman, Norman Brown, Brian Culbertson, Jay Soto, Keiko Matsui, Chris Botti, Althea Rene, Brian Simpson, Willie Bobo, Kenny G, Euge Groove, Paul Hardcastle, Wayman Tisdale, Nelson Rangell
The Eagles also enjoyed astronomical commercial success during their 70s-80s heyday. In 1971 the founding members started out as a backing band for singer Linda Ronstadt; with her blessing, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon decided to start their own band.
The first generation of metal bands was ceding the limelight. Deep Purple had broken up soon after Blackmore’s departure in 1975, and Led Zeppelin broke up following drummer John Bonham’s death in 1980. Black Sabbath plagued with infighting and substance abuse, while facing fierce competition with their opening band, the Los Angeles band Van Halen. Eddie Van Halen established himself as one of the leading metal guitarists of the era. His solo on “Eruption”, from the band’s self-titled 1978 album, is considered a milestone. Eddie Van Halen’s sound even crossed over into pop music when his guitar solo was featured on the track “Beat It” by Michael Jackson (a U.S. number 1 in February 1983).
For the 91st issue (in April 2006), the magazine presented ‘The 100 Greatest British Rock Albums Ever’, which were voted for by Classic Rock staff and various people associated with rock music (including Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath fame, Lemmy of Motörhead and Francis Rossi of Status Quo). The magazine decided to let AC/DC be classed as a British act, although the band was formed in Australia. All of the band’s singers (Dave Evans, Bon Scott and Brian Johnson) and guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young are of UK descent. Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin IV reached first place.
Classic rock was borne out of a radio format that used to be named as “album oriented rock,” also known as AOR. While classic rock leans more on the whole album, “oldies” on the other hand is primarily geared towards singles that became successful on the music charts. You could say that “classic rock” is also a marketing ploy to help “immortalize” sales as well as glowing perceptive memories of rock music from the late 1960s to early 1980s.
David Bowie is clearly enjoying his golden years with wife, Iman. The “Ziggy Stardust” singer had a ten-year gap between his last two albums, and while he hasn’t officially announced a retirement, he has made it clear he has no intention of touring. Still, 2013’s “The Next Day” was a sweet surprise for fans, without the usual “comeback” fanfare. Bowie secretly recorded new tracks with session musicians who sign non-disclosure agreements. Still, with no tour in the works and not even a picture of Bowie on his last album cover, the whole thing seems kind of final.
Musicians better than most of their peers, one of the best front man ever and lyrics socially relevant on a higher intellectual level than the dungeons and dragons fantasy lyrics of groups like Led Zeppelin. The doors are the greatest band of all times!
Robert Walser stated that, alongside blues and R&B, the “assemblage of disparate musical styles known … as ‘classical music'” has been a major influence on heavy metal since the genre’s earliest days. Also that metal’s “most influential musicians have been guitar players who have also studied classical music. Their appropriation and adaptation of classical models sparked the development of a new kind of guitar virtuosity [and] changes in the harmonic and melodic language of heavy metal.”
So who defines the parameters of this seemingly genre-free category? It’s actually you – the listener. Very little is played on classic rock stations without extensive market research to find a niche amongst their audience, and that’s how regional popularity will always trump age or genre in defining the musical category of classic rock. Read more here about the carefully crafted classic rock subset and how age alone isn’t the only thing that can make a song truly “classic.”
30 Alice Cooper Alice Cooper was an American rock band formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1964. The band consisted of lead singer Vince Furnier, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway, and Neal Smith.
“Black Sabbath’s audience was…left to scavenge for sounds with similar impact. By the mid-1970s, heavy metal aesthetic could be spotted, like a mythical beast, in the moody bass and complex dual guitars of Thin Lizzy, in the stagecraft of Alice Cooper, in the sizzling guitar and showy vocals of Queen, and in the thundering medieval questions of Rainbow…. Judas Priest arrived to unify and amplify these diverse highlights from hard rock’s sonic palette. For the first time, heavy metal became a true genre unto itself.”
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