Is Rock in trouble?

This subject comes up from time to time. Here’s an article I read today that offers hope:

Rock is definitely on hiatus as far as my local scene goes :question:

Rock seems alive and well to me. Metal in particular seems to be thriving.

What are you basing that on? Certainly not record or ticket sales

Aloha T,
Great topic.
I have a few words on this.

My initial thoughts are ROCK and ROLL will never die!

I believe this because rock has something about it that is similar
to blues, gospel, country and jazz.

Its roots. Its raison d’etre.

The initial beginnings of rock was not designed to make money
but to express human (american) feelings and emotions.

Rock music (like blues and jazz) was ‘played’ before it was recorded.

Eventually rock has become king of all music as far as making money
but I don’t think it started with that purpose in mind.

I don’t think that Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Lil Richard etc thought of making tons of cash
when they started doing this new form of ‘outlaw’ style music.

But obviously producers and record companies did. And they were right.

Berry,Richard and Lewis were just pushing the envelope.
They played the same 'music that was played in the black churches
at the time only they exchanged the terms like ‘O my Jesus’ etc with
‘O my Baby’ etc (and added alcohol).

Same music, different lyrics

And then many years ago I heard the song ‘Bye Bye Miss American Pie’
and since then I have wondered the same question you asked.

Lets hope not.

when I heard the first rumblings of hip-hop/rap in the late 70s (at the tail end of disco)
I thought, this music will never last because unlike rock, which could not only ‘rock out’
but could also deliver very powerful and beautiful ballads,
I have yet to hear a poignant, beautiful hip-hop/rap ballad.

I know Snoop’s music is usually on the slow side but still
I would not call any of his work ‘beautiful’ Maybe Usher fits but he too is getting old.
Look who’s talking about getting old. :slight_smile:

30 years later tho’ this music style is still with us with no signs of letting up
(tho’ I do hear more harmonies and actual singing these days).

But now I have gone full circle on this topic. I’m back to: ‘ROCK and ROLL will never die’!

Because even if not true, it makes me feel better.

Besides It’s a kool thang to yell out at the top of your lungs.

I too think that rock-n-roll is alive and well. I’m still a fan of the kings of the 70’s rock, like Zep, the Who, Rush, etc… (well maybe that touches on progressive, but I don’t care) :stuck_out_tongue: … but recently I’ve gotten into music like "The Pineapple Thief, Porcupine tree, Luncatic Soul, Blackfield, etc… which “feels” like the same 'ol rock, but with a modern bent. So while it may twist and change, I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

DOA? No. Rock ain’t as young as it used to be, but

Rock Ain’t Dead

And when, whether vigorous or feeble, rock is alive in YOU, there’s no argumentifying or debating or logic needed. You are a lion, puzzled and sad, but also amused when Zebras with typewriters, comfort themselves with discussions around whether lions are extinct.

For when rock is alive in YOU, you simply KNOW it. It is a matter of direct experience.
You know that time your eyes defocused and your jaw slackened for a moment, your knees buckled slightly and you grabbed your testicles? You felt their weight, the pressing fullness of seed, which makes your belly taut and you GROWL and SNARL deep in your throat as you prowl toward your Yearning Muse?

She inhales deeply the intoxicating scent of your readiness, and she pulls you on to her. If you can survive the long, long night and mark the event, whether dressed in skins and beating on a log with a stick, or girt in demim and holding an eternally feeding-back barre A chord …

This is Rock.

… like when the coins yingle-yangle to the flipside, another month or year or another dream - she tosses her head and hisses “F–k Off!” - and you Howl your Hurt.

This is Blues.

As old as Life itself, we rocked and blued before Words and Reason, and, premature obituaries and autopsies notwithstanding, shall continue to do so.

All the best

I’ve also upped it at 192k/sec for people with slow connection.
Rock Ain’t dead 192

That ^ gave me the shivers, Glyn :slight_smile: !


Yep, when I saw this thread start, I was expecting this to appear! :wink: :sunglasses: :laughing:

Dead on arrival?

Don’t agree, just count up all the new guitar FX, plugins, amps all designed to sizzle your ears… its alive and will outlive the OP and the rest of us!!! :wink: :astonished: :laughing:

Doug, your local scene is a drag man! :wink:


You rock Zenda!

Well at least anecdotally I am. I was astounded when I went to the 2008 Iron Maiden Somewhere back in time tour. A sell out crowd of over 20,000 people came out with ages ranging from 5-50. Many of the people in the audience were teenagers which made me very happy to see the youngans digging Maiden. The epic tour they did is documented in the film flight 666.

Then recently they released a new album which went to #1 in 30 countries in the first weeks of release.
The tour for this was also sold out.

I think if people make rock music that connects to people then people will listen to it.


“Quivers down my backbone
I got the shakes in the knee bones
Shivers down my thigh bones
Like I’m
Shakin’ all over” - Who

@ Steve, I hear ya… I don’t think I will ever get tired of super-heavy-insanely-loud-house-shaking-metal-rock… As much as I love many other genres of music, I still get a huge rush from speed metal and the likes… for me its like that rush you get when the commercial jet airliner you are in is at the point of lift-off, screaming down the runway at maximum ground speed! As we say in Canada, “fekkin-A” ! :laughing: :smiling_imp:

They will have to hand out ear-plugs at the senior citizen’s nursing home when (if) I get there! :astonished:


THAT’S what I’m talkin’ 'bout! (he said, while watching the lion sniff the zebra’s bloody carcass).

Too many rockers at this forum. These recurring ‘rock is dead’ threads are like a Jehovah’s Witness
hawking bibles to Satan his’self. :mrgreen:

The fact that Rock has undergone constant evolution goes without saying, I think. It IS the main reason I think that Rock has endured as long as it has.

But I also note that many in this thread are insisting that Rock isn’t in trouble by citing ticket sales and radio play of OLDER ROCK! I also know I’ve said the following before, too, but Zenda’s song – as wonderful as it is – is of a style that was popular nearly 40 freakin’ years ago!

I think you’re inadvertently making my point for me. :stuck_out_tongue:

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really one of the “Rock is dead” folks but it certainly doesn’t dominate the charts or the airwaves like it used to (take a look at this week’s Billboard Hot 100, as well as the top-selling albums of the last decade, and note how many Rock albums are actually on there). And I also think one can make an analogous argument about Rock in artistic/creative terms. Seems like about 90% of the “new” Rock sounds pretty much like things that have come before.

Which is kind of the central point I’m making… Given that the fundamental, underlying structure of Rock is “guitar, bass, drums, and vocal” emulating to varying degrees an amalgamation of “country & western and the blues”… and taking into consideration that this structure is in itself “self-limiting”… it was only a matter of time before Rock was in decline, both in terms of sales/popularity AND creativity.

Taking all this together – decline in market share, decline in creativity, and the inevitable “tapped out” condition of any style, my chief concern, as a LOVER of Rock, is that Rockers will be afforded fewer and fewer opportunities to be heard, and one day we’ll have a situation where “the rest is silence.” :bulb:

Jeez…Um, no. :unamused:

It’s amazing how many people judge music simply by what’s going on in the pop world. There’s like literally 100 times more rock now than even 10 years ago.

Only in Ontariariario

No we don’t!! eh?

Music is much more fragmented now too. Really heavy music never had much chart success anyway. Concert sales yes but top 10 hits, not so much. Nobody ever plays metal on mainstream radio. They might have a metal show but not mixed in with the regular pop fair.

I agree that there are tons of newer rock acts that are very interesting. Like Mastodon, Billy Talent, Arcade Fire, Finger Eleven, Deftones etc

You’re certainly not making your point about the quality or strength of rock by citing the billboard charts.
Good rock music has always gone against the grain and has never had much of a presence on the charts - never mind ‘dominate’ them.

For example:
Rock albums from 1970:

Led Zeppelin III / Live At Leeds - The WHO / In Rock - DEEP PURPLE /
Climbing! - MOUNTAIN / Band Of Gypsys - Jimi HENDRIX /
Steppenwolf Live - STEPPENWOLF / Fun House - The STOOGES
Untitled - The BYRDS / Fire And Water - FREE / Abraxas - SANTANA

Billboard charts for 1970:

  1. Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head B. J. Thomas
  2. I’ll Be There The Jackson Five
  3. I Think I Love You The Partridge Family
  4. Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon and Garfunkel
  5. (They Long to Be) Close to You Carpenters
  6. My Sweet Lord/Isn’t It a Pity George Harrison
  7. War Edwin Starr
  8. American Woman/No Sugar Tonight Guess Who
  9. Let It Be The Beatles
  10. I Want You Back The Jackson Five
  11. The Tears of a Clown Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
  12. We’ve Only Just Begun Carpenters
  13. One Less Bell to Answer 5th Dimension
  14. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough Diana Ross
  15. Abc The Jackson Five
  16. Mama Told Me (Not to Come) Three Dog Night
  17. Band of Gold Freda Payne
  18. Make It With You Bread
  19. Spirit in the Sky Norman Greenbaum
  20. Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today) The Temptations

Rock albums 1975:
Physical Graffiti - LED ZEPPELIN / Wish You Were Here - PINK FLOYD
Blood On The Tracks - Bob DYLAN / Toys In The Attic - AEROSMITH
Blow By Blow - Jeff BECK / Horses - Patti SMITH / Ted Nugent - Ted NUGENT

Billboard charts 1975:

  1. Love Will Keep Us Together » Captain & Tennille
  2. Rhinestone Cowboy » Glen Campbell
  3. Philadelphia Freedom » Elton John
  4. Before The Next Teardrop Falls » Freddy Fender
  5. My Eyes Adored You » Frankie Valli
  6. Shining Star » Earth, Wind & Fire
  7. Fame » David Bowie
  8. Laughter In The Rain » Neil Sedaka
  9. One Of These Nights » Eagles
  10. Thank God I’m A Country Boy » John Denver
  11. Jive Talkin’ » Bee Gees
  12. Best Of My Love » Eagles
  13. Lovin’ You » Minnie Riperton
  14. Kung Fu Fighting » Carl Douglas
  15. Black Water » Doobie Brothers
  16. Ballroom Blitz » Sweet
  17. (Hey Wont You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song » B.J. Thomas
  18. He Don’t Love You (Like I Love You) » Tony Orlando & Dawn
  19. At Seventeen » Janis Ian
  20. Pick Up The Pieces » Average White Band

Rock albums 1980:

AC/DC - Back in Black / The Pretenders - Pretenders / The Police - Zenyatta Mondatta
The Clash - London Calling / Pink Floyd - The Wall / Queen - The Game
Squeeze - ArgyBargy / Rush - Permanent Waves / David Bowie - Scary Monsters

Billboard charts 1980:

01.Call Me » Blondie
02. Another Brick In The Wall » Pink Floyd
03. Magic » Olivia Newton-John
04. Rock With You » Michael Jackson
05. Do That To Me One More Time » Captain & Tennille
06. Crazy Little Thing Called Love » Queen
07. Coming Up » Paul McCartney
08. Funkytown » Lipps, Inc.
09. It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me » Billy Joel
10. The Rose » Bette Midler
11. Escape (The Pina Colada Song) » Rupert Holmes
12. Cars » Gary Numan
13. Cruisin’ » Smokey Robinson
14. Working My Way Back To You-Forgive Me Girl » Spinners
15. Lost In Love » Air Supply
16. Little Jeannie » Elton John
17. Ride Like The Wind » Cristopher Cross
18. Upside Down » Diana Ross
19. Please Don’t Go » K.C. & The Sunshine Band
20. Babe » Styx

So you see, the billboard charts have never been representative of the best that rock has to offer,
but is made up largely of pop and soft rock.

Yet I discover new rock that I find fresh and inspiring all the time. Doug, you call yourself a ‘lover of rock’, yet
since you’re the only one here who starts these threads on a regular basis, and makes the arguments that you do,
it seems to me that you’re seeking some validation that you never get - so that you might finally bow your head at the Rock Monument, then move on and begin speaking of it only in the past tense.
Or perhaps you just suffer from Rock thanatophobia. :stuck_out_tongue:

If you think rock is old and tired, then let it go, Doug.
If you’re simply pining for the days when it meant more to you, why not invite some of your rocker friends over, put on some torn clothing, tousle your hair, and get out to the garage and rock out with yer kock out!! :sunglasses: