Rock - White Blues



In 1971 Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong died.

In 1974 Edward 'Duke' Ellington died. 

In 1977 pop idol Elvis Presley also died. 

By the 1970s Jazz had been buried by -

Rock 'n' Roll - Bill Haley, Elvis and The Beatles took over from Bing & Frank.

R&B - Soul, Doo Wop and Motown kept the blacks singing their rhythms with Ray Charles, James Brown and Fats Domino ... incorrigible.

Rock 'n' Roll had changed things, no doubt about that. A homogeneous popular music was up for grabs as factions explored musical and technological possibilities, a counter culture was in vogue.

So what was 'Rock'?

Richard Middleton identified some post Rock 'n' Roll examples of popular music -

In 1967 The Beatles had moved to 'Strawberry Fields' with scored strings and electronic keyboard. George Martin had applied more conventional musical sounds to the raw aural talent of The Beatles in an attempt to reach a wider audience? The music had moved from The Cavern and the dance halls to the studio, dancing music became listening music. Four square phrases and the pulse were subverted. More complex harmonies followed the lyrics; musical poetry. John Lennon's scouse poetry.

The 'Beatnik' Beatles had moved from Rock 'n' Roll to 'Hippie' Psychedelic Rock ...

In 1967 Cream recorded a Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf song, 'Spoonful', which was very different and straight from the Blues tradition with the old standard form and simple harmonies with virtuoso improvised lines from the electric guitar for live audiences.

The electric guitar virtuosos gave the Blues a vote of confidence in high energy, deep & sensational improvisations ... Blues phrases, shouted vocals without memorable melodies; rhythmic music of calls & responses based on a drone riffs and Eric Clapton's unconstrained virtuosity ...

In 1967 Pink Floyd, a London R&B band, recorded 'Astronomy Dominé' an avant-garde experiment in free electronic effects. Nothing to whistle, nothing to dance to ... self indulgent psychedelic throbbing mind music with an overall mixture of effects popular with students of the underground cult ...  in 1973 'Dark Side of the Moon' became a best selling album and brought enormous wealth to the band. Avant-garde experiments were also evident in jazz but they never became 'mainstream'.

Experiments and fragmentation proliferated but the Rock genre didn't fuse with 'classical' or 'jazz' but coalesced around Led Zeppelin in the 1970s ... 

By the 1970s the Blues innovations were over and John Lennon had taken the Blues into pop and Eric Clapton had taken the Blues into Rock. 

But what was 'Rock'?

Rock Music - Rock music described a group of related music styles that dominated popular music in the Western Hemisphere since the 1970s.

Rock 'n' Roll developed through mixing African American R&B with American Country & Western music.

The central and linking instruments of most kinds of Rock music were the electric lead guitar, electric bass, keyboard instruments and drums ... played by energetic middle class white males with an exaggerated live performance of noise & rhythm.

Charlie Christian was the first person to perform using the amplified guitar as a solo instrument, but many musicians since him, such as 'T-Bone' Walker, Les Paul, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix have featured and experimented with the instrument.

Rock music styles also share complex technical similarities. These styles were originally based on the simple harmonies of the tonic, subdominant and dominant chords and the twelve bar blues progression. Most rock music was performed at high volume levels, so it was closely tied to developments in electronic technology.

The first phase involved Blues Rock, Folk Rock, Country Rock, and Jazz Rock fusion ... as established genre went 'electric'.

Psychedelic Rock and Progressive Rock followed.

Heavy Metal featured volume, power and speed.

Punk Rock was a rebellious interlude. Glam Rock did no better.

New Wave & Alternative Rock or Grunge.

The 'hippie' culture of California and the 'mods & rockers' of England were Rock associated sub cultures ... perhaps identifying the three musical streams into Rock - hippie folk music, modern R&B and Rock 'n' Roll ... ?

1960/70s WHITE BLUES in the USA.

Rock music began in the United States as the electric guitar invaded sensibilities and became ubiquitous -

1. Harmony Groups -

The barbershop revival in the 1940s exposed the long tradition of black harmony singing from Louis (before he could afford a cornet), to the Mills Brothers, and the Ink Spots ... then Soul, Doo Wop & Motown followed ... 

The whites took it up and ran with it in the 1960s - 

The Platters came from The Ink Spots - 'Only You', 'The Great Pretender', 'Smoke gets in Your Eyes'.

The Crew Cuts swiped the Penguins bag - 'Earth Angel'

Everly Brothers - country influenced Rock 'n' Roll close harmony, 'Bye Bye Love' 'Wake Up Little Suzie' 1957

Troubador L A2. California Music -

1960-65 a remarkable shift in pop music from Manhattan to LA. Phil Spector found Brian Wilson of honeyed hymns from folk music roots with the blues. Writing their own songs, drawing on Rock 'n' Roll, R&B and country.

Ricky Nelson (1940-85), California's answer to Elvis, 'Poor Little Fool' & 'My Bucket's got a Hole in It' 1958, 'Hello Mary Lou' 1961.
In California the music after Rock 'n' Roll was dominated by The Beach Boys 1961 ... and The Byrds 1964 ... and hippie music ...

The Beach Boys 1961, a Californian quintet from 1961 with the 'surf sound'. Out of Doo Wop and R&B, they were an experimental band playing 1950s style Rock 'n' Roll out of Chuck Berry, just like The Beatles ... no doubt The Beach Boys were California's answer to The Beatles ... but were they a temporary craze? Maybe but it was a new different image for a Rock 'n' Roll band. The electric guitar dethroned the honking sax. But there remained a rough flavour which excited the teenagers and Brian Wilson was a genuinely talented musician ...

By 1966 they had moved from early Rock 'n' Roll to 'Good Vibrations' ... like the Beatles? They toured as 'America's Band', as a reaction to the British invasion, and were perhaps America's first and best Rock band.

The Byrds 1964, a Rock band from LA practicing 'Californian harmony' like The Beach Boys' ... Roger McGuinn led the band from 1964 to 1973. 'Mr Tambourine Man' 1965 and the first American challenge to The Beatles ... without question, The Beatles invasion of America in early 1964 set in motion a series of events that culminated in the creation of The Byrds ...

McGuinn had previous, his imagination was captured by 'Heartbreak Hotel' in 1956 and guitar playing followed - Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, Carl Perkins, The Everly Brothers - all the rockers ... then folk and The Weavers ... and Bobby Darin ... he became an accomplished musician.

Gene Clark came from country ... and folk. He joined McGinn singing Beatles songs at The Troubadour.

David Crosby was a folk singer. Jim Dickson 10 years older liked what he heard. He met the other two at the Troubadour. The three formed The Jet Set, managed by Dickson. The became more &more like The Beatles.

Michael Dick was a Texan drummer became Micael Clarke and joined the group. They recorded as The Beefeaters and Christopher Hillman, who had done Dylan songs, joined on bass guitar and the folk, rock, Beatles, Dylan links were forged..

But were the Californians, Rockers? ... or harmonisers? ... it was Rock that took root in America in the 1960s ...

Grateful Dead 1965 was an American Psychedelic Rock band from Palo Alto, California. But it was not the ancient Blues. Rather psychedelic rock of the hippie sound & culture. Jerry Garcia lead guitar was a fan of Django and out of a Jug Band ...

Jefferson Airplane 1965 was an American folk group and Rock band from San Francisco, California. Leaders of the Hippies?

The Eagles 1971 were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. From the Troubadour and Linda Ronstadt ...

The 'flower power' of the Hippies in the 1960s produced popular music which was all the rage and spread world wide but a pale imitation of past innovations and no match for The Beatnik Beatles. Then The Beatles and Rock went 'arty' and 'psychedelic' ... but some like 'The Rolling Stones' and Eric Clapton stayed closer to the Blues and lasted ... if Hippie music was a passing fad it was certainly a big one?

The Hippies were losers as Islam & poverty were unresponsive to 'peace'. The Hippies were winners as business in Silicon Valley responded with 'Google' & 'Genentech'. At the same time the blacks, the Blues and the Civil Rights Movement was relentlessly successful. The Civil Rights Movement was constitutional.

3. Folk Blues Bands -

The New York folk revival of 19??. In America the whites got into Folk Blues via Pete Seeger & Bob Dylan ...
At Newport in 1965 Bob Dylan went electric. He was accompanied by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and immediately became a Rocker and influenced the world of Rock instrumentalists..

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band 1965 - Paul Butterfield (1942-87) (blues harmonica & vocals) with Mike Bloomfield (-) (lead guitar) in Chicago and with Howlin' Wolf's rhythm section of Sam Lay (drums) and Jerome Arnold (bass).  

The band started in 1963 when Elvin Bishop (1942-) and Butterfield graduated from their tours of the Chicago R&B clubs and paid their dues in Big John's Folk Club on the north side. In 1965, after adding Mike Bloomfield (guitar) and Mark Naftalin (keyboard) to the lineup, they recorded 'The Paul Butterfield Blues Band' album which included 'Born in Chicago', an upbeat blues that rocked. The door opened for a flood of young white Blues bands ... and young Bob Dylan was impressed. Bishop remained in the fold for three albums, including their innovative 'East-West' 1966 release where Bishop and Bloomfield intertwined their guitars and inspired the Allman Brothers Band and the Grateful Dead ... and Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Willie Dixon and Elmore James achieved new exposure and respect ...

The group broke up in 1971 ...

Janis Joplin (1943-70) 1966, the white Bessie Smith. Out of Psychedelic Rock music.

The Allman Brothers, 1971, a Florida Band out of Blues, Jazz and Country.  'At Filmore East' 1971 ...

Sure there were also Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams and the Grand Ole Opry gang - all were close to the blues. Rodgers and Hank Williams and the Grand Ole Opry gang - all were close to the Blues.

Frank Zappa (-) was different, erudite to the point of serious music.

Of course, once the Rockers were established, there were hundreds of kids & young amateurs who got together a band and rehearsed in the family garage ...

Garage Rock was born in the 1960s in America in much the same way that skiffle  proliferated in the 1950s in the UK.

Live at The Marquee Club1960/70s WHITE BLUES in the UK.

There were other white kids who deliberately went back to the black roots of the blues and a separate tree of white blues took root in England.

British groups - the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Cream added their own distinctive touches to Rock 'n' Roll through 'skiffle' and to R&B through Blues Bands and on to Rock Blues and Rock pop ... both streams caught on big time in England and America.

It took The Beatles and The Stones to keep popular music embedded in the blues and it was modern mainstream pop derived from the blues that sidelined jazz in the second half of the 20th century.

1. 1960s Arty & Psychedelic Rock.

Rock was established by blues players who went pop. But who followed as Rock prospered?

Van Morrison (1945-) from Belfast was hit by the American blues records his merchant seaman dad brought back from America. Overwhelmed by the music he moved to New York in 1967. He described himself as a soul singer & songwriter, but he spanned genres and influence many ... but he started in the blues ... and never left them.

'Raspy' Rod Stewart (1945-) started as a young skiffler fascinated with R&B and Soul and became a London superstar. He first came to prominence in the late 1960s with the post Yardbirds The Jeff Beck Group and Ronnie Wood. 'Truth' 1968 and a successful American tour.
Stewart went on to phenomenal success in a solo career.

The AnimalsThe Animals 1964-66, from the Newcastle clubs. Eric Burdon (1941-) (vocals) and Alan Price (1942-) (keyboards). 'The House of the Rising Sun' 1964, gritty, bluesy sound with the deep voiced lead. The band balanced tough, rock edged pop singles against rhythm & blues material. Eric Burdon up north was hit by Muddy Waters in the same way as Eric Clapton down south.
Alan Price left amongst acrimony over ownership rights to 'The House of the Rising Sun' 1964 ...

The Who 1964, from London. Lead singer Roger Daltrey (1944-), guitarist Pete Townshend (1945-), bassist John Entwistle (1944-2002), 'The Ox' and crazy drummer Keith Moon (1946-78) the mad drummer who died at 31. Out of trad jazz and pop more than Blues. And this was power pop with big amplification and synthesizers ... and the 'Marshall Stack'. They made it with 'My Generation' 1965 ...

In 1964 The Who famously smashed their equipment at during a performance at the Railway Hotel Wealdstone. Townshend accidentally broke the head of his guitar and responding to the laughter of the audience he smashed the instrument. Instrument auto-destructive art became a feature of the Who's live performances. 'I Can See for Miles' 1967. 'Tommy' 1969, a rock opera.

Keith Moon died tragically in 1978 but unlike Led Zeppelin a couple of years later, The Who decided to carry on. Kenny Jones (-)replaced Moon on drums.
Entwhistle died of a heart attack in a hotel bedroom with a groupie.

Moody Blues 1964 - with Brian Epstein ... 'Go Now' 1965 ...

Manfred Man (1940-) 1964-69 a South African keyboard player who moved to London in 1961 and hung around in the gang. A blues band which went pop, with a 'Ready Steady Go' hit '5-4-3-2-1' in 1964. Paul Jones (-), Tom McGuinness (-) ...

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon Fabric PosterPink Floyd 1965 psychedelic band formed by London students. Rock goes cosmic, avant-garde progressive rock music.
Syd Barrett (-) lead guitar & song writer, 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn'.  Syd suffered mental health & an 'acid' disaster, LSD, 'Jug Band Blues'.
In 1968 Syd was replaced by David Gilmour (-) who did the music. Roger Waters did the words. Nick Mason and Richard Wright keyboard. 1968-73 5 yeas of cult music. Known for philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative cover art, and the elaborate live '14 Hour Technicolor Dream' show at Alexandria Palace - a big event and a financial disaster. Most people were on drugs ... 1980 'The Wall' the scale of the show was gargantuan;, it included 45 tons of equipment, inflatable puppets, a bomber plane and a wall which was 160 feet wide and 35 feet high ... 'Dark Side of the Moon' 1973 ...

Taste 1966-70, Rory Gallagher (1948-95), a Donegal lad with a blues rock trio who was around the Marquee Club at the critical time ... a real craftsman Gallagher continued with a solo career until he messed up with drugs and died. Only 47 years old. Personable unassuming brilliance, a gentleman, under rated. Followed Lonnie Donegan to Ledbelly and the blues.

Fleetwood MacFleetwood Mac 1967 out of John Mayall's Blues Breakers, London. 
Peter Green
(-) Mick Fleetwood (-) & John McVie (-), with Bob Brunning (-) on bass, they were a top class electric blues band in the Elmore James style. 'Dog & Dustbin'. They had big pop hits with 'Albatross', 'Man of the World' and 'Oh Well'. Green wrote 'Black Magis Woman' their first big hit. 
Peter Green was claimed a better guitarist and singer than Eric Clapton ... but he blew his mind on drugs and retired from the band in May 1970.   
In 1970s Fleetwood Mac (reformed with a 2nd incarnation and 2 girls) still with Mick Fleetwood and John McVie & talented wife Christine McVie (1943-2022) keyboard and songwriter. Jeremy Spencer (-) guitar left in 1971.
Eventually in 1974 Lindsey Buckinham from LA plus his girl Stevie Nicks joined and now with 2 girl singers this was a laid back Californian style of soft rock band.

Genesis 1973 evolved from a 60s pop band founded in Charterhouse, with moody, simple guitar driven melodies, to a progressive art rock band ...
Tony Banks (1950-) co-founder, keyboard songwriter 
Peter Gabriel
(-) lead singer, with lyrics and costumes, went over the top and left.
Phil Collins (-) drummer who joined in 1970 took over as singer when Peter Gabriel left, and made them an arena band in the US. Collins left Genesis and 'Turn It On Again' became his 1st single hit. Dominated the 1980s, hard work and strings of No 1 hits. The press exposed the Collins weaknesses he left his family and he ran off to Switzerland.
Mike Rutherford (-) co-founder, guitar, songwriter, bass ... went on to 'Mike and the Mechanics'
English rock supergroup Dover 1985 - 'Silent Running', 'All I Need Is a Miracle', 'Taken In', 'The Living Years', 'Word of Mouth' and 'Over My Shoulder'.
Steve Hackett (-) lead guitar song writer ... a band full of solo song writers

Jethro Tull - Ian Anderson (-), Mick Abrahams (-) flute.

Groundhogs - Tony McPhee (-)

Pretty Things - Phil May (-)

2. 1970s Hard Rock & Heavy Metal.

At this point white Rock had nearly buried Jazz.

Jimmy Page (1944-) from Hounslow started to play guitar at 12 in 1956, when all the kids were picking up guitars and 'Rock Island Line' was top of the pops. But his main inspiration was Elvis. At The Marquee Club he met the Clapton, Beck gang. In 1963 he became an accomplished session musician in London. He joined the Yardbirds in 1966 and formed Led Zeppelin in 1968. He was a genius producer.

Led Zeppelin 1Led Zeppelin 1968, rivalries and indiscipline indicated that a supergroup, inspired by 'Beck's Bolero', from the Yardbirds and The Who with Jimmy Page/Jeff Beck/John Paul Jones/John Entwhistle/Keith Moon as a lineup would go down 'like a lead balloon'? It was never to be. It was Led Zeppelin that led the way from the Yardbirds & Cream to the hard blues with a heavy beat that was Rock ...

Jimmy Page (1944-) (guitar), John Paul Jones (1946-) (bass & keyboard), John Bonham (1948-80) (drums) and Robert Plant (-) (vocals). Peter Grant of the old Yardbirds managed them.

Page and Jones were professional session musicians, they knew music. They played easy, complex, infectious riffs. Zeppelin was a guitar band led by an accomplished guitarist who could and did play everything, simple or complex it never sounded ostentatious but always played with a confident swagger of searing lines and a tight swinging groove. Jones played mainly his bass line riffs but also contributed heady rock organ.

Bonham was lightening fast with thunderous power and a rock steady feel for the groove. Bonham and his groove drove Led Zeppelin. Bonzo learned his craft from Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. His big mate in Birmingham was Robert Plant.

Plant had a voice filled with blues and individuality, from Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson. Plant's blues harp was blues magic. The call & response empathy between Page & Plant made the band.

Rehearsal at Page's house in 1968 were electric; blues were first as time was short. Jones contributed riffs and Plant lyrics. The music was loud and heavy, it was all electrified blues and folk stuff, the top rock band of the 1970s in the world.

In 1980, two months after the tragic death of John Bonham, Led Zeppelin broke up. After a day of heavy drinking, Bonzo died in bed, asphyxiated in vomit. A tour in the fall of 1980 was cancelled ... performance was impossible without Bonzo's grooves ...

Led Zeppelin influenced Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Queen as well as Progressive Metal bands. They influenced some punk bands, among them the Ramones. They were also an important influence on the development of Alternative Rock, as bands adapted elements from the Zeppelin sound of the 1970s including Nirvana. Bands and artists from diverse genres have acknowledged the influence of Led Zeppelin, even Madonna ... 'Led Zeppelin I 1969', 'Led Zeppelin II 1969', 'Led Zeppelin III' 1970 ...

Black Sabbath 1970, 'Heavy Metal' band from Birmingham. Ozzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Terence 'Geezer' Butler (bass), and Bill Ward (drums). Slow, sludgy heavy rock sound before, 'louder than Zeppelin'. The guitar sound heard was largely down to Tony Iommi and an accident he had while working at a sheet metal factory. He had accidentally cut off the ends of his third and fourth fingers in a cutting machine. In a desperate bid to play guitar again, Iommi fashioned some makeshift finger tips out of melted plastic and leather and relearned the guitar. He ended up detuning the strings to lessen the strain on his fingers. In doing so discovered a new, heavier guitar sound, Sabbath's idea was to 'make music that would scare people'; their darker lyrical themes of death and references to Satan seemed to resonate with those tired of the 60s optimism and flower power and were looking for something altogether harder and darker. Fast, loud, scary, guitar riffs in black leather and studs. 'Black Sabbath' 1971, 'Paradoid' 1971, 'Master of Reality' 1972 ...

Deep purple 1972, the third in the holy trinity of 'Heavy Metal'. The world's loudest band. Ritchie Blackmore (guitar, a Jeff Beck disciple), Ian Gillian (vocals), Roger Glover (bass), Jon Lord (piano, organ) and Ian Paice (drums). 'In Rock' 1970, 'Fireball' 1971, 'Machine Head' 1972 ... 'Smoke On The Water' which included one of the most famous riffs in rock history; a four note blues scale in G. Was it any more than pompously arranged noise?

3. Punk Rock & Glam Rock. Interlude.

Things were getting out of hand Rock had disintegrated into meaningless fragments and lost coherence and lost its beat ... Punk & Glam Rock were different but being outrageous was no substitute for the Blues ...

John Lennon - 'Glam Rock was just Rock 'n' Roll with lipstick' ...

Velvet Underground & Lou Reed (1942-2013) 1967-73. Lou was a Rock 'n' Roller in New York in the 1960s trying to be different. Tuning the guitar as a drone, each string tuned to the same note! A way out cult figure up against the Beatles?

 Velvet Underground failed to gain traction ... although Andy Warhol was impressed and they produced 'The Velvet Underground & Nico' in 1967.

Whatever these Glam Rockers were looking for it was not the Blues, but Glam Rock was influential. Was it all drugs & sexual depravity? Years later the album was acclaimed as one that changed Rock music?

Lou Reed had a solo career as a singer song writer after 'Velvet Underground'.

The Stooges & Iggy Pop (1947-) 1967-74. American punk rockers with all the called for stage antics!

Ziggy StartdustDavid Bowie (1947-2016) a creative artist from Brixton, he played jazz sax but ended up shaping the pop of the 1970s as The Beatles had shaped the 1960s. His first hit was 'Space Oddity' - 'Ground Control to Major Tom' and Apollo 11.

Straight out of Little Richard 'Tutti Fruitty' but what chance had a young skiffler against John Lennon & Mick Jagger?  

'The Man who Sold the World' was hard rock but 'heavy' music needed more 'elaboration'.

'The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' 1972, in a multi coloured jumpsuit with his arm curled limply around guitarist Mick Ronson's shoulder! Pure theatre ... with his signature song 'Starman'. He was fearless and killed off Ziggy in London in 1973 and moved to LA and created the Thin White Duke in the Album 'Diamond Dogs'. This was soul music, 'Philly Soul' in 'Young Americans'. Then to Berlin and the 'Berlin Trilogy'. As he sang in 'Changes' in 1971, 'I'm much to fast'. But the bisexuality & drugs of his characters almost took over his sanity ... a Nazi salute in 'Station to Station'? But things came to an end in the 1980 with Queen 'Under Pressure' with Jagger 'Dancing in the Street' and his band 'Tin Machine' failed. He tried acting and reclusively failed to regain his musical touch. 'Blackstar' was released just before he died ... sad.

Roxy Music 1972, art school graduate Bryan Ferry (vocals and keyboards). 'Virginia Plain' with Bowie concerts were massively elaborate affairs, the audience were understandably gob smacked by the costumes and dry ice but some were less taken with the blatant theatre and no music.

The Sex Pistols 1975, an English punk rock band from London. Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious. The studio album 'Never Mind the Bollocks here's the Sex Pistols' 1977 was iconic and highly influential. .

In the late 1970s, this new version of Rock 'n' Roll developed and was labeled 'punk rock'.

The Ramones 1975, a New York rock band often regarded as the first punk rock group. They performed and played 2,263 concerts, touring virtually non-stop for 22 years. Passion and fury, DIY rock.

Patti Smith (1946-) 'Horses' 1975, 'punk rock's poet laureate', she brought a feminist and intellectual take to punk music and became one of rock and roll's most influential musicians.

4. 1980s New Wave & Stadium Rock.

1967 Shea Stadium and The Beatles, started it all ... the concert hall was just not big enough.

From the 1970s during the next two decades, Rock bands filled stadiums with energy & volume and two superstars emerged, Michael Jackson and Madonna, who also began filling huge stadiums for concerts. The halcyon days of live performance; you had to there to see and feel the noise.

Bruce Springsteen (1949-) in 1973 followed in the footsteps of Bob Dylan. R&B soaked music provided some sanity as Rock fragmented ...

1975 Bruce Springsteen and his East Street Band - 'Born To Run' street music and blue collar American imagery, dense layering of instruments and his innovative use of piano and saxophone. It took a lengthy three months to record! The album's distinctive sound helped carve out a style that would come to dominate the rock charts in the 1980s, superseding Bob Dylan's rock of the 1970s.

Brian MayQueen 1975 - a seminal English band, the most successful rock band up to the turn of the millennium with a large international fan base.    
Brian May
(1947-) PhD degree in astrophysics from Imperial College London in 2007. Rory Gallaher protégé & founder of Queen. Virtuoso songwriter. Sir Brian 2023!
Freddie Mercury (1946-91) lead vocalist, piano songwriter, crazy flamboyant maverick rock star. Terrible blow when Freddie died. 
Roger Taylor (1949-) singing falsetto drummer songwriter.
John Deacon (-) bass, friend of Freddie, left when Freddie died.
'Bohemian Rhapsody' typifies their musical diversity, lush multi-layered arrangements, 3 part vocal harmonies and incorporation of audience participation into their live performances ... 'A Night at the Opera', 'We are the Champions', 'We will Rock You' ...

U2 1976 - Dublin rock band consistently one of the most popular acts in the world since the mid-1980s. The band are one of the most successful bands of all time.
Bono (vocals and guitar), Edge (guitar, keyboards and vocals) and Adam Clayton (bass guitar) answered an advert placed by Larry Mullen (drums, percussion and vocals), they were teenagers at the time with limited musical proficiency ... ambitious 'Zoo TV' ...

Dire Straits 1977 - New Wave - a British rock band,
Mark Knopfler (guitar and vocals), his brother David Knopfler (guitar), John Illsley (bass), and Pick Withers (drums).
Although the band were formed in an era when punk rock reigned, they worked within the conventions of classic rock, albeit with a stripped-down sound that appealed to modern audiences weary of the overproduced stadium rock of the 1970s. 'Money for Nothing' ...

The Police 1977 - New Wave - a three-piece rock band. Strongly influenced by jazz, reggae & classical music.
Gordon 'Sting' Sumner (1951-) bass, vocals, songwriter ... 'Every Breath You Take', most played song in radio history ... 
Stewart Copeland, lead guitar and Andy Summers, drums 
Coming to prominence in the wake of the punk rock phenomenon, they rose to become one of the most popular groups in the world in the early 1980s. 'Roxanne' 1978 ... 

Branford Marsalis and Kenny Kirkland joined Sting in 1985 from the Wynton Marsalis band on 'Dream of the Blue Turtles' ... ?
In 1987 Gil Evans joined Sting on 'Nothing Like the Sun' ... Rock was making all the money as Jazz struggled for an audience ...

Kiss 1977 - voted the most popular band in America, a rock band formed in New York City in 1973. Easily identified by their trademark face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured fire-breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars and pyrotechnics.1977 - voted the most popular band in America, a rock band formed in New York City in 1973. Easily identified by their trademark face paint and stage outfits, the group rose to prominence on the basis of their elaborate live performances, which featured fire-breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars and pyrotechnics.

More New Wavers as the Punk interlude faded - Blondie, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet ...

A separate tree of white blues had taken root in England. The Beatles, Cream and The Stones kept popular music embedded in the blues and it was this modern mainstream pop derived from the blues that sidelined jazz in the second half of the 20th century.

But there was also a counter mood in music. In 1981 the Sonny 'Walkman' became popular and in 1983 the CD was introduced. Both helped to change the public attitude to listening to music which sparked a nostalgia for many different types of the old music, including jazz.

There was a 'Second British Invasion' of America in the 1970s/80s as Queen, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Police, Phil Collins and Elton John saw their popularity explode in the USA. 

5. 1990s Alternative Rock in the USA. Fragmentation Adult Rock. Techno Pop.

Subversive lyrics and a generally nonchalant, defiant attitude. Electronic effects & studio music overtake performance. Distorted guitars, fuzz and feedback. A collective debt to independence ... 'alternative' rock was 'underground' and rebellious ... but largely it was a 'catch all' term applied to the fragmentation of Rock.

Grunge in Seattle.

Nirvana 1991 - Kurt Cobain claimed Black Sabbath as his early influence and followed early underground bands like Black Flag who drew inspiration from the DIY ethos of Punk Rock of the 1970s ... a network of fans, clubs and fanzines sustained the scene and launched the careers of bands like REM, The Pixies and Hüsker Dü on the Seattle scene, culminating in the success of Nirvana and 'Nevermind'.

In the days when 'Teen Spirit' was a brand of deodorant, 'grunge' was something that blocked the sink and REM still had religion, 'alternative rock' was hard to find. Those in the know followed the advice of The Replacement and tuned their radio to 'the left of the dial' in search of more challenging, authentic and passionate guitar music than the spandex and hairspray acts that straddled mainstream rock in the 80s.

The Britpop of Oasis & Blur was a reaction to the Grunge surge ...

Then the Disco dance craze was on the rise. 

1992 brings a new form of jazz called 'Acid Jazz'. However, it was a short passing fad. 

From 1980 Rock had buried Jazz but Rock had peaked with Led Zeppelin in 1970s from then on it was the pop mainstream but mainly middle class white music well away from the Blues and increasingly grafted onto sound & video technology of the recording studio ... but once again it proved impossible to subdue the restless energy of the emotional soul of the Blues as the black innovators burst back onto the music scene with their intoxicating rhythms ... 

Then from Disco & Funk came Hip Hop ...

In the 1990s the music video had arrived and inevitably miming and auto tuning technology ... music took a back seat ...

Michael Jackson (-) danced 'Thriller’ 1982 and

Madonna (-) flaunted herself ...

Michael Jackson and Madonna were perhaps the Disco or Funk stars?

The Disco dance craze and Funk were on the rise, then along came Rap. A form of poetry spoken to music.

Gil Scott Heron started experimenting with a new type of music that will be called rap. It is a form of spoken poetry to music.

Gil Scott Heron (1949-2011) born in Chicago bred in the Bronx, Gil started experimenting with a new type of music that became Rap. 'The Revolution will not be Televised' 1970 ... were these the field hollers of Blind Lemon Jefferson?.

But perhaps Gil Scott Heron's lasting contribution was the self proclaimed insight that he was,

'a scientist who was concerned with the origin of the blues'

The Blues the genetic thread through the evolution of jazz had always been the Blues ... not the blues of protest but the blues of Albert Murray ... ?

A variety of Blues inspired popular music and small group improvised swinging jazz continued to excite and entertain. This stuff never died! By the end of the millennium there were many bands keeping the tradition alive, was jazz becoming more and more popular? Many were 'tribute' bands others were young groups, but everybody wanted to sing and play. 

Certainly fragmentation ... but certainly the Blues was alive.

Swing, Bebop and Modern Jazz evolved from the jazz of the 1920s - music of the youth of yet another generation

New Country which was what Country & Western evolved into - music for the youth of this era

The evolution of popular Afro American music with roots in the Blues ran through Rock 'n' Roll, Blues Rock, Folk Rock, Country Rock, Jazz Rock to Rock and its many fragments; Psychedelic, Heavy Metal, Punk & Glam, New Wave & Stadium, Reggae, Alternative, Rap & Hip Hop.


The artists who sang & played to the rhythms of the blues and sold records. These were the guys who put blues into pop -


Artist 1st Hit Active  Sales      Vocalist   Band
Elvis 1954 54-77 600 1st 1 Elvis 1 The Beatles
Aretha Franklin 1961 56- 75   2 Michael Jackson 3 Led Zeppelin
The Beatles 1962 60-70 600 1st 3 Elton John 3 Pink Floyd
Stevie Wonder 1962 61- 100   4 Madonna 4 Queen
Beach Boys 1962 61- 100   5 Rihanna 5 Eagles
Bob Dylan 1963 59- 100   6 Eminem 6 ACDC
The Rolling Stones   1963 62- 200 7th 7 Martha Carney 7 Rolling Stones
Bee Gees 1963 63-03 120   8 Taylor Swift 8 U2
Rod Stewart 1964 64- 100   9 Whitney Houstom 9 Aerosmith
The Who 1965 64- 100   10 Celine Dion 10 Metalica
Pink Floyd 1967 65-96 250 6th       Fleetwood Mac
Fleetwood Mac 1968 67- 100          
Led Zeppelin 1969 68-80 300 4th        
Genesis 1969 67-99 130          
Chicago 1969 67- 100          
Elton John 1969 64- 300 4th        
Santana 1969 66- 90          
Michael Jackson 1971 64-09 400 3rd        
Eagles 1972 71- 150          
Aerosmith 1973 70 150          
Queen 1973 71- 200 7th        
Bruce Springsteen 1973 72- 150          
Bob Marley 1975 62-81 75          
AC DC 1975 73- 200 7th        
Dire Straits 1978 77-95 120          
The Police 1978 77-86 75          
U2 1980 76- 120          
Phil Collins 1981 80-11 150          
Nivarna 1989 87-94 75          
Jay-Z 1996 96- 100          
Eminem 1999 96- 155          



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