Is Rock Dead?

Different+Rolling+Stones+magazine+features+are+framed+within+Mr.+Cordell%E2%80%99s+classroom.+Famed+artists+such+as+Al+Gore%2C+Jerry+Garcia+and+Bruce+Springsteen+are+shown.

Photo by Georgia Scherrer

Different Rolling Stones magazine features are framed within Mr. Cordell’s classroom. Famed artists such as Al Gore, Jerry Garcia and Bruce Springsteen are shown.

As humanity changes over time, trends rise and fall, technology slows and improves and music changes in many ways. 

Although the impact of specific music genres continue to grow and thrive, some musical categories have been said to “die” or retire. The era of classic rock is one of these primarily debated topics. 

Most argue that the classic rock era remains too influential to be considered a lost genre. However, others dispute that the era had its time, and as certain generations moved toward grunge and away from rock, the sound eventually faded out. So the question remains: which school of thought is correct?

In order to efficiently test this question, the timeline of classic rock needs to be regarded. For over a decade starting in the 1950s, rock was starting to form away from the blues era and began founding its own sound with artists such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee

A featured photo of Rolling Stones Magazine is framed to preserve elements. Bands such as The Rolling Stones and The Black Crowes are represented on the front page feature. (Photo by Georgia Scherrer)

Lewis and Ray Charles. 

It wasn’t until 1974 to1975 that rock could arguably have been born into its own sound using instruments, a new technology that affected the production process and lyrics that shaped into a movement. Bands and artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Queen, KISS and The Rolling Stones helped move the sound forward over the years. 

From 1976 to the late 1980s, rock thrived and changed what we know today as the “Era of Rock-N-Roll.” In spite of this, during the 90s and 2000s, generations of adolescents moved towards grunge and punk music instead of traditional soft rock. 

These alternative bands are more commonly known as My Chemical Romance, Blink-182 and Misfits. Although these bands are very talented and famous for a reason, they are potentially not a part of the rock and roll era. 

This is where things get complicated. Did the beginning of the alternative rock period turn into the end of the classic rock era? Or was classic rock still current, although not as appreciated as it once was?

Whether or not the classic rock era ended during the 90s-00s is discussed on campus between history teacher R. Lewis Cordell and Student Support Services teacher Lonnie Nash. 

Both Cordell and Nash feel strongly about rock and roll, but they have opposing views on the pressures being implemented which may affect the era as a whole. These pressures range from the advancement of technology to the relevance and impact that time has on music as a whole. 

On opposing sides of whether or not technology was a positive or negative influence on classic rock, Nash maintains that technological advancements were utilized in a way that could positively affect audiences who search for new music.

It no longer requires millions of dollars of corporate backing and radio stations playing their songs, because people are free to stream music any place, anywhere, anytime,” Nash said. “Instead of a few huge bands, there are many small ones offering adolescents discovering music for the first time, a plethora of choices.”

Regardless of what genre fans are interested in, technology, as well as economic advancements, have affected listeners all over the world. One of these fans, Cordell maintains that times have changed, but not necessarily for the better. 

“Bands toured to solely increase album sales,” Cordell said. “Fast forward to modern times, bands pump out music to generate concert ticket sales. The model has flipped, and that is a shame. Concerts cost 10 to 20 times more than they did a few decades ago.” 

Different views on the timeline of rock have also been voiced by Nash and Cordell. Focusing more on the future generations who

Guns N’ Roses “Hard Rock Heroes” adds light and color to room 2203. It’s one of many framed “Rolling Stones Magazine” featured along classroom walls. (Photo by Georgia Scherrer)

will listen to music, Nash notes that as music changes, it changes for the future. 

Nash remarks that “[Music] is a cycle that completes itself every generation. Rock music always purifies itself and is reborn for the younger generation.”

That being what sets the genre apart from others.

Cordell, however, provides more perspective into the past about the impact of rock. The transition from blues to rock wasn’t simply a change in genre; it was also a change in history and the history of generations who struggled with numerous affairs. 

“The year following World War II in America and Europe was a time when the younger generation was reacting to what they viewed as a messed-up world,” Cordell expressed. “Rock was an expression of rebellion and a quest for intellectual and personal freedom.” 

Regardless of future or past generations, one consensus has been reached: rock has been and will continue to be influential regardless of classic, or subgenres. 

The future generation of music voices opinions within Sage Creek’s campus, though this time, it’s in the eyes of a student. Trevor Beny, a sophomore who indulges in rock music on a daily basis and considers it wildly influential in his life, views music and rock as something that changes and affects everyone. 

“I love subgenres because it allows people and bands to mix sounds together, which creates a fusion of music. It brings things together, and that’s basically how main genres form,” Beny said. “[It] doesn’t influence those who don’t listen to rock as much, but it influences the type of music that they do listen to.”

Regardless of timeline, specific subgenre and technology, the rock genre and classic rock era will always remain recklessly important and influential. It’s not just the lyrics or the sound of rock that changes people, it’s what the band and the music represent. 

No matter how hard society tries to explain and categorize rock, it’s something that will forever remain a sort of mystery. Although only 12 notes can be changed and improved into something completely different each time, artists and bands strive for individuality and diversity. It’s that passion and drive that continues the rock genre. 

As long as people continue to argue and question whether or not the rock genre or any genre for that matter exists, music will continue to influence and revise society and the world of music. 

Like many others before him, Nash reminds music listeners everywhere: 

“As long as drums, bass, and guitar still exist, rock and roll will exist as well.”