Moments That Transformed Rock Music

Here at Gigseen, we have a particularly eclectic taste in music; be it Jazz, Pop, Blues or Classical, we just can't get enough of the stuff. However, there seems to be a strange magnetic force towards one specific genre that makes us decidedly loopy at the mere sniff of a lick or hook. So yes, you could say we have somewhat of a penchant for Rock Music and we're not ashamed to say it. But whatever you think about it, you can't deny its infectious rhythms and riffs, the sheer spectacle of it.

If you were lucky enough to be around for the birth of Rock music, you'll be aware of the common taboos and judgements around the genre. If you confessed a preference for Rock Music in 1955, people would have a vague idea of what you meant by the term - someone who liked the high-energy music of Southern America that combined Blues, Country and Gospel elements. The older generation at the time, however, may have dubbed you as a rebellious, hell-bound delinquent. Being a fan of the genre today, though, will leave people asking for further elaboration; "Oh cool, is that Heavy Metal, or Classic Rock? What about Prog Rock?".

Since then, Rock music has evolved into a multitude of formats and guises and has found itself forming the backdrop to much social turmoil over the years. Rock Music has become one of the world's major cultural forces of our generation. So here are a few stand-out moments in Rock history that helped to transform the well-loved genre.

1955: One Of The First Rock N' Roll Records Is Released.

Bill Haley And His Comets' track, Rock Around The Clock helped to popularise Rock music across the world. It wasn't the first, however, with tracks by Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Strange Things Happening Every Day, 1944) and Roy Brown (Good Rockin' Tonight, 1947) being hot contenders for the title.

1965: Eric Clapton creates 'The Guitar Hero'.

The cult of the lead guitarist is central to the appeal of Rock Music. Already a member of The Yardbirds, as well as joining John Mayall And The Blues Breakers, Clapton's reputation grew and grew, until he was known as "God" amongst Rock fans.

1966: Jimi Hendrix Comes To England

Hendrix totally transformed guitar playing with both his technique and showmanship. His music also changed how we perceived the art-form of guitarists.

1968: Jimmy Page Forms Led Zeppelin:

Moving on from his life as a Rhythm n' Blues session musician and his band, The Yardbirds, Page assembled the New Yardbirds; now known arguably as the greatest Rock bands of all time. The following is a very early Zeppelin track, Jim's Blues, which features Plant on harmonica.

1969: Heavy Metal Is Born

When Birmingham band Earth later re-named themselves Black Sabbath, this, along with guitarist Black Sabbath down-tuned technique, doom-laden riffs and the satanic imagery in the lyrics, coined the term, Heavy Metal.

1969: The Invention Of The Mega Festival:

In 1969, half a million hippies left the bustling cities for the chance to see the likes of Bob Dylan, The Band, Jimi Hendrix and Van Morrison at the famous, Woodstock festival.

1969: The birth of Arena Rock:

1969: It's a common fact that The Beatles stopped touring due to the crowd being considerably louder than they were, and as a result became rather frustrated. However, in November 1969, the Rolling Stones US tour took the 'chore' of touring to a new level, commissioning the biggest and best sound and light systems. So if you've ever been to London's 02 Arena, you have the Stones to thank..

1973: Dark Side Of The Moon Starts Epic Chart Run:

Pink Floyd's eighth studio album captured the public's imagination like no other. Despite tackling themes of mental illness and conflict, the album racked up an impressive 741 weeks on the Billboard chart, but was only number one for a week.

1976: Van Halen Pioneer The Hair Metal Genre

You could say this four-piece American guitar band changed Rock music forever. Adding pop hooks to fast, aggressive guitar techniques with a more serious nature. Where heavy Rock's use of the Blues has previously been a plodding affair, Van Halen seemed to break away from this, speeding the simplest 12-bar sequence into something totally different.

1984: The Introduction Of The Rockumentary:

This Is Spinal Tap followed the lives of a struggling Metal band with a brilliant attention to detail. The film was so well received, many 'real' Rock bands started to claim that they had been the inspiration for Spinal Tap.

1985: Dire Straits Popularise New Technologies:

The band's fifth album, Brothers In Arms was the record that introduced the public (in a big way) to the CD. It later became the first album to sell a million copies in the new format, helped along by their animated music video for their hit single, Money For Nothing.

1986: Rap Metal Is Born:

If you've ever wondered how (and why) Limp Bizkit exist, you have the hip hop/guitar rock single, Walk This Way, to blame. The track was a collaborative cover version of a 1975 Aerosmith song remade by Run DMC, as well as Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. The collision of genres became the first Rock/Rap single to reach the top 5.

And that, my friends, is where I am stopping, on the cusp of the '90s. So look out for Part II.