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Define Classic Rock

Growing up in the 80s/90s, classic rock radio was dominated by 60s/70s rock and roll hits. 1990 minus 30 equals 1960. So “classic rock” was considered 20 to 30 year old music.

Let’s do some more math:
2022 minus 30 equals 1992.

R.E.M. - Drive
Alice In Chains - Would?
Pearl Jam - Even Flow
Soundgarden - Rusty Cage
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge
Nirvana - Come as You Are

Classic rock?

Let’s get a healthy discussion of your definition of classic rock. Is it time-centric? Or will the 60s-70s always be the definitive timeframe for this genre?

If you’ve got some time to kill today, here’s a podcast on the topic of classic rock. I posted the “Vs.” episode of this podcast on The Porch a couple weeks back. If you haven’t given that one a shot yet, it’s very entertaining, as well.

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Comments

  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    20 years now is the standard measuring stick for Classic now I thought?  Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park have now reached that status...  Cray.
  • Cropduster-80Cropduster-80 Posts: 187
    edited January 3
    IMO classic rock is more of a sound, not necessarily age.  The sound was probably defined in the era it was made though. 

    Classic rock to me will always be mid sixties through the 70’s 

    90’s will just have to be called something else as will the hair bands of the 80’s
    Post edited by Cropduster-80 on
  • erebuserebus Posts: 431
    Similar to the Golden age of movies or comics to me.
    A certain “time” defined by specific years, not by a set number of years ago
    1996: Toronto
    2003: St.Paul
    2005: Thunder Bay
    2008: West Palm Beach, Tampa
    2009: Chicago I, Chicago II
    2010: Boston
    2011: Toronto I, Toronto II, Winnipeg
    2012: Missoula
    2013: London, Pittsburgh, Buffalo
    2014: St. Paul, Milwaukee
    2016: Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto I, Toronto II
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    IMO classic rock is more of a sound, not necessarily age.  The sound was probably defined in the era it was made though. 

    Classic rock to me will always be mid sixties through the 70’s 

    90’s will just have to be called something else as will the hair bands of the 80’s
    erebus said:
    Similar to the Golden age of movies or comics to me.
    A certain “time” defined by specific years, not by a set number of years ago
    Nirvana and Pearl Jam get regular airplay on classic rock stations now.
  • Cropduster-80Cropduster-80 Posts: 187
    edited January 3
    IMO classic rock is more of a sound, not necessarily age.  The sound was probably defined in the era it was made though. 

    Classic rock to me will always be mid sixties through the 70’s 

    90’s will just have to be called something else as will the hair bands of the 80’s
    erebus said:
    Similar to the Golden age of movies or comics to me.
    A certain “time” defined by specific years, not by a set number of years ago
    Nirvana and Pearl Jam get regular airplay on classic rock stations now.
    That may just be the station keeping their age demo consistent  for advertisers.  Your average classic rock fan is well into their 70’s now. 

    I guess they can call it whatever they want. Nirvana to me will never be classic rock.  PJ I can see with ten in particular.  It’s got kind of a 70’s stadium rock vibe to it.  IE The Who

    Adding unrelated music into the classic rock umbrella makes it less defined and too eclectic 

    Post edited by Cropduster-80 on
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    edited January 3
    IMO classic rock is more of a sound, not necessarily age.  The sound was probably defined in the era it was made though. 

    Classic rock to me will always be mid sixties through the 70’s 

    90’s will just have to be called something else as will the hair bands of the 80’s
    erebus said:
    Similar to the Golden age of movies or comics to me.
    A certain “time” defined by specific years, not by a set number of years ago
    Nirvana and Pearl Jam get regular airplay on classic rock stations now.
    That may just be the station keeping their age demo consistent  for advertisers.  Your average classic rock fan is well into their 70’s now. 

    I guess they can call it whatever they want. Nirvana to me will never be classic rock.  PJ I can see with ten in particular.  It’s got kind of a 70’s stadium rock vibe to it.  IE The Who



    Remember that Bowling for Soup song? 1985. One of the lines I cracked up at was "When did Ozzy become an actor? When did Motley Crue become classic rock?"

    Edit:  I believe our era of music is referred to as "Dad Rock" now.
    Post edited by tempo_n_groove on
  • IMO classic rock is more of a sound, not necessarily age.  The sound was probably defined in the era it was made though. 

    Classic rock to me will always be mid sixties through the 70’s 

    90’s will just have to be called something else as will the hair bands of the 80’s
    erebus said:
    Similar to the Golden age of movies or comics to me.
    A certain “time” defined by specific years, not by a set number of years ago
    Nirvana and Pearl Jam get regular airplay on classic rock stations now.
    That may just be the station keeping their age demo consistent  for advertisers.  Your average classic rock fan is well into their 70’s now. 

    I guess they can call it whatever they want. Nirvana to me will never be classic rock.  PJ I can see with ten in particular.  It’s got kind of a 70’s stadium rock vibe to it.  IE The Who



    Edit:  I believe our era of music is referred to as "Dad Rock" now.
    Ha. 

    My kids wouldn’t argue that description 
  • MedozKMedozK TennesseePosts: 8,854
    You have 1st Generation Classic Rock (60s/70s) and 2nd Generation Classic Rock (80s/90s)
  • Cropduster-80Cropduster-80 Posts: 187
    edited January 3
    MedozK said:
    You have 1st Generation Classic Rock (60s/70s) and 2nd Generation Classic Rock (80s/90s)
    Classic rock,  contemporary rock 
    Classic alternative, contemporary alternative 
    maybe you could move those categories  into classic over time. 


    A lot of what we are thinking about in this thread isn’t traditional rock music to begin with. RHCP being classic rock when they were never rock to begin with is so strange 

    Post edited by Cropduster-80 on
  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 29,194
    I always thought classic rock was a sound. like the 60's or 70's. if it isn't, what do you call rock from the 50's?

    I think gen x was probably the first generation to be exposed to what we call classic rock, so we consider it a specific sound, but future generations would adopt it as whatever their parents listened to. 
    ....courage is fear that just said its prayers....


  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    I always thought classic rock was a sound. like the 60's or 70's. if it isn't, what do you call rock from the 50's?

    I think gen x was probably the first generation to be exposed to what we call classic rock, so we consider it a specific sound, but future generations would adopt it as whatever their parents listened to. 
    50's music was considered "oldies".  CBS radio days.
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 36,059
    Classic Rock: noun,  mainstream popular rock music your crusty old mom and dad listened to that generally focused on a small percentage of songs from record albums with the exclusion of anything not considered a "hit".  Also sometimes referred to as AOR, album oriented rock, dad rock, or geezer rock.
    "I believe in the mystery, and I don't want to take it any further than that. Maybe what I mean by that is love."
    -John Densmore











  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    I agree w everyone that 60-70's music is classic rock.
    50's are considered Oldies and our generation is Dad Rock.

    I wonder what the 2000's will be called?
  • HughFreakingDillonHughFreakingDillon WinnipegPosts: 29,194
    I agree w everyone that 60-70's music is classic rock.
    50's are considered Oldies and our generation is Dad Rock.

    I wonder what the 2000's will be called?
    Kid Rock
    ....courage is fear that just said its prayers....


  • Cropduster-80Cropduster-80 Posts: 187
    edited January 3

    I wonder what the 2000's will be called?
    The age of auto-tune. 

     the first generation of musicians who didn’t necessarily have to be able to sing. It’s more performance art with vocals being an afterthought 
    Post edited by Cropduster-80 on
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 36,059
    I agree w everyone that 60-70's music is classic rock.
    50's are considered Oldies and our generation is Dad Rock.

    I wonder what the 2000's will be called?

    There has been a ton of criticism about popular music being stagnant in the 2000's.  I sometimes defend music of the 2000's because I dislike disparaging anything musical, but I read something last night that does give some credence to the criticisms of contemporary popular music.  This is from Richard Barone who is best known from in band The Bongos, an 80's band from Hoboken, New Jersey.  Early in his 2007 book, Frontman; Surviving the Rock Star Myth, Barone is talking about the explosion of rock and pop music in the 60's and says,

    "Of course, no era can be repeated.  You can't step in the same river twice, etc.  That is the nature of all things.  But this goes beyond nostalgia, because even listeners born long after the era still gravitate toward this music. We would be wise to consider what made those records great, and how they led to the pop music that followed. Maybe it was because the emphasis wasn't on repeating past success, but genuinely creating something new .  Another contributing factor was specialization: there were arrangers, musicians, songwriters, producers, and singers.  Now, instead of doing one thing well, an artist is driven to do all of these things himself, and the results are watered down.  The art of arranging, especially, is being lost."
    "I believe in the mystery, and I don't want to take it any further than that. Maybe what I mean by that is love."
    -John Densmore











  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    edited January 3
    brianlux said:
    I agree w everyone that 60-70's music is classic rock.
    50's are considered Oldies and our generation is Dad Rock.

    I wonder what the 2000's will be called?

    There has been a ton of criticism about popular music being stagnant in the 2000's.  I sometimes defend music of the 2000's because I dislike disparaging anything musical, but I read something last night that does give some credence to the criticisms of contemporary popular music.  This is from Richard Barone who is best known from in band The Bongos, an 80's band from Hoboken, New Jersey.  Early in his 2007 book, Frontman; Surviving the Rock Star Myth, Barone is talking about the explosion of rock and pop music in the 60's and says,

    "Of course, no era can be repeated.  You can't step in the same river twice, etc.  That is the nature of all things.  But this goes beyond nostalgia, because even listeners born long after the era still gravitate toward this music. We would be wise to consider what made those records great, and how they led to the pop music that followed. Maybe it was because the emphasis wasn't on repeating past success, but genuinely creating something new .  Another contributing factor was specialization: there were arrangers, musicians, songwriters, producers, and singers.  Now, instead of doing one thing well, an artist is driven to do all of these things himself, and the results are watered down.  The art of arranging, especially, is being lost."
    Verse chorus verse chorus chorus still works, lol.

    Edit:  I have had this conversation w people about the 2000's and the lack of staying power of the bands.  We did get a small movement out of Brooklyn for a bit that produced some good music.  Other than that what is there?  Linkin Park, White Stripes.  I know of some other smaller bands but nothing comes right out as being huge.
    Post edited by tempo_n_groove on
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856

    I wonder what the 2000's will be called?
    The age of auto-tune. 

     the first generation of musicians who didn’t necessarily have to be able to sing. It’s more performance art with vocals being an afterthought 
    I thought it was cool when DaftPunk did it!
  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 5,780
    Anything older than the previous 10 years in Rock IMO. 


    But basically because there hasn't really been real hit rock songs in the past 15+ years, its pretty much a dead format. 

    We'll probably see Classic Indie Rock formats in the next 5-7 years to cover college rock of the 80s and Indie rock of the 90s and aughts.



  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 5,780


    Edit:  I have had this conversation w people about the 2000's and the lack of staying power of the bands.  We did get a small movement out of Brooklyn for a bit that produced some good music.  Other than that what is there?  Linkin Park, White Stripes.  I know of some other smaller bands but nothing comes right out as being huge.
    Though complicating this is how music started to be consumed in the 2000s. You had Napster/filesharing, then iTunes where all songs were .99, then you had streaming. You basically had everything diluting everything's potential for success just because of the mass amount of music to consume.  
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856


    Edit:  I have had this conversation w people about the 2000's and the lack of staying power of the bands.  We did get a small movement out of Brooklyn for a bit that produced some good music.  Other than that what is there?  Linkin Park, White Stripes.  I know of some other smaller bands but nothing comes right out as being huge.
    Though complicating this is how music started to be consumed in the 2000s. You had Napster/filesharing, then iTunes where all songs were .99, then you had streaming. You basically had everything diluting everything's potential for success just because of the mass amount of music to consume.  
    That is a great way of looking at it.  Downfall of radio too.  How pop music survives was a mystery until Brian posted above.  Pop music survives because you still have teams building and making records where you have bands and their DIY way and producing their own albums gets them street cred but no airplay.
  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 5,780
    Pop music will never die. People want catchy tunes that makes them feel big emotions. It’s necessary too.
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    Pop music will never die. People want catchy tunes that makes them feel big emotions. It’s necessary too.
    This is why Country music has been so successful the past 20 years or so.  Catchy poppy tunes. Production teams to make them...

    What are some of the bigger acts for the rock genre these past years?  21 Pilots, Imagine Dragons?  Can we put Ed Sheeran in that group?

    Those bands had teams making their albums.  Unless Rick Rubin does the production does any band get noticed?

    Talking out loud and starting the conversation.
  • ZodZod Posts: 8,095
    I tend to think most Rock is now classic rock.  Mainly because it's waned in popularity (and quality) for most of the 21st century.  Or maybe it's that I don't appreciate modern rock music, so 99% of what I listen to are bands that started before the year 2000.  

    I think kids are going start thinking (or already thinking) that rock music is a dinosaur.. but who knows what the future will bring.
  • LB260405LB260405 Posts: 19
    Stellar rock albums from the 2010s:
    1. Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
    2. Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
    3. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
    4. Tool - Fear Inoculum
    5. The Decemberists - The King is Dead
    6. The National - High Violet
    7. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
    8. Built to Spill - Untethered Moon
    9. The Black Keys - Brothers
    10. Spoon - Transference
    11. Modest Mouse - Strangers to Ourselves
    12. Arctic Monkeys - AM

    Rock isn't dead. About half of these are 90s acts, but the others didn't surface until the 2000s (and I'm sure I'm missing quite a few albums that aren't coming to mind at the moment).

    I also think that all of the listed albums are certainly classified as "rock", not an amalgamation of genres. So are the albums approaching 10 years of age really considered classic rock? Or are we sticking with dad rock? Haha.
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    Zod said:
    I tend to think most Rock is now classic rock.  Mainly because it's waned in popularity (and quality) for most of the 21st century.  Or maybe it's that I don't appreciate modern rock music, so 99% of what I listen to are bands that started before the year 2000.  

    I think kids are going start thinking (or already thinking) that rock music is a dinosaur.. but who knows what the future will bring.
    Younger bands that I see now all have stated the same thing.  "We love the 90's era of music"  It's interesting to hear a 20 something band playing a dinosaur Jr cover during their set.

    I also think that the lack of airplay on the radio and MTV lessens the chance of a DIY or indy band making it in the industry anymore.
  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 5,780
    edited January 4
    Pop music will never die. People want catchy tunes that makes them feel big emotions. It’s necessary too.
    This is why Country music has been so successful the past 20 years or so.  Catchy poppy tunes. Production teams to make them...

    What are some of the bigger acts for the rock genre these past years?  21 Pilots, Imagine Dragons?  Can we put Ed Sheeran in that group?

    Those bands had teams making their albums.  Unless Rick Rubin does the production does any band get noticed?

    Talking out loud and starting the conversation.
    I mean, on a successful, larger scale, thats about it. Clearly on an indie level, theres plenty of rock acts still. 






    Post edited by Tim Simmons on
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    LB260405 said:
    Stellar rock albums from the 2010s:
    1. Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
    2. Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
    3. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
    4. Tool - Fear Inoculum
    5. The Decemberists - The King is Dead
    6. The National - High Violet
    7. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
    8. Built to Spill - Untethered Moon
    9. The Black Keys - Brothers
    10. Spoon - Transference
    11. Modest Mouse - Strangers to Ourselves
    12. Arctic Monkeys - AM

    Rock isn't dead. About half of these are 90s acts, but the others didn't surface until the 2000s (and I'm sure I'm missing quite a few albums that aren't coming to mind at the moment).

    I also think that all of the listed albums are certainly classified as "rock", not an amalgamation of genres. So are the albums approaching 10 years of age really considered classic rock? Or are we sticking with dad rock? Haha.
    Quite a few of those bands stem from the Brooklyn revival that I mentioned earlier even if they aren't from Brooklyn.  They could also be known as the Hipster revival, lol.

    Rock isn't dead it's just harder to find something with legs.

    I would add any Oh Sees album from the last 10 years too.  Some of it is on the harder side but they are great albums none the less.  All them Witches, Jack white, Cage the Elephant, Young The Giant have also put out great albums in the past 10 years.

    Of all the band listed here Arcade, Witches and Oh Sees have moved the needle for me.
  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 5,780
    edited January 4
    I read this yesterday. interesting take.

    https://www.stereogum.com/2171542/2022-state-of-pop-address/columns/the-week-in-pop/

    We’ve been experiencing rumblings from the new guitar-based pop community for a little while now, starting with elder millennial and used-to-be-rapper Machine Gun Kelly pivoting to pop-punk on 2020’s Tickets To My Downfall, which featured genre OG Travis Barker on drums. Months later, tons of acts have followed suit, with everyone from Avril Lavigne (millennial) to WILLOW (Gen Z) tapping the Blink-182 percussionist to appear on their tracks, as if Barker’s presence adds a note of era authenticity. (Lavigne, being another Y2K pop-punk relic, doesn’t really need Barker’s presence for added legitimacy, but his involvement on her song certainly doesn’t hurt.)

    As for the “why,” I bet this current return to the guitar has something to do with Gen Z’s overall dismissal of the status quo. In 2018, writer Dan Ozzi attributed rock’s decline in popular music to kids “want[ing] to listen to songs that sound like commercials. Kids want familiarity. Kids want music to dance and take drugs to.” But a lot can change in four years. Today’s kids have lived through not one, but two once-in-a-lifetime recessions, a global pandemic, massive inflation, crippling debt, an attack on the Capitol, gun violence, and the overall breakdown of democracy. As a generation, Gen Z can see right through this “greatest country in the world” bullshit. A pop singer doesn’t have to be overtly political or plugged into the news cycle to feel the effects. Rock music — punk-rock, in particular — has always been a prime vehicle for expressing angst and frustration.

    Perhaps the most famous pop singer to make the guitar great again is Olivia Rodrigo, who dominated 2021 with her debut, SOUR, home to angsty anthems like “brutal” and “good 4 u.” There was also Halsey’s spectacular If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, which gave pop music a fresh, industrial edge, courtesy of producers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and laced its credits with rock veterans like Dave Grohl and Lindsey Buckingham.

    All of this renewed interest in the guitar has started to trickle down in earnest. Rising voices in pop — GAYLE, Clinton Kane, Nessa Barrett, jxdn, beabadoobee, Pinkshift — cite influence from ’00s scene staples like All Time Low and Paramore. But as The Face has pointed out, the roots of this resurgence can actually be traced back to last decade, when SoundCloud rappers like Lil Uzi Vert called Hayley Williams a major influence, and Lil Peep would sample guitar bands like Pierce The Veil and Real Friends. More recently, I would go so far as to argue that the success of The Matrix: Resurrections and its all-black dystopian/cyberpunk aesthetic both benefit from and will continue to influence the pop music matrix (because, come on, we’re totally getting more sequels). And as long as we’re talking about cyberpunk, video games, and the metaverse, tomorrow’s pop will no doubt be influenced by all of these expanded realities, with more artists — like Japanese Breakfast and CHVRCHES this past year — writing music for such platforms.

    Post edited by Tim Simmons on
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 29,856
    I read this yesterday. interesting take.

    https://www.stereogum.com/2171542/2022-state-of-pop-address/columns/the-week-in-pop/

    We’ve been experiencing rumblings from the new guitar-based pop community for a little while now, starting with elder millennial and used-to-be-rapper Machine Gun Kelly pivoting to pop-punk on 2020’s Tickets To My Downfall, which featured genre OG Travis Barker on drums. Months later, tons of acts have followed suit, with everyone from Avril Lavigne (millennial) to WILLOW (Gen Z) tapping the Blink-182 percussionist to appear on their tracks, as if Barker’s presence adds a note of era authenticity. (Lavigne, being another Y2K pop-punk relic, doesn’t really need Barker’s presence for added legitimacy, but his involvement on her song certainly doesn’t hurt.)

    As for the “why,” I bet this current return to the guitar has something to do with Gen Z’s overall dismissal of the status quo. In 2018, writer Dan Ozzi attributed rock’s decline in popular music to kids “want[ing] to listen to songs that sound like commercials. Kids want familiarity. Kids want music to dance and take drugs to.” But a lot can change in four years. Today’s kids have lived through not one, but two once-in-a-lifetime recessions, a global pandemic, massive inflation, crippling debt, an attack on the Capitol, gun violence, and the overall breakdown of democracy. As a generation, Gen Z can see right through this “greatest country in the world” bullshit. A pop singer doesn’t have to be overtly political or plugged into the news cycle to feel the effects. Rock music — punk-rock, in particular — has always been a prime vehicle for expressing angst and frustration.

    Perhaps the most famous pop singer to make the guitar great again is Olivia Rodrigo, who dominated 2021 with her debut, SOUR, home to angsty anthems like “brutal” and “good 4 u.” There was also Halsey’s spectacular If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, which gave pop music a fresh, industrial edge, courtesy of producers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and laced its credits with rock veterans like Dave Grohl and Lindsey Buckingham.

    All of this renewed interest in the guitar has started to trickle down in earnest. Rising voices in pop — GAYLE, Clinton Kane, Nessa Barrett, jxdn, beabadoobee, Pinkshift — cite influence from ’00s scene staples like All Time Low and Paramore. But as The Face has pointed out, the roots of this resurgence can actually be traced back to last decade, when SoundCloud rappers like Lil Uzi Vert called Hayley Williams a major influence, and Lil Peep would sample guitar bands like Pierce The Veil and Real Friends. More recently, I would go so far as to argue that the success of The Matrix: Resurrections and its all-black dystopian/cyberpunk aesthetic both benefit from and will continue to influence the pop music matrix (because, come on, we’re totally getting more sequels). And as long as we’re talking about cyberpunk, video games, and the metaverse, tomorrow’s pop will no doubt be influenced by all of these expanded realities, with more artists — like Japanese Breakfast and CHVRCHES this past year — writing music for such platforms.

    I've mentioned before that we are due for a music revival.  The timing and climate is ripe for it.  Unfortunately if this writer thinks we will go down the emo brand of music again Im out... 

    MJ Kellys last album is really good if you like Blink and I do.

    Never liked Skater Boi, Avril Lavigne the first time around either.

    Olivia Rodrigo has some talent but not seeing her as a rock person?  Same w Halsey.  If your idea of rock is some form of Daughtry then Halsey and Chvrches are for you.  People love Chvches too.  I tried.  Can't do it.

    The "wanting songs to sound like commercials" is a perfect definition.  How many underground songs are picked up and put into commercials nowadays?  Matt & Kim's song It's alright sells Buicks.  It's funny because Matt will say he is proud of that during concerts now. 
     I had no idea who Oliver Tree was until his song was featured in an Apple commercial.

    A commercial is a great way to discover bands nowadays, lol.
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