[Jakarta, LttW] Rock music is known to the world as music that graced the history of pop music over the span of the second half of the 20th century. Over the span of 50 years since the beginning of the era of ‘Rock and Roll’ to the now era of ‘Post-Rock’, rock music both as a genre as well as social and intellectual movement of the young happened 50 years ago had never been able to be replaced by any new musical genres that manifested years after, when viewed from the magnitude of its impact on humanity. Call it the end of the Vietnam War, women’s equality, the elimination of racial discrimination, the establishment of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), to dozens of new sub-genres and fashion statement which were born and inspired by rock music.
And to celebrate the 50th years of rock music’s ‘establishment’, listentotheworld would like to pay tribute to the 10 rock group/musicians of the 60’s that we considered as the most influential and inspirational among others. In no particular order, here they are…
1. The Beatles
An English rock band, consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, formed in Liverpool in 1960 that became one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the group later utilised many genres, ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical and other elements, in innovative ways.
In the early 1960s, their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”, but as their songwriting grew in sophistication, they came to be perceived by many fans and cultural observers as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era’s socio-cultural revolutions.
2. The Who
Formed in 1964 by Roger Daltrey (lead vocals, harmonica and guitar), Pete Townshend (guitar, keyboards and vocals), John Entwistle (bass guitar, brass and vocals) and Keith Moon (drums and percussion). They became known for energetic live performances which often included instrument destruction.
The band has also been called “The Godfathers of Punk due to their loud, aggressive approach to rock and the attitude evinced in songs like “My Generation”. The group has also been credited with originating the “rock opera” and it made one of the first notable concept albums, “Tommy” (1969). The band had an impact on fashion from their earliest days with their embrace of pop art and their groundbreaking use of the now common Union Jack for clothing. Their contributions to rock iconography include the windmill strum, the Marshall Stack and the guitar smash.
3. It’s A Beautiful Day
An American band formed in San Francisco, California, in 1967 by Matthew Katz, featuring vocalist Pattie Santos along with violinist David LaFlamme and his wife, Linda LaFlamme, on keyboards. Although they were one of the earliest and most important San Francisco bands to emerge from 1967’s social movement “Summer of Love”, the band never quite achieved the success of contemporaries such as The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Santana, with whom they had connections. The band created a unique blend of rock, jazz, folk, classical and world beat styles during the seven years it was officially together.
Yes was an English rock band who achieved worldwide success with their progressive, conceptual and symphonic style of rock music. Regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre, Yes are known for their lengthy songs often with complex instrumental and vocal arrangements, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, and live stage sets.
Formed in 1968 by Squire and singer Jon Anderson, the first line-up also included guitarist Peter Banks, keyboardist Tony Kaye and drummer Bill Bruford, who released two albums together to lukewarm reception and sales. Yes began to enjoy success after the release of The Yes Album (1971) and Fragile (1971), which featured new arrivals Howe and keyboardist Rick Wakeman.
5. The Rolling Stones
Formed in London in 1962 and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. The group’s earliest line-up consisted of Brian Jones (guitar, harmonica), Ian Stewart (piano), Mick Jagger (lead vocals, harmonica), Keith Richards (guitar, vocals), Bill Wyman (bassist) and Charlie Watts (drummer).
The Rolling Stones are notable in modern popular music for assimilating various musical genres into their own collective sound. Throughout the band’s career, their musical contributions have been marked by a continual reference and reliance on musical styles including blues, rhythm and blues, country, folk, reggae, dance, and world music, exemplified by Jones’ collaboration with the Master Musicians of Jajouka, as well as traditional English styles that use stringed instrumentation like harps. Brian Jones experimented with the use of non-traditional instruments such as the sitar and slide guitar in their early days.
6. Jimi Hendrix
An American musician and singer-songwriter. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest electric guitarists in music history. Hendrix helped to popularize use of the wah-wah pedal in mainstream rock, which he often used to deliver tonal exaggerations in his solos, particularly with high bends, complex guitar playing, and use of legato. Hendrix was a pioneer in experimentation with stereophonic phasing effects in rock music recordings. He was influenced by electric blues artists such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Albert King and Elmore James, surf rock guitarist Dick Dale, rhythm and blues and soul guitarists Curtis Mayfield and Steve Cropper, and the jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery.
7. Carlos Santana
A Mexican and American rock guitarist. Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered the cross-genres of rock, Latin music and jazz. The band’s sound featured his melodic, blues-based guitar lines set against Latin and African rhythms featuring percussion instruments such as timbales and congas not generally heard in rock music.
8. The Velvet Underground
An American rock band formed in New York City. First active from 1964 to 1973, their best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although experiencing little commercial success while together, the band is often cited by many critics as one of the most important and influential groups of the 1960s. An often-repeated statement, usually attributed to Brian Eno or Peter Buck, is that “the first Velvet Underground album only sold 1,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.”
Andy Warhol managed the Velvet Underground and it was the house band at his studio, the Factory, and his Exploding Plastic Inevitable events. The provocative lyrics of some of the band’s songs gave a nihilistic outlook to some of their music.
9. Grace Slick
American singer, songwriter, and former model, best known as one of the lead singers of the rock groups The Great Society, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and Starship, as well as for her work as a solo artist from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s. Slick was an important figure in the 1960s psychedelic rock movement, known for her witty lyrics and powerful contralto vocals.
Slick, along with Janis Joplin, opened opportunities into the rock music scene for future female singers. Her distinctive vocal style and striking stage presence exerted influence on other female performers including Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith.
Active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed as the “New Yardbirds” in 1968, the band consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham.
They are widely considered to be one of the most successful, innovative and influential rock groups in history. Due to the heavy, guitar-driven blues rock sound of their first two albums, Led Zeppelin are frequently recognized as the progenitors of heavy metal and hard rock. However, the band’s individualistic style drew from a wide variety of influences, including folk music, which they incorporated into their next two albums. Their untitled fourth album, which features the track “Stairway to Heaven”, is among the most popular and influential works in rock music, and it cemented the status of the group as “superstars”.
Led Zeppelin also had a significant cultural impact. Jim Miller, editor of Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll, argues that “On one level, Led Zeppelin represents the final flowering of the sixties’ psychedelic ethic, which casts rock as passive sensory involvement”. While the band’s fashion-sense has been seminal; Simeon Lipman, head of pop culture at Christie’s auction house, has commented that “Led Zeppelin have had a big influence on fashion because the whole aura surrounding them is so cool, and people want a piece of that”.
Author: Aryo Adhianto
A Former Chief Editor of Listen to the World