This form of music has emerged in the 1960s in roughly the same time as other forms of music such as blues rock, psychedelic and garage music. Hard rock or also known as heavy rock is actually a subgenre of rock music and most music in this genre can be recognized by a few identifying characteristics such as the use of bass guitars, drums, very aggressive vocals and substantially distorted electric guitars. By the middle 1970s, hard rock has become very popular and several well-known rock bands appeared on the scene such as Aerosmith, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Deep purple and several others. There were also other genres which have developed out of hard rock and during the 1980s some of the popular bands have started to express themselves through pop rock. The hard rock music industry has seen some of its best times commercially during the 1980s. However during the 1990s other music forms replaced hard rock as the most popular form of music and during this time urban Pop, Hip-Hop and R&B became very popular.
Surviving in an ever-changing environment
Many of the later bands have adopted some of the characteristics of hard rock and this has led to a renewed interest in the early 2000s. Many of the original hard rock bands remained popular and there were even some of the more successful hard rock bands which continued to be popular post-2000. One of the most popular instruments in any hard rock bank is always the electric guitar and therefore this instrument will be overly emphasized because of its ability to produce distorted sounds and other musical effects. Another strength of the electric guitar is its ability to serve as a rhythm instrument and therefore interesting musical repetitions could be produced by a capable guitar player. Another instrument which is very important in the typical hard rock set up is the drums which is important in order to establish a particular rhythm but sometimes cymbals might also be used for added effect. Then there will always be the bass guitar which mostly complement the drums although it can sometimes be used as the sole backing for lead guitars and other rhythm instruments.
The use of vocals
The vocals which are used in hard rock bands is unlike anything which is used in any other type of music. Therefore it is not unusual to hear raspy voices, screaming, growling or wailing with vocals in a typical hard rock band. This music form has always been ruled by male performers and likewise, the audiences were mostly white working class young people. During the 1960s the term hard rock was sometimes substituted with the term heavy metal but eventually heavy metal became synonym with music which was even louder in volume and which was even more intense than hard rock. However, it was seen repeatedly throughout the history of hard rock that these two genres have frequently influenced each other and the division between them was sometimes nonexistent. The music form known as electric blues which was popular in the 1950s is widely accepted to be the foundation on which hard rock was eventually founded. Electric blues have used that special expressive vocal style with the use of peculiar heavy guitar use which was always accompanied by a strong beat and other hard rock characteristics.
Some important contributors
Some electric blues musicians that deserve recognition was the Memphis blues guitarists such as Willie Johnson and Joe Hill as well as Pat Hare. These people have done some amazing things with electric guitars as can be seen on records such as Cotton Crop Blues in 1954. However, there were several other artists who have likewise contributed to the foundation on which hard rock was established. It was especially American and British blues and rock bands who were looking at alternative rock ‘n roll flavors during the 1960s and they have accomplished this by adding harder sounds and by experiencing with excessively loud vocals, overwhelming guitar riffs, and very aggressive drumming. The Chicago blues is a perfect example for anyone who wants to experience some of the earliest hard rock moments. However, there was also other bands such as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. During the latter part of the 1960s most of the hard rock bands begin to distinguish between soft and hard rock and in this regard soft rock was those who had their roots in folk rock where the most popular instruments were acoustic instruments and where the main emphasis was on harmonies and melodies. This music type was significantly softer and less intense than its hard rock counterpart.
Hard rock in the 1990s
This music genre was still one of the most dominant kinds of commercial music during the 1990s as can be seen by the successes of especially AC/DC, Guns and roses and Ozzy Osbourne. However, there were also many other hard rock bands which have made their mark during this time such as Def Leppard and the Black Crowes. Some of these people have enjoyed extended periods of time at the top of some of the most notable music charts. Unfortunately, not all hard rock bands were equally successful and popular but there were alternative forms of hard rock which did enjoy a measure of success both in the US and the UK. One example of this was the popularity of Nirvana in 1991 in which there were elements of heavy metal and hard-core punk which was accompanied by guitar distortions and other peculiar feedback sounds as well as darker lyrical themes which were somewhat different to what others were doing at the same time. However, many grunge bands were experimenting with different sounds and many of them had varying degrees of success with their specific kind of hard rock. Music in any form has to connect with its audience by conveying a specific message or by providing the audience with some other value while people are listening to that art form. It seems that today’s audiences are no longer so much attracted to hard rock and there are many people that have come to recognize the destructive effects of hard rock on societies.