History of the pop rock genre

By Josh Graham, Chloe Hill, and Oli Harbord - Text from slideshare.net, for academic purposes only.

A picture of Jimi Hendrix

Early days

The origins of the pop rock genre comes from the early 1950's where the guitar and bass guitar accompanied such singers as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry. This music was popular and catchy to the public yet had the original hints of rock which has changed ever so much over the years.


As time moved on into the 1960's, rock and roll became pop rock and split into sub categories. Such bands like the Beatles provided mellow rock sounds, which capitalised on the pop culture and also the A list celebrity culture soon became the major thing. Through the Beatles the stardom grew. Something that any teenager of that era was the main focus of their life. Artists as Jimi Hendrix also came into the scence and mixed up the sounds we were hearing.


1960's is when music really took off. This new wave of music gave people inspiration and lead to different genres, all deriving from the 1905's rockability genre that the people grew with. The Rolling Stones, the Who, and Jimi Hendrix lead on to the heavier rock genres. 1960's also saw hippies an punks starting to develop, which both enjoyed bands of the pop rock genre. This was experienced at Woodstock in 1969.


As time moved on, so did the pop rock genre although now it had become that umbrella term over many bands and sub genres. Mainstream rock went into soft and hard rock. Soft rock involving Fleetwood Mac and Rod Stewart, and hard rock being Led Zeppelin and the punk scene, which had by now developed into a massive scene with the Ramones, the Clash, and the Sex Pistols leading the way. Yet this era lasted no more than 5 years, before punk died with the Sex Pistols. Obviously punk rock is not our genre. Soft rock was the kind of background which continued on into pop rock music. Fleetwood Mac and Queen were soft rock bands which were key in the soft rock genre. These bands were stylish and began involving the weird and extraordinary rock star look that comes with being a star in this musinc scene.


The 1980's saw disco dominate hte major music scene with the pop rock taking a back seat. Rock began to distance itself apart more and more with glam rock, metal and alternative being different scenes people followed. Pop rock was more alternative at this point. Bands like R.E.M. were the main trend setters. This music was hyper rational and futuristc but still had hints of punk which drew crowds in. 1980's was a lull in pop rock. It had been swolled up and spat out.


The 1990's saw the huge serge of pop rock culture with garage bands making music easily and the biggest artists also going into the punk and rock resurgence that came back in this era. Michael Jackson started exploring into the rock genre with Billie Jean. Many major bands were renowned for their rock culture and style, which became so popular for the people of the time. The bands from America made the new scene of pop rock as we know it today, with bands being male fronted with the iconistic style and somewhat childish nature of partying. Blink 182, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Green Day being on the horizon in this era. This style echoed across the US and UK. The style was a mix of punk rythms with a mix of catchy pop culture which seemed to speak to the masses. Even groups could mix grunge with pop to make post grunge under the pop rock banner in the form of Nirvana.