Evolution of music: Journey from Broadway to Electronica

St. Vincent performs at O2 Apollo Manchester in October 2017 in Manchester, England.

Music styles are reflection of cultural changes in society and have evolved with the passing decades. As the years pass, our favorite music changes too, and variations in musical memes are passed down to the coming generation. Music has dramatically changed from radio to online videos in past seventy years. Few of those delectable changes in music from 1920s to the present day are as follows:




1920-30: An Era of Jazz and Dancing Bands

The popularity of Jazz, Blues, Broadway and traveling Dance Bands soared during the early 1920s after the culmination of the First World War. The optimism and upbeat rhythms were evident in the noisy parties as the economy boomed. The artists such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Sophie Tucker, and Eddie Cantor ruled the parties during those years. The Great Depression remained till the 1930s after its advent in the late 1920s, which heavily influenced the music of that time. The songs of genres such as Swing, Jazz, Country, and Traditional Pop echoed the adversities faced by people during that phase while keeping an upbeat mood. The popular artists of those times were Cab Calloway, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Rudy Vallee, etc.

1940-50: Rule of Big Band and Swing

The music of the 40s mainly consisted of Jazz, Swing, Country, Bebop, Novelty Acts and Traveling Bands. The songs to a large extent reflected the pain of World War II while trying to remain upbeat. Most of the countries were involved in the war during those years; hence many artists were involved in entertaining the troops. The artists such as Rosemary, Artie Shaw, Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald made music a venial sin during those years. The 1950s saw a drastic change in music depicting the beginning of major cultural changes. While radio and television started becoming the part of each household, genres like Traditional Pop, Rock, and Roll, Rhythm and Blues, Calypso began setting their foot. Artists such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly etc became household names then.

1960-70: Emergence and Expansion of Rock Music

The music of the 1960s reflected a large dichotomy between the ultimate commercialization of music to austere and manufactured bands like The Monkees and The Archies. The revolutionary artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan also emerged on the scene. Other artists and live bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and, Simon & Garfunkel depicted the commercialization in music and new innovations in musical instruments. The Beatles ruled the charts and emphasized on British Invasion that dominated the decade. The other forms of rock such as Psychedelic Rock, Surf Rock, Blues-Rock, Progressive Rock, Garage Rock, Protest music etc also emerged during this period. The music of the 1970s acted as a bridge between the earnestness of the music from the late 1960s and the frivolousness of music from the 1980s. The biggest and most despised trend of the decade was Disco. The popular artists during that time were The Doors, Rod Stewart, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, etc.

1980-90: The Era of Music Videos

MTV (Music Television) came into picture in the 1980s and the world of music changed dramatically. A great importance was placed on the appearance of the artists and gimmicks became very common in music videos. Genres such as Synth-Pop, New-Wave, Hair-metal, Hip-hop, Alternative Rock, Gothic Rock, Heavy Metal etc became popular since the electronic sounds in these genres resembled the advent of computer age. Another genre that gained popularity during this era was Hair Metal due to the theatrical performances by artists. Popular artists of this period were Lionel Ritchie, Dolly Parton, David Bowie, Dolly Parton, Olivia Newton-John, etc. Akin to the 60s, the 1990s was a decade of gangster rappers and grunge bands. Powerful professional singers like Mariah Carey, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Whitney Housten, Guns and Roses ruled the charts during this decade. Other popular genres were Technotronic, Bubblegum Pop, Contemporary R&B, Country-Pop, Gangster Rap, Boy Bands/Girl Groups, etc.

The New Millennium Music

The two decades of 2000 saw a variety of genres in which the same artists remain popular for several years. The early 2000s witnessed the simultaneous popularity of pop and rock songs. With increased advances in information technology and internet capabilities, people had instant access to their favorite songs at relatively low cost. A few popular genres of the two decades in this period were Indie Rock, Dance-Pop, Emo, Pop-Punk, Contemporary R&B, Hip-Hop, Reggaeton, Electronica, Teen Pop, Boy Bands etc, Hard Rock, Alternative Metal, and New Wave Revival. Hence, music and its genres have changed constantly according to the developments in the society.

Hope you liked this blog!

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