• Hard Rock fused with prog, pop, metal, opera, vaudeville, etc.
  • Huge sound onstage and in studio: multiple overdubs, especially elaborate background vocals and layered guitars
  • Charismatic, campy lead singer Freddy Mercury died of AIDS in 1992
  • “We Are the Champions/We Will Rock you” is the anthem at many sporting events
  • *Members: Freddie Mercury (vocals), John Deacon (bass), Roger Taylor (drums), Brian May (guitar)

“Bohemian Rhapsody”

By Queen

  • Signature song from 1975 A Night at the Opera album
  • Complicated structure (shifts in style from piano ballad to pseudo-opera to hard rock and back)
  • Sense of humor/kitsch permeates throughout
  • Became a hit again in 1991 after appearance in film Wayne’s World

“Walk This Way”

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By Aerosmith

  • This song is from 1975 Toys in the Attic album
  • Considered by man to be the greatest American rock band
  • Influenced by Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, R;B
  • In 1986, this song was rerecorded with rappers Run-D.M.C. and became a hit again
  • Members: Joey Kramer (drums), Steven Tyler (vocals), Tom Hamilton (bass), Brad Whitford (guitar), Joe Perry (guitar)

70s Excess…

  • Unprecedented amounts of money were being generated by rock musicians
    • Reflected in extravagant touring/lifestyles (jet planes, limos, entourages drugs, etc.)
    • Music industry and technology were catching up (merchandising, marketing, PA systems, etc.)
  • Shows became more theatrical, stage production more elaborate
  • In the age before MTV live showes were more essential part of bands’ careers


  • Examples of women being degraded, or sexually liberated feminist role models?
  • During this era, some groupies became famous in their own right
  • GTO’s (Girls Together Outrageously)
    • Recorded an album with Frank Zappa
    • Pamela DeBarres, most famous member, has become a well-known author
    • Plaster casters


  • Hard rock which emphasized visual spectacle/theatrical aspects
  • Advocated sexual freedom, including androgynous stage personae and sometimes open bisexuality
  • Generally lacked interest in social/political issues
  • Important artists: David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Kiss


By David Bowie

  • This song from the Young Americans album was his first #1 hit in the U.S.
  • Quintessential “glam” artist, but has had a varied and diverse career, including film acting
  • Ziggy Stardust–androgynous alter-ego. Image influenced by Japanese kabuki and avant-garde theater
  • This song co-written by John Lennon and Carlos Alomar

“School’s Out”

By Alice Cooper

  • Grew up in Detroit
  • One of the first rock artists to deliberately set out to shock people
  • Theatrical stage shows included guillotines, snakes, chickens, baby dolls, etc.
  • Signed to first record deal by Frank Zappa

“Rock and Roll All Night”

By Kiss

  • Influenced by the New York Dolls
  • Highly influential over-the-top live shows; pyro, explosions, “ego ramps,” high wire flying, fake blood, etc.
  • Simmons is marketing and merchandising genius
  • Rock as theater/entertainment, not art
  • *Members: Gene Simmons (bass), Paul Stanley (vocals/guitar), Ace Frehley (guitar), Peter Criss (drums)

Southern Rock

  • Fused country rock with blues and soul
  • Returned rock to its southern R&B roots
  • Projected outlaw-style Southern pride which resonated in post-Civil Rights era
  • Important artists: Allman Bros., Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels

“Statesboro Blues”

By the Allman Brothers

  • Influenced by jazz and blues: improvisation a central part of their sound
  • Slide guitar genius Duane died in a motorcycle accident in 1971; Oakley died a year later the same way
  • Still tour and draw large crowds every year
  • Live album At the Fillmore East is a classic
  • 12 bar blues form
  • *Members: Berry Oakley (bass/vocals), Jaimoe (drums), Butch Trucks (drums), Duane Allman (guitar), Greg Allman (vocals/organ), Dickey Betts (guitar/vocals)

“Sweet Home Alabama”

By Lynyrd Skynyrd

  • Signature 3-sound guitar
  • Blues-rock influence
  • Detailed, composed parts for instrumentalists; no improvisation
  • 1977 plane crash killed Van Zandt, Gaines, and Gaines’ sister Cassie (a background singer)
  • Like Allmans, still draw large crowds on tour
    • Rossington is the only original member in the band
    • Live shows have always been central to their career
  • *Members: Lean Wilkeson (bass), Allen Collins (guitar), Artimus Pyle (drums), Gary Rossington (guitar), Steve Gaines (guitar), Ronnie Van Zandt (vocals), Billy Powell (piano)


Music Industry in the 70s

  • Rock radio formatted catered to specific demographics (oldies, AOR [Album-Oriented Rock], R&B, Top 40, easy listening)
  • Consolidation of power by recording industry
  • Rock became big business
    • Arena tours
    • Multi-platinum sales
    • Non music-oriented corporations began buying record companies when they saw how much money could be made
  • Punk rockers eventually rebelled against what they perceived to be bloated, stale

“Go your Own Way”

By Fleetwood Mac

  • Late 60s version of the band (before Nicks and Buckingham) featured British blues guitarist Peter Green
  • Evolved into a polished rock/pop band
  • Phenomenal commercial success (Rumors album is one of the biggest-selling albums of all time)
  • *Members: Mick Fleetwood (drums), John McVie (bass), Stevie Nicks (vocals), Lindsey Buckingham (guitar/vocals), Christine McVie (keys/vocals)

“Do you Feel Like we Do”

By Peter Frampton

  • Was in British band Humble Pie early in career
  • Special effect on this song: talk box
  • One of the biggest “arena rock” stars of the ’70s
  • This double album was biggest-selling live recording ever at the time

“Tiny Dancer”

By Elton John

  • This song was from early in his career, before later excesses he became notorious for
    • Outrageous performances, glasses, costumes, etc.
    • Drug and alcohol problems (like many 70s rock stars)
  • Prolific songwriter
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is perhaps his greatest album; this is from 1971 Madman Across the Water album
  • Collaborates with Bernie Taupin, lyric writer

“Another Brick in the Wall, Part II”

By Pink Floyd

  • Roots in the ’60s London blues-rock scene (name taken from two bluesmen)
  • Moved into psychedelia and progressive rock styles
  • Experimented with electronic sounds, concept albums
  • The Wall was #1 in late 1979 and early 1980
  • Creative leader Syd Barrett left band in 1968, replaced by David Gilmour
  • *Members: Rick Wright (keyboards), Syd Barrett (guitar/vocals), Roger Waters (bass/vocals), Nick Mason (drums)

“What’s Going On”


By Marvin Gaye

  • Successful R&B career in the ’60s on Motown
    • Duets with Tammi Terrell are especially notable
  • This 1971 song and album mark an artistic departure
    • Gaye produced himself
    • Suite of songs organized around central character who is returning from Vietnam
    • Took on subjects like war and poverty that were typically avoided by Motown
    • Berry Gordy initially didn’t want to release it


By Stevie Wonder

  • Big success as a teen on Motown
  • In 1971, renegotiated his contract with Motown at age 21
    • Gained complete creative control
    • His greatest artistic achievements came in this initial period of autonomy
  • Clavinet: keyboard which plays famous hook in this song
  • This song is from Talking Book album

“Everyday People”

By Sly and the Family Stone

  • Sly Stone–leader
  • Integrated racially and gender-wise
  • Combined funk and psychedelic rock
  • Larry Graham–innovative bassist
  • Stone, Graham, and Stone’s sister Rosie all sang lead vocals
  • This song from the album Stand! went to #1


By The Jackson Five

  • Last great act to emerge on Motown
  • Michael became lead singer at age 6
  • First group in history to have first four singles hit #1
  • Giant crossover success–even became a Saturday morning cartoon show


  • Named after discotheques, dance clubs where the music was played
  • Began in underground scene in NYC (especially hispanic, black, and gay clubs)
  • Experience is DJ/dance floor-oriented; typically no bands onstage
  • Studio 54 was the most famous of the ’70s disco clubs
  • Foundation for Euro-dance, techno, and rave trends that followed

“Last Dance”

By Donna Summer

  • The “Queen of Disco” began as a powerful gospel singer
  • Song begins as a ballad, breaks into quintessential disco
  • “Four on the Floor” kick drum pattern (all four beats in each measure played)
  • Elaborate string and horn arrangements

“Stayin’ Alive”

By The Bee Gees

  • This comeback hit marked second phase of career (were also successful ’60s “blue eyed soul” group)
  • Robin and Maurice are twins; younger brother Andy became teen idol in the ’70s
  • From 1977 film Saturday Night Fever double LP soundtrack (film starred John Travolta)
  • Biggest selling albm ever until Michael Jackson’s Thriller
  • Helped bring disco to Middle America


  • Jamaican musicians in the ’60s influenced by Black Power movement in the U.S.
  • Reggae grew out of the more uptempo Jamaican musical genre ska
  • Rastafarian religion is at the core of this music
  • Reggae and ska inspiured many punk and new wave musicians
  • Jamaican dub mixes were also an important part of early hip-hop history

“I Shot the Sheriff”

By Bob Marley and the Wailers

  • Signed to Island Records in 1972; first Jamaican reggae band to have international success
  • Wrote songs about spirituality and the struggles of poor Jamaicans
  • Listen for piano playing “offbeats”–typical Jamaican sound
  • The Wailers still tour (Peter Tash and Bunny Wailer were in the early version)

“Walk on the Wild Side”

By Lou Reed

  • Leader (with John Cale) of Velvet Underground
    • Seminal proto-punk band inspired by the Beats
    • Part of Andy Warhol’s Factory scene
  • Long and diverse career as a solo artist
  • This song is from the 1973 album Transformer
    • Listen for doo wop influence
    • Produced by David Bowie
    • Reed’s first pop hit

Punk Rock

  • Originated in NYC’s Bowery district
    • Literary-minded avant-garde musicians like Patti Smith and Richard Hell helped define the sound, look, and aesthetic
    • CBGB’s–club at the center of the scene
  • An aesthetic as much as a musical style
    • Rebellion against veirtually all previous styles of rock music, but especially “corporate rock”
    • Rebellion against society/belief in anarchy
    • “DIY [do it yourself]” attitude
    • Ripped clothing signaled rejection of rock star clothes/attitude
  • Minimalistic, aggressive, angry musical style
    • Belief that anyone should be able to play; virtuosity was unimportant

“I Wanna Be Sedated”

By The Ramones

  • Considered by most to be the first punk rock band
  • All band members took the last name Ramone [*members: Joey, Dee Dee, Johnny, and Tommy]
  • Modeled look after ’50s greasers like Gene Vincent (black leather jackets, t-shirts, jeans)
  • Were less interested in art and politics (than others like Patti Smith and the Talking Heads
  • Fast, short, raw, catchy, energetic songs

“G-d Save the Queen”

By The Sex Pistols

  • First major British Punk band
  • Represent working class anger at dismal economic conditions
  • Violent live shows sometimes included Sid’s self-mutilation
  • Influenced by Iggy and the Stooges, Ramones
  • Put together by clothing store owner Malcom McLaren
  • Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols is their one album
  • This song’s release coincided with the Queen’s Jubilee celebration
  • Only together for 18 months
  • *Members: Johnny Rotten (vocals), Sid Vicious (bass), Steve Jones (guitar), Paul Cook (drums)

    “Train in Vain (Stand by me)”

    By The Clash

    • British punk band
      • Involved with social causes like Rock Against Racism
    • More musical sophistication than some punk bands
      • Reggae and rockabilly influence
      • Great songwriting
    • This song is from the classic London Calling album
    • *Members: Joe Stummer, vocals/guitar

    New Wave Artists/Songs

    Elvis Costello–“Alison”

    Talking Heads–“Burning Down the House”

    The Cars–“Just What I Needed”


    By Elvis Costello

    • Pictured in slide with his band, The Attractions
    • Helped usher in New Wave (punk attitude with more musical sophistication, cleaner image)
    • Brilliant songwriting

    “Burning Down the House”

    By Talking Heads

    • Part of avant-garde CBGB’s scene
    • One of the earliest New Wave bands
    • First four albums produced by Brian Eno (formerly of Roxy Music)
    • Experimentation with electronic sounds and technology, including keyboards
    • *Members: David Byrne (vocals)

    “Just What I Needed”

    By The Cars

    • Combined punk, new wave, and pop
    • Ric Ocasek, singer/guitarist/creative leader
    • Most commercially successful of the late 70s/early 80s new wave bands
    • Made music videos which became MTV staples

    Music Technology in the 1980s

    • In the early ’80s, Americans began buying VCRs and video games in large numbers
    • Portable cassette players and boom boxes gained popularity
    • New synthesizer, drum loop technology changed the sound of pop music
    • CDs were introduced
      • Originally a windfall for the music business as music fans re-purchased their vinyl collections

    “Billie Jean”

    By Michael Jackson

    • From the album Thriller
      • Biggest-selling album of all time
      • Produced by Quincy Jones
      • Breakthrough video production
    • Use of drum machines, synths
    • One of the first black (“black” hahah) artists to get airplay on MTV
    • Arguably the most successful and influential entertainer of all time


    • Cable television arrived late 70s/early 80s in most American homes
    • Music Television launched August 1, 1981
    • First video: “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles
    • Targeted young audiences and initially played very few black artists
    • By the end of the 1980s, arguably replaced radio as the most important trendsetter in rock music

    “Like a Virgin”

    By Madonna

    • Trendsetter for ’80s dance music (outgrowth of ’70s disco and R&B)
    • This song was her first #1 song and album
    • Like Jackson, exploited new video medium
    • Brilliant control of her new image
      • Particularly “good girl” vs. “bad girl” dichotomy, demonstrated here [in slide photo]
      • Pastiche style through career

    The PMRC Hearings

    • The PMRC (Parental Music Resource Center) was a group of senators’ wives led by Tipper Gore
    • Believed that the music industry should submit to a rating system for content of recordings
    • 1985 Senate hearings included testimony by Frank Zappa, Dee Snider (of Twisted Sister), and John Denver, who argued that musicians’ First Amendment rights were being violated

    “Darling Nikki”

    By Prince

    • This song from the classic Purple Rain album
    • Brilliant performance (guitarist, singer, dancer, keyboardist, drummer, etc)
    • Sexually suggestive songs/performance
    • MTV staple in 1980s
    • Subject of much controversy and targeted by PMRC

    Bruce Springsteen

    • “The Boss” was born in Freehold, NJ
    • Signed by John Hammond (Columbia A&R)
      • First two albums didn’t sell well
      • Fan base grew steadily over time
    • Rooted in ’60s idealism and music, unlike many other ’80s stars
    • Legendary live performances

    “Born to Run”

    By Bruce Springsteen

    • Lyrics deal with working-class hopes and frustrations
    • E Street Band–backup band
    • Signature horn section sound (R&B influence)
    • This album released in 1975; pop stardom arrived in 1984 with Born in the U.S.A. album
    • AABA structure

    ’80s Benefits

    • 1985 “We are the World” benefit for U.S.A. For Africa
    • Band Aid and Live Aid–> both organized by Bob Geldof (of Boomtown Rats) for famine relief in Africa
    • Paul Simon’s Graceland album and Artists United Against Apartheid (run by Little Steven) raised awareness about horrors of South African Apartheid

    “We Got the Beat”

    By The Go-Go’s

    • Next generation of girl groups, but they played their own instruments
    • One of the first successful all-female bands that weren’t controlled by male managers and produces
    • Fused New Wave and Pop (were part of the late ’70s California punk scene)
    • Lead singer Belinda Carlisle also had a successful solo career
    • Success in England first

    “Rhythm is Gonna Get you”

    By Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine

    • Born in Havana, Cuba, but grew up in Miami
    • Fused Latin and pop
    • The Miami Sound Machine started as a wedding band and built Hispanic following first
    • Keyboardist/husband Emilio Estefan was the creative leader
    • Predated ’90s Latin pop explosion by a decade

    “Girl you Know it’s True”

    By Milli Vanilli

    • Dance-pop duo
      • Combination of hip-hop and Euro-dance styles
    • “Rob and Fab” became the first artists ever stripped of a Grammy
    • Models who lip synched to tracks recorded by studio musicians
    • This song sold 7 million copies in the U.S. alone
    • Became scapegoats for a technique that was fairly common

    “Crazy Train”

    By Ozzy Osbourne

    • Fired from Black Sabbath, released first solo album Blizzard of Ozz in 1980
    • This song and controversial “Suicide Solution” are from that album
    • Great showman, outrageous live shows
    • Recent successes of Ozzfest and MTV reality show
    • Accused in 1986 of encouraging suicide

    “Back in Black”

    By AC/DC

    • Pure, visceral, minimalist hard rock
    • Led by brothers Malcolm (rhythm guitar) and Angus (lead guitar) Young
    • Their sister suggested Angus wear his school uniform onstage–became band’s visual trademark
    • Original lead singer Bon Scott died in 1980; replaced by Brian Johnson

    “I Want you to Want me”

    By Cheap Trick

    • Power pop band
    • Fused pop, hard rock, funk, absurdist sensibility
    • Melodic, beautifully-crafted songwriting
    • From 1979 live At Budokan album
    • *Members: Robin Zander (vocals), Tom Peterson (bass), Rick Nielson (guitars), Bun E. Carlos (drums)

    Los Angeles

    [in terms of ’80s hard rock and metal]

    • Center of ’80s hard rock (aka “hair band”) scene, especially the clubs around Sunset Strip
    • Many LA bands sold multi-platinum during this time (Motley Crue, Poison, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Ratt, Van Halen)
    • Album sales spurred by MTV airplay
    • Visual image borrowed elements from ’70s glam (men wearing makeup, long hair, tight pants, etc.)
    • Generally decadent, non-politcally-motivated music scene


    By Van Halen

    • Van Halen brothers
      • Raised in the Netherlands, moved to California
      • Sons of a jazz musician
      • Clasically trained
    • Virtuosic Eddie pioneered use of new guitar-playing techniques, i.e. “tapping” (playing with both hands on the neck of the guitar)
    • This song from 1984 album marked a change on their sound (use of synthesizer) and transition to superstardom
    • *Members: Alex Van Halen (drums), Michael Anthony (bass), David Lee Roth (vocals), Eddie Van Halen (guitar)

    “Sweet Child O’ Mine”

    By Guns ‘N’ Roses

    • Less polished than most hard rock bands at the time
    • Brought back raw, sleazy, gritty, blues-influenced rock and roll
    • This song from the influential 1987 Appetite for Destruction album (both went to #1 with the help of MTV, almost a year after initial release)
    • The rise of grunge in early ’90s speeded the end of this kind of music
    • *Members: Axl Rose (vocals), Duff McKeagan (bass), Izzy Stradlin (guitar), Steven Adler (drums), Slash (guitar)



    • “The New Wave of British Heavy Metal”
    • Musical movement in the late ’70s/early ’80s
    • Inspired by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but harder, faster, and louder
    • Led by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and others

    “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”

    By Judas Priest

    • Influential, true British “heavy metal” (this term gets misapplied quite often)
    • Laid groundwork for speed and death metal in the ’80s
    • This song from 1982 Screaming for Vengeance album
    • Leather and chains image (no spandex or makeup)
    • *Members: Rob Halford (vocals)


    By Def Leppard

    • British band that fused pop and metal
    • One of the first “metal” videos played on MTV
    • Name spelling inspired by Led Zeppelin
    • Produced by legendary Robert “Mutt” Lange
    • This song from 1983 album Pyromania, which sold 6 million records
    • Drummer Rick Allen lost left arm in 1984 car crash but continued to play in the band
    • *Members: Joe Elliot (vocals)

    “Don’t Stop Believing”

    By Journey

    • Not metal–quintessential AOR band (album-oriented rock)
    • Based in San Francisco area
    • Started as jazz-rock fusion band before Perry joined
    • Guitarist Neir Schon was in Santana at age 15
    • Unusual structure: chorus appears once, at the end
    • *Members: Steve Perry, vocals