Music Throwback: Best Rock Bands Through The Decades

Four Old Groups That Represent End Of 20th Century


Photo By: Kaley Johnson

As the times have changed so has music. From soul and R&B to pop, country, and rap, every genre has had its time to shine. One genre in particular, however, seemed to soar throughout most of the last half of the twentieth century and that is Rock.

Kaley Johnson, Reporter

As the times have changed, so has music. From soul and R&B to pop, country and rap, every genre has had its time to shine. One genre in particular, however, seemed to soar throughout most of the last half of the twentieth century and that is rock. In fact, according to an article posted to The DataFace rock songs took up 60% of available Billboard Hot 100 spots from the years 1982 to 1986. Here are four rock bands that best represent the last forty years of the twentieth century.

The 60s – The Beatles

Getting their start in 1960, The Beatles were an English rock band. Consisting of members, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, the group was one of the first bands to experiment with their sound by incorporating many different elements of other genres and styles. Rooted in 1950s rock and roll, they also used elements of classical music and traditional pop along with music styles ranging from ballads to hard rock. With well-known albums such as “Abbey Road” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and hits such as “Twist and Shout,” “Let It Be and Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles serve as an inspiration for many artists in later decades including many of today’s stars such as Lady Gaga and Adam Levine. Publicly breaking up in 1970, each member eventually released their own solo music, and today two members still survive, McCartney and Starr. Lennon was shot in 1980 and Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001. McCartney still continues to write and perform his own music along with performing  Beatles songs for the world to hear.

The 70s – Queen

Most definitely my favorite band on this list, Queen was formed in 1970 as a British rock band. Brian May and Roger Taylor, originally in a different band entitled Smile, later formed Queen with help of fan, Farrokh Bulsara, later called Freddie Mercury and bass player John Deacon. With three albums out before it, the release of “A Night at the Opera” brought them international success, especially with the well-known song “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Other famous songs like “Another One Bites the Dust” and “We Are the Champions,” helped keep them on top and continue to keep them relevant today. Much like The Beatles, Queen incorporated many unconventional styles of music, the most well known operatic used in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” While Queen is still officially active as a band, May and Roger are the only original members that still perform; Deacon retired in 1997 and Mercury passed away in 1991 due to complications from AIDS. With the last original album release being “Made In Heaven” in 1995, May and Roger still perform Queen songs usually with the help of vocalists Paul Rogers or Adam Lambert, calling themselves Queen +. Thanks to the 2018 movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” today’s youth continue to be influenced by the legendary band.

The 80s – Journey

“Don’t Stop Believing.” Ask any teenager to name a song from the 80s and this will be one of the most common answers. With albums like “Infinity” and “Evolution,” which include the songs that today’s teens might know, Journey’s peak occurred between 1978 and 1987 with well-known lead vocalist, Steve Perry. With members constantly being added, and many original members leaving then returning a number of times, Journey never really had a consistent group but other notable members include Neal Schon, Steve Smith, Jonathan Cain and Ross Valory all of whom are current members today. Along with current lead singer Arnel Pineda, Journey still continues to write and perform music both new and old.

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The 90s – Nirvana

Now fair warning here, I don’t like 90s music but even with that, I was still able to know who deserved the 90s spot. Formed in 1987, Nirvana consisted of original members Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic and Aaron Burckhard. Regularly struggling to find a solid drummer after Burkhard, they eventually landed on Dave Grohl in 1990. Often classified as grunge they came about at the rise of Alternative Rock along with bands such as Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers. One of the most well-known songs, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” appears on the similarly popular album “Nevermind,” which helped the group receive an American Music Award nomination for Favorite New Heavy Metal/Hard Rock Artist and a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song. Officially breaking up in 1994, Nivana helped to shape the future of 90s rock. The groups end following the death of Cobain due to suicide in April of 1994, something that has been a controversial topic ever since as Cobain had been publicly struggling since March. Only performing together twice after Cobain’s death, the group is no longer present in the industry but the effect that their music had on people can still be seen today both in teens and adults.

The music enjoyed by our parents when they were growing up is something we are very fortunate to experience any day we choose. These classic rock bands managed to reach teens of the late 20th century in a way that shaped their upbringing into adults, thus shaping the way they raise us. I would argue that this is the reason that they have managed to stay relevant over the years, as their messages still apply to the human condition of today as they did back then. Whether or not you feel as passionately as I about the music of the past or you prefer the pop of today, you’d be surprised by how many songs of these times you’d recognize, so next time you’re looking for new music to listen to, think old instead and see what you can find.