Rock and Roll is considered to be one of the most popular music genres in the United States — however, it hasn’t always been that way. According to Pew Research Center writers Paul Taylor and Rich Morin, around the era of Woodstock, it was quite the opposite. The genre was often disliked by many members of older generations.
The rise of rock as a genre can be attributed to a new generation’s changing musical tastes. With cultural contexts changing throughout the years, rock, which was seen as unorthodox by the Boomer generation, was winning over their children.
Rock and roll has managed to keep its prominent status within modern society music consumption, production and performances. Rock is ranked at number two worldwide of the most popular music genres, according to Peter Susic statistical report of most popular music genres in 2023.
With this being said, it is no surprise that bands, including Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters and many more that captivated music lovers during the late 70s, 80s and 90s continue to stay relevant among generations today.
Although rock stands on its own as a genre of music, it is inspired by components of blues, jazz, gospel and even country, that create a sense of familiarity for listeners, according to Rockit Live Foundation.
Four key elements drive rock music — energy, rhythm, core instruments, and diverse lyrical subjects, according to Rockit Live Foundation. This allows rock to be subversive and influential in modern music today, as seen in bands such as Glove, White Reaper and others. Additionally, flavors of rock can be heard in many subgenres born out of it, including punk, surf rock and most alternative music.
In terms of the cultural impact of rock, the genre is known for creating a sense of liberation in both musicians and listeners, allowing them to express themselves freely, creating a ripple effect of influence.
Bands including The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Foo Fighters and others continue to spread their influence with new music and national tours. For example, Pixies released their “Doggerel” album in the fall of 2022. Bands such as Violent Femmes and The Cure will begin to tour starting in May of this year.
Even local musicians throughout San Luis Obispo have continued to rock despite their age. Take a look at Dad Religion, a local punk band paying homage to the punk scene and bringing a one-of-a-kind sound back to San Luis Obispo. The band is composed of four dads: lead singer Brendan Gough (42), guitarist Matt Cross (48), drummer Brian Monzel (48) and bassist Stormy Tee (58).
The band covers a range of different punk songs during their performances, doing their own renditions of Descendents. One song in particular, “American Jesus” by Bad Religion was a local hit at their latest “booth show” hosted at Benny’s Pizza Palace and Social Club.
The local pizza spot located downtown is a beloved venue by the band, however, they can be seen playing all throughout San Luis Obispo.“We’re too old for house shows,” admitted Tee.
Despite many musicians’ age, the rockstar lifestyle and spirit continue to live on, causing rock and roll to be one of the most influential music genres.