Monthly Archives: May 2017

How Pop Music Originated

Pop music is generally associated with a ‘populist movement’ and these are not new. In fact populist movements can easily be traced back to ancient Rome and probably way further back than that. One of the more recent populist movements occurred in the sixteen hundreds or there about. There was also a ‘Free Love’ movement in Germany just prior to the Nazi take over.

“Hawaian music history”

So this sets the stage for pop music in this country. Pop music as we know it is a mixture of the Blues and Folk Music, plain and simple. One would have to give a lot of credit to the invention of the electric guitar as well, which was used as early as nineteen thirty-one, with early proponents such as Les Paul. The electric guitar, however, was first used in the Big Band, which was jazz. So jazz or Blues mixing with Folk Songs, however you want to look at it.

The basic musical practice of pop music is the same as Blues or Jazz. In jazz, musicians use a chord chart and improvise or make-up their parts. In Blues, the musical practice is much the same except the chords involved are much simpler. These are three chords, known as the Blues Chords. These are also the most used chords in pop music. Jazz could be considered a bit of a more specialised application of the Blues performance practice and this is generally attributed to Black music.

I think the most interesting thing is that there was this same populist/snob divide going on way back, that people who don’t look very far back in history only attribute to today’s pop music. Way back, jazz was derided as a low, debased musical form that would degenerate society. There are also songs that go way, way back such as “Momma Don’t ‘Low,” which have lyrics that say ‘momma don’t allow no guitar playing ’round here.’

Further back then that, we have Plato saying that new and novel fashions in music should be avoided because they will unsettle a societies most important conventions. But, as I often point out, what society today doesn’t need to have its most important conventions unsettled? The thing to consider, though, is that pop music today is the same as it was back in the nineteen fifties. That’s because it is being manipulated through the conventional media channels who, like Plato, don’t want anything of new and novel fashion because that would unsettle their most important convention which is their profits.

The Most Influential People in Music

Here is a list of arguably the most influential people in music history. It’s a list which could be debated for months which makes it even more interesting, but what is incontrovertible is the profound impact these people have had on not only the music industry but on our culture as well.

What list of the most influential people in music would be complete without The Beatles? The Beatles changed the face of Pop and the music industry. They pushed boundaries with albums such as “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “the White Album”. There mix of psychedelic transient whorls and messages of love and peace became a catalyst for the hippy revolution and influenced the way people thought. The band became so influential they were able to break the mould and create a whole new concept and definition of what popular music should be. The Beatles harnessed the environment around them and communicated a meaningful message to the masses.

Elvis Presley was from Memphis, Tennessee his southern drawl and punk rock fashion influenced politics and music. His music was influenced by Jazz, Gospel and Blues and helped break down racial barriers, his music coincided with a strong civil rights movement which made him even more evocative. Elvis became such an icon he was almost god-like with hip swivels and a cool swagger which made girls want to be with him and guys want to be like him, but underneath it all his songs had strong undercurrents of love, religion and race, which influenced the millions of people who listened to him from across the globe. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) he has had 150 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum. His total record sales are said to exceed 1 billion worldwide more than any other artist in history.

Bob Dylan integrated Blues, Folk, Country and Rock into his music with his unique style, distinctive vocals and profound lyrics set an enviable standard which many have tried to emulate but few have succeeded. He is known as the poet-laureate of Rock n’ Roll, his music came from the heart and has stayed with fans ever since. Bob Dylan has affected many peoples’ lives which is why he is seen as such an iconic figure to this day.

Sam Philips was a music producer whose credits include Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison to name just a few. Some say he was the first Rock ‘n’ Roll producer ever and without him Rock ‘n’ Roll as we know it would not be what it is today. His vision and guidance helped many of recent histories most loved performers bring pleasure and entertainment to fans worldwide.