When I was a young teenager in the early 1990s, I listened to the songs of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Chiffons. Those were music from before my generation, but my friends and I sang and grooved to these old-time rock and roll music. Today’s generation of youths isn’t that different. Even if Billie Eilish admitted to never having heard of Van Halen to US talk show host Jimmy Fallon, she had heard of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.
How do old rock songs survive through the generations? Simply because the essence of alternative music of the past still speaks to today’s generation. Especially in the sphere of rock music performances that continues to fill stadiums with crowds. Bands from Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Blink-182 to Green Day are still touring and have the ability to attract a younger audience. Besides going for live performances (which have been curtailed due to Covid-19), how do today’s youth get exposed to old rock songs from the 60s to the 90s?
Influenced by Parents
Unlike generation X, today’s generation of youths has benefited from involved parenting. Parents who are more involved in the lives and cultural aspects of their children share the music they love. These parents probably played their favourite music to their children, who hum along and find it comfortable and accepting of listening to old rock songs as it promotes a close relationship with their parents.
Baby Boomers Are In Control
Much of what we have in Hollywood, and on television are ideas and influences of the baby boomer generation. The soundtrack included in films is full of classic rock music and we all know how influencing the media can be for children. Moreover, biopics of the greatest rock musicians are made from “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “The Doors”, “La Bamba”to “Rocketman”.
Musicians from the 60s to 70s were Original
Many millennials believe that musicians from the 1960s to the 1970s were truly talented. They wrote their own songs and played their own instruments. They also created memorable tunes and wrote about the issues of their day.
The best rock music is from the 1990s
Millennials with Generation X parents are influenced by their parents’ music tastes and the on-going performances of Gen-X rock musicians. The 1990s definitely culminated in the production of the best of rock music for its diversity, styles as well as fashion. Grunge extinguished the raging fire of late 1980s metal music. Its ferocity had none of the 1980s pomposity and was a revolt against capitalism, creating a brand of rock and roll expressing the angst of disaffected youths during the time.
Besides grunge, the 1990s saw the push towards electronic music with the emergence of rave culture and the rise of big beats adding fresh rhythm and colour to the music of the 1990s.
The decline of mainstream rock
Last but not least, mainstream rock music has stultified since the 90s and nothing has come along to clear away the acts that dominated in that decade. Although there have been individual bands such as the Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon, and the White Stripes, there were no new movements that really gathered force beyond their particular moments in time. This allowed bands like U2 and the Foo Fighters to continue to rule.