Another look at the theory of the 13-year rock-and-pop music cycle

[This was my column for Global News over the weekend. -AC]

At first glance, trends and sounds in popular music seem to come at us in random, fractalized bursts. Viewed up close on a day-to-day, week-to-week or even month-to-month basis, that’s how it appears. But if you stand back, patterns begin to emerge, patterns which have held surprisingly together over the last seven decades.

Since rock was born in the 1950s, rock and pop have been locked in a battle for cultural supremacy with each combatant a constant 180 degrees out of phase with the other. When rock is strong and ascendant in the public’s consciousness, pop is on a decline.

Eventually, though, rock tops out and begins a decline as the public’s attention moves towards pop. Then once pop peaks and rock bottoms out, the cycle begins again. This back-and-forth dance has played itself out every 12 or 13 years.

Let me tell you how it’s all gone down.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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