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Is Classic Alternative Becoming the New Classic Rock?

While the music of the Beatles, the Stones, Led Zeppelin and others of their age will remain with us forever, time is moving on. The original fans of what became classic rock are now well into their 60s, 70s and even 80s, meaning that the “classic” nature of this music might more accurately be classified as “ancient” in pop culture terms. The older members of the cohort–performers and fans alike–are now dying off. Even classic rock radio seems to be at some kind of crossroads when it comes to the music they play. Knowing that “classic rock” has increasingly meant “oldies,” these stations are trying to figure out how they can move into the future.

So here’s a question: what sort of music will assume the “classic” mantle?

Late Baby Boomers might want to vote for the alt-rock of the late 70s and early 80s. This story in the Vancouver Province picks up that thread.

Classic rock is a term typically used to denote music released in the period between the late 1960s to the early ’80s. The musical acts always associated with the genre are arena behemoths like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Black Sabbath, The Rolling Stones and a few others. Whether from death or retirement, this field is thinning out quickly along with its original audience.

A strong case can be made that there is a new classic rock emerging. This time around, it’s ’80s bands that didn’t necessarily get a fair shake the first time around showing up on people’s bucket lists.

Many of the groups from the post-punk/new-wave era never went away, they just didn’t enjoy the same level of adoration and sales that say, an AC/DC did. Save for perhaps The Police, Talking Heads, New Order, U2 and Depeche Mode, who all still sell plenty of albums, many of the hit acts from the time seemed to fade away. Now they’re back on the road and coming to a venue near you, rather than the casino.

Keep reading as you enjoy this from Echo and the Bunnymen.



Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 37438 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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