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Worried about the future of rock? Don’t be. A new revival might just be around the corner

“Rock is dead!” they bleated. “It’s over!”

That’s what they were saying in 1957 when Elvis was inducted into the army. Rock’n’roll was still young, still being treated as a fad, and with Elvis out of the picture, it was doomed to die. Trad jazz and (believe it or not) calypso were The Next Big Thing.

Rock didn’t die, of course. While it did have several fallow years, it roared back in February 1964 when The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan.

The next “rock is dead” crisis came around 1975. Even as giants like Led Zeppelin, The Who, and the Rolling Stones were selling out stadiums all over the world, pessimists contended that rock was played out, exhausted, devoid of new ideas. But as those complaints were being made, punk was getting ready to be born.

Then came disco. “Dance music is the future!” the anti-rock brigade proclaimed. Yeah, no. After that, the rise of synthesizers had many saying that the electric guitar was old-fashion and was on the way out. Nope. Surely the rise of pop (Spice Girls, boy bands) in the middle 90s meant that rock was dead. Sorry, haters. When electronic music came along at the end of the 90s, rock was declared dead and buried. Did not happen.

For the last while, it’s been conventional wisdom that hip hop was squeezing rock out. There’s some truth to that–at least in the United States where hip hop has been the primary driver of music culture for some time now. The truth is, though, rock has been a close second in America while still leading the way in other countries and territories (including Canada).

However, even the most ardent supporters of rock will admit that things have been in the doldrums for that past decade or so thanks to a distinct lack of new guitar music. Or at least a PERCEIVED lack of such fresh tunes. And now, we must be on the cusp of yet another rock resurrection. This is from Tone Deaf under the title “Four Golden Reasons That a Rock Music Revival is Around the Corner:”

In modern life, only three things are certain: birth, death, and the demise of rock music being declared. Every year, a music critic writes an essay happily claiming the genre is done, that there’s only room for electronic and hip-hop music now. 

The truth, of course, is much different. Late last year, Dave Grohl said that he believed the dial was turning back to guitar-based music, a comment that was widely dissected in the following weeks. In an interview with Tone Deaf just weeks later, Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs, one of the continuing proponents of exciting rock music, had an interesting view: “I feel like for 10 years, everyone’s been saying, ‘there’s no more guitar music.’ But the whole time everyone’s playing the fucking guitar! There’s always been other things in music but there’s so many people playing guitar and making great records.” 

Both Grohl and Granduciel are right, and many others agree with them. “The vision of a guitar around the scrawny neck of a 17 year old kid epitomises the notion that rock & roll is not deceased. Quite the opposite,” says Michael Des Barres. “The sensuality & carefree chords will ring out again. Of that there is no doubt. Simply put, a guitar is sexier than a computer.”

Keep reading.

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 38308 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Worried about the future of rock? Don’t be. A new revival might just be around the corner

  • If rock is dead…. Then how come U2 sell more Concert tickets than anyone on the planet? Consistently. Seems they also have some guitarist named Edge who changed how guitarists sound for decades after he hit the scene? Rock ain’t dead… it’s just been wearing new clothes…. Got tired of the t-shirt La and jeans for a little

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