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Third Generation of Classic Rock?

Is Glam the third generation of classic rock?

Let’s think about this for a minute. The Beatles and The Who are classic rock. They formed in the 60s. Aerosmith and AC/DC are classic rock. They formed in the 70s. That’s two generations. Get into the late 70s and early 80s and you’re talking about Def Leppard, Van Halen and Motley Crue.  

I’m torn about all this. I mean, I definitely want my beloved music to be recognized as important – historic even. I’m just not sure I’m ready for it to be blasted on commercial radio under the “classic rock” banner. That just seems to scare kids and immediately turn them off. Not that I was that way. Hell no. I was the opposite. Man, if it was on WEBN when I was a kid, it was probably “classic rock” and I probably loved it. In some cases, the older the better. Too young to have money of my own I would just tape the songs from my little bedside radio cassette player – all of it, from Kansas to Guns n’ Roses. At that time I was so young and stupid I didn’t know critics hacked music apart into genres to make their own lives easier. I just figured that if WEBN thought it was good enough to play, it must rock. (Clearly I was a kid at the time, having no clue how the fickle broadcasting industry worked).

So anyway, I’m driving from work to the gym last night and CNBC goes to commercial. (Yes, I listen to CNBC in the car a lot. A Glam girl needs to watch her finances). Anyway, during the commercial I flipped around and heard a commercial for “classic rewind” radio. That’s all classic rock, all the time. Turns out, the station was pimping U2 and Journey. “That’s not classic rock!” I thought. Then it dawned on me: both those bands formed in the 70s. Just like Aerosmith and Def Leppard.


I mean, we’re talking I had a full-on panic moment in the car. First off, this must mean I’m getting very old as I was born in ‘79. I must be classic rock myself! And second…this must mean our Glam beloveds are 1) already in the classic rock category or 2) fast approaching.

Do you think this is a bad thing?

The music industry is such a disjointed mess these days I’m not sure any one thing can hurt an artist these days, especially the label of being “classic rock” but I just don’t know if it helps. I also don’t know what it says about bands singing about teenage love and lust…when the entire act is older than my parents.

Oh my.

Here’s the final scary thought: if Motley Crue and Poison are already classic rock…then who the hell is next? I can’t imagine Creed getting a ton of airplay 15 years from now on Top Tracks or whatever the station is called, but good grief. I guess this is the way of the world.

I’m done freaking out for now.

Reader Comments (10)

U2 are gods.

I think guns n roses and motley crue are already seen as "classic" rock bands, but with the word classic being used as a noun, as opposed to it being used as an adjective when describing led zeppelin or ac/dc.
However, they're far too heavy to have a "classic rock" sound.
Living in Australia, we only have 1 station that plays anywhere near this (and with no satellite radio) so rock music is lumped into everything from metallica to u2 to the beatles.
July 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersteve
Hmm I guess I never thought of Def Leppard and Aerosmith as glam, although I would say they could easily be considered 'classic rock' now. The friends of mine that liked the Aerosmith/Tesla/Leppard/Van Halen vibe were always not really into actual glam (LA Guns/Pretty Boy Floyd/Poison etc) and I wouldn't call those three classic rock, especially when the Scene/Emo kids are bringing that stuff back. I think to figure this one out you first need to define what classic rock and glam rock are.
I asked my audiophile husband what he thinks and he adamantly stated that classic rock is about an era and a sound - specifically mid-60s to mid-70s. Therefore anything from the 80s and 90s is still just whatever it is - Glam, Hair Metal, 80s rock, grunge, Alt, whatever.
July 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterv
80's rock & metal is definitely classic rock -- hell, 1980 was 30 years ago! Every classic rock station in the world regularly plays Scorpions, Van Halen, Ratt, GnR, Aerosmith, Metallica, Motley, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, etc. And they will scatter in songs by Poison, Tesla, Dokken, Cinderella, etc.

For the most part, though, I don't think that people who listen to classic rock stations care about the genres any more -- it's just rock. When we were kids, genres mattered. If you had Kill 'em All or Shout at the Devil, it said something about who you were. But 30 years on, I don't think it matters.

As for the next generation of Classic Rock, I think it will be from the classic 90's bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, etc. But that will be a way off. Much of the 90's rock scene is still "owned" by fans of alternative music, and it will take a bit of time for them to fully move into being classified as plain ol' rock.
July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
While growing up in the Pittsburgh region through the 70s-90s, and listening to the ever popular WDVE, I was saturated with what we consider Classic Rock. Bands like Led Zep, Stones, Kansas, Journey, Night Ranger, Boston, Styx, Joe Walsh, Tom Petty, Foreigner, Queen, ZZ Top, 38 Special, Jethro Toll, Pink Flyod, Rush, AC/DC, etc. DVE's format, which first aired in 1969, was considered an Album Rock Format; playing only the biggest hits from each album, and they still play the same exact format. Very rarely, will they play any new stuff, even if it is from a classic artist, such as Ozzy's Scream, for example.
When my wife and I go back home to visist family, we love to listen to the radio, because the format has not changed from when we were kids. Songs that we never hear in DC / Balt. are all played in Western PA. (Classic Rock) I agree with the previous post, that Classic rock is about a certain sound and I would not put The Crue, Poison, Cinderella, etc into the Classic Rock genre. I look at Quiet Riot, Motely, Def Lep, Cinder, Poison, Ratt, Kix, etc as the current music that came out while I was growing, how could 'I' consider it classic?? However, my 10 and 12 yr old kids may consider Motley as Classic. I dont know. stated in a previous post, Rock is Rock. There probably are too many categories for music these days and I dont typically even worry about them.
I just love music.
July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L
Ally, I think before we can classify what is classic rock and what isn't, it might be helpful to have a little background. From a commercial radio standpoint, there was a time when genres weren't so narrowly categorized and separated. back when AM radio was king, pop radio stations played everything from the Beatles to Frank Sinatra. As long as the record was selling well, that made it a hit, and thus it was fair game to be played on the radio.

then we come to 1966 when the FCC mandated that companies who owned AM and FM stations had to put unique content on their FM stations instead of just simulcasting their AM stations as they had been doing. for these companies, their AM stations were the cash cows, and they didn't really see their FM stations as being commercially viable. so, although these FM stations now had to have unique content, the companies didn't micro manage that content as they were doing on the AM side. This meant that DJ's on the FM side were free to play whatever they wanted and speak extensively about the music they were playing. this was the dawn of what was deemed progressive rock radio, and where virtually all songs and bands that make up the core of what we now call classic rock first got their airplay.

This type of radio had a huge influence on the music industry as a whole -- shifting the focus from singles to albums, and allowing bands to write songs that were longer than three minutes that would still be played on radio.

Now, we fast forward to around 1975 and things are changing. More and more people own FM radios and now these companies who own the FM stations want them to start making money...Let the micro managing begin! Gradually, DJ's had less freedom to pick the music, and playlists got tighter. Naturally, this had a trickle down effect on artists who once again had to reign in their creativity to a degree if they wanted to be played on FM rock radio.

To me, this is why when people talk about classic rock, many of them define it as happening between the mid 60s and mid 70s. For that span of about ten years, bands had unprecedented freedom to create ground-breaking music and know that it would still be played for the masses on radio.

to me, the hard rock of the 80s, or whatever label you want to put on it, is only "classic" due to its age relative to today. I love that music with all my heart, but do not feel it belongs in the classic rock category. Classic rock to me is a moment frozen in time. Sure, classic rock stations today will sprinkle in a few tunes from the 80s, but the bulk of their playlist is still from the mid 60s to the mid 70s, and that probably will never change until such time as stations deem those songs too old to play anymore, and the classic rock format, (at least under that moniker), dies completely.
July 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBob
the term classic rock sucks i look at music as rock hard rock or metal not old not new but is it any good, its either good or sucks that simple
July 13, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterglamrockerarchie
I was ahead of my time. In 1999, I was spinning Skid Row, Ratt, Poison, and the Crue on a "classic rock" station in a podunk Kentucky town. We didn't touch Pearl Jam or Creed, so it wasn't a WEBN-type "full service" rock station.

Now, on HRN, sometimes I will talk about "classic hard rock," because like most others, I don't really lump LA Guns in with Kansas.
July 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJT
In the always accurate and profound words of TESLA's Jeff Keith:

You can call it...

Heavy metal, hard-core, punk, pop, or thrash.
You can call it anything it don't matter to me.
Call it what you want.
It's all music to me.
July 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenternirVrana
September 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterED
Since when were The Beatles rock ????
December 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRockaboy

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