How To Like Rock Music (A Definitive Guide)

Rock music is by far the single most popular music genre on the planet! The chances are excellent that you are already listening to some rock music in your collection- even though you may not know it! With more than 100 different sub-genres of rock music, from easy rock to thrash metal, rock music is the heartbeat of the world!

Liking rock music is easy! It gets your feet tappin’ and your hands clappin’ and makes you feel good all over! The heavier stuff will even get your head shakin’!

Now, let crank up the volume, scare off the neighbors, and get this party started!

A Quick Look at Rock History

Rock music started with rock n’ roll music in the ’50s and is a pretty straightforward structure.

Rock music uses 4/4 time with the ‘heavy beats on the 2nd and 4th beat.  Those are the ones you clap to when listening.

If you have heard of any of these or have them on your playlist already, you’re already rocking!

Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Abba, Jerry Lee Lewis, Led Zeppelin, Steppenwolf, Twisted Sister, Def Leppard, Metallica, REM, The Cure, Eric Clapton, ZZ Top, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, David Bowie, Queen, The Police, Simple Minds, Bon Jovi, Foreigner, Billy Joel, Air Supply or Guns’ n Roses (to name a few) then you’re well into rock music already!

Over time and with the evolution of instruments and technology, rock music has branched out into a vast selection of sound and style to suit anyone!

One of the best things about rock music is that it’s FUN and great to party to!

With so many artists, songs, and genres in this style of music, we’re going to focus on a few of the most popular ones to give you an excellent foundation to start your journey into liking (and then loving) rock music.

But, where do you start? Well, let’s start easy and work our way up!

How To Listen to Rock Music and LOVE IT!

Before we get into the music itself, a word on HOW to listen to it! For me, a great stereo system is an excellent way to start as good speakers, and a decent stereo amplifier will deliver an incredible listening experience that will allow you to ‘tune in’ to the different sounds.

Doing this gives you a chance to focus your ears on the different song elements from vocal to drums, lead guitar to bass, and keyboards.

You can hear the rhythms and guitar riffs that make up the song’s basic structure and really let the vocals and guitar solos flow over your ears.

Most amplifiers these days are equipped with Bluetooth and may also have USB inputs and direct streaming from your favorite music channel! So you get to plug ‘n play straight in, and you get to listen to it in HD Audio!

Easy Listening – Soft Rock, Folk Rock & Roots Rock

With rock music, the easiest place to start is with the easy listening bands and songs. Bands like The Eagles, Creedence, The Beach Boys, Dire Straits, Chris Isaak, Simon & Garfunkel, and James Taylor would be a good lift-off point in this genre.

This type of music is very easy on the ear, melodic, and has some genuinely great exponents of a guitar showing the versatility of sound the electric guitar can deliver.

Some highlights to look out for here are :

  • The full version of ‘Heard It Through the Grapevine’ by Creedence.
  • ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles.
  • ‘Private Investigation’ by Dire Straits
  • ‘Sounds Of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel, a song made famous recently by American heavy metal (we’ll look at that later on) band Disturbed, which had excellent radio play worldwide.

These are just a few of the iconic songs in this genre of rock music, and there are thousands more you can find simply by going to your music platform and typing in ‘Easy Rock’ in the search bar.

Blues Rock – Turning It Up Just a Little

Blues is one of the base music styles that lead to rock music as the music structure follows the easy listening chord and rhythm patterns.

Many ultra-famous rock songs are based on the blues, and artists like Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Stevie Rau Vaughan, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, ZZ Top, and Gary Moore are examples of artists in this genre.

Some real highlights in this genre are Gary Moore’s ‘Parisienne Walkways Live,’ Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla,’ Jimi’s ‘All Along The Watchtower’ and ‘Paint it Black’ by the Rolling Stones.

Blues-rock adds a little more ‘oomph’ to the sound with distorted lead guitars and heavier bass lines, bringing a rhythm and style all its own.

Blues can be happy and uplifting or reflective and introspective, lamenting the loss of a relationship, or simply telling stories like ‘Bad Bad Leroy Brown’ by Jim Croce.

Although all of these sound different, they all follow the blues structure.

For some real fun in this genre, take a listen to George Thorogood’s song ‘Bad to the Bone’ – that’ll get you rocking!

Psychedelic Rock – Getting Far Out!

The late ’60s and ’70s saw the rise of psychedelic rock, a new type of sound that used delay effects, synths, and lingering vocals.

Bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and Iron Butterfly are just a few artists named themselves in this genre.

At the time, America and the world were in the throes of social revolution with anti-war protests, women’s rights, and civil rights growing in voice.

The ‘Make Love not War’ slogan and the Peace sign became part of the culture, and the use of marijuana, LSD, and other psychedelics added impetus and found a place with psychedelic rock.

‘Another Brick in The Wall’ by Pink Floyd rebelled against the school system, and the album ‘The Wall’ was one of the best-selling albums of all time. Take a listen to that one as a start.

Another one to look for is ‘Riders On The Storm’ by The Doors and ‘In a Gadda Da Vida’ by Iron Butterfly.

Psychedelic rock is chilled and asks deep and fundamental questions about life, the universe, and everything.

Its lyrics are haunting, as is the music and listening to it takes you on a trip inside and back out again, great to relax to after a hectic day’s work.

Bands to Rock out to – Glam Rock, Arena, and Stadium Rock!

In the ’80s, bands like Bon Jovi, Journey, Queen, Europe, Boston, Foreigner, and Survivor found fame playing in arenas and stadiums worldwide!

The Glam Rock era was born with Twisted Sister, Motley Crue, Queen, Slade, and Poison bringing glamour and style to the acts, and this appealed to a vast global audience!

Rock acts had evolved to become epic shows, with lighting, sound, and pyrotechnics playing a massive role in the experience for the audience.

The appearance of MTV also had a profound impact in expanding the reach and influence of rock music right into the early 2000s, and many rock bands have MTV to thank for selling out stadium shows all over America and the world.

Now it was about the music and the music VIDEOS so much that MTV had an annual awards show for best videos!

Songs like ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ by Twisted Sister, ‘Eye of The Tiger’ by Survivor (featured in the movie Rocky 3), ‘We will rock you’ by Queen, and ‘Livin on a Prayer’ by Bon Jovi saw thousands of people singing along at their concerts and in their cars as rock songs saw massive airplay on radio stations around the world!

The impact of music radio and MTV launched rock music into the stratosphere, and fans found a voice in the lyrics and energy in the music.

Alternative, Grunge, And Punk Rock – Try this on for size!

Punk rock has its roots in Britain, and bands like The Dead Kennedys, The Clash, and more recently The Ramones, to name a few, are exponents of this genre.

This ‘alternative’ style of music appeals to the rebels and anti-establishment rockers that wanted a sound that expressed their thoughts and beliefs around the rejection of organized society and rules.

Rock music is inherently rebellious, but punk, Grunge, and alternative mainly focus on the more emotional and psychological issues in both their sound and lyrics.

Grunge originated in Seattle in the mid to late ’80s and is sometimes known as ‘The Seattle Sound.’ Bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, The Stone Temple Pilots, and The Smashing Pumpkins.

Grunge fused the sound of Punk with Metal. Still, its lyrics address social alienation, self-doubt, abuse, neglect, betrayal, social and emotional isolation, psychological trauma, and a desire for freedom.

Its success was due to a large chunk of the younger generation experiencing these emotions and looking for a way to express and give a voice to them.

‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ By Nirvana, ‘Black Hole Sun’ from Soundgarden, ‘Better Man’ by Pearl Jam, and ‘Plush’ from the Stone Temple Pilots are great examples of Grunge and will give you a taste of this bittersweet sound.

Rap, Rock, and the Crossover

Over the years, quite a few artists have looked to ‘cross over’ music genres, with one of the most famous being glam rock band Aerosmith and Rap Giants RUN DMC.

Their hit ‘Walk This Way’ showed rock music’s versatility and potential for adaptation and release into new markets and audiences.

One of the first songs to do this was ‘Ice Ice Baby’ by Vanilla Ice. While pretty much a ‘one-hit-wonder,’ that song showed how a sampling of beats (in this case ‘Under Pressure’ by Queen and David Bowie’) could be used to create a hybrid between rock and rap.

The sampling of tracks to be used in vastly different genres became very popular and still is today.

Artists like Puff Daddy, who used Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir in his song ‘Come with Me’ and Jay-Z using Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’ paved the way for this ‘cross-over’ between diametrically opposed music and by doing so opened both genres to listeners that would otherwise not have been exposed to them.

Later on, Eminem’s track Stan featured Dido’s ‘Thank you was a global smash hit. With the contrast of hard rap lyrics that told a tragic story and the softness of Dido’s voice, songs like this brought a new creative dimension to rock and rap.

Let’s get heavy- Hard Rock and Metal!

As rock music evolved from the early sounds of the ’60s, ‘heavier’ bands began to emerge and create a new style of music labeled ‘heavy metal.’

Zep Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden were the forerunners of this style, but with the advent of much heavier genres like Speed, Death, and Thrash metal, their sound was downgraded to hard rock.

Still, their pioneering sound and pushing the limits of their gear to break and sometimes smashing point led to the sound of metal getting harder and heavier through time.

While metal is one of the most popular rock genres in the world , it spent a lot of time limited to die-hard fans until one album and one band changed all of that forever.

In 1991, Metallica released the Black Album.

The first song, ‘Enter Sandman,’ received extensive radio play and featured on MTV and, in doing so, captured a massive chunk of the mainstream market.

This one album thrust metal back into popular culture and attracted people in their droves that had never even heard of metal or Metallica!

This led to a resurgence of this genre’s popularity, and more and more people explored this hard-rocking style and began to enjoy it!

On the back of this, other hard rock and metal bands like Guns ‘n Roses, AC/DC, Korn, System of A Down, Sepultura, and Rammstein saw increased popularity and growth in the mainstream audience.

Songs like ‘ Thunderstruck’ from AC/ DC, ‘Du Hast’ by Rammstein, ‘Symphony of Destruction’ by Megadeth all struck chords with the rock audience.

Later on, bands like Evanescence and Disturbed also found great success with their songs ‘Bring Me to Life’ and ‘Down With The Sickness,’ respectively.

One thing about metal and hard rock- it’s best listened to LOUD!

Rock and the digital age – a match made in heaven

With Itunes, Deezer, Spotify, and a multitude of similar audio platforms and video channels, rock music in all its splendor and variety can be liked and enjoyed by everyone.

Simply go to your preferred channel and find some playlists that offer either a good variety of rock music or, if you have found you like a specific genre, stick to that.

Liking rock music – the final word

To like rock music, it needs to resonate with you on an emotional and aural level – so you relate to the message of the song as well as the sound.

Exploring rock music in its entirety can take quite a while and give you years of listening pleasure as you find more artists and songs that hold meaning for you.

Rock music plays another significant role in life, and that is to connect you with other people who enjoy it and share music and experiences around it.

Social media is packed with groups and pages that all express a love and passion for this music, whether it’s easy rock or thrash metal.

Rock is called rock because it rocks the soul, feeds the emotions, and blows away your blues in a tornado of guitars, driving bass, pounding drums, and soaring vocals.

When music can do that – what’s not to like?

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