Music sets the soul free, and many people all over the world concur with that statement. The combination of great chords, instruments, and a voice of ones favorite artist is always an invigorating, if not a rejuvenating experience (Auslander 167). In addition, the beauty of music is that its richness has no bounds. There is always a wide range of music types, out of which a person can choose anything, basing the selection on class, thrill, or even fashion. Even before the Era of Christ, music has existed for many years. Today, with the evolution of culture, technology, and recognition of music career and talent, which is well rewarding, many great strides have been made in the world of music art.
The golden age period was also known as the classic rock period. In this very period, the genre and style of music known around the world as rock found its meaning and conception. According to Flint (2), this period took place between the 1950’s and 1960’s in the USA. In a short time, variety of rock music sub-genres emerged and went on to capture their own audience. Hybrid music was common in this period; rock was fused with other genres, such as blues, folk, country, and even jazz. The fusion of rock with other styles and genres led to the development of unique beats resulting into different and distinct styles, such as the glam rock.
This essay aims at investigating and reviewing the music style of glam rock, by looking at the origin, development trend, and influence it has made on other genres or the influence it has received from other music trends.
GLAM ROCK MUSIC STYLE: HISTORY
Generally, rock music originated and matured from rock-and-roll between the 1940’s and 1950’s in the United States of America. A decade later, as it spread into other areas of the globe, like the United Kingdom and Canada, it slowly delved and diversified into a variety of styles. The inception and introduction of rock-and-roll revolutionized the music industry and paved the way for the birth of rock music. Matter of fact, it is difficult to assert that rock was a direct successor of rock-and–roll, but it is certain that rock-and-roll metamorphosed into the rock music that had popular today.
Today, with the worldwide spread, acceptance, and acknowledgement of this genre, it is difficult to imagine that rock music did not exist once upon a time.
INFLUENCE FROM THE RHYTHM AND BLUES AND COUNTRY MUSIC
It is worth noting that rhythm and blues and country music were the parental genres, from which the rock music sprung. Originally, the rhythm and blues was restricted to the black communities, who had developed the genre as a way of communication amongst themselves, without the ‘white master’s’ knowing what they were up to. Later, with the development of technology, music genres had to catch up. Consequently, the heavy and slow phonographic records that played at 75 rpm were replaced with smaller ones that could play music at a higher beat rate, 33 rpm and 45 rpm (Education Department, Saatchi Gallery 4). The audience started craving for something new; therefore, the music industry decided to create a style that would be appealing to the audience at that time and age. Rhythm and blues was fused with a country feel in a simple, blue-based song composition that was given a faster beat, made sexy, and to which people could easily dance. Almost overnight, the style became a huge success.
DEVELOPMENT AND FEATURES OF GLAM ROCK MUSIC
The combination of fast beats, sexy and dance rhythms were the main appeal that pushed the genre of rock to great heights. Originally, many radio stations had segregated upon the kinds of songs that they played by separating the audience into two groups, the adults and teenagers.
The teenagers grew tired of listening to the same songs their parents adored and, when rock music came along, they embraced it wholly and willingly. First was maybe because the song style horrified adults for the promotion of defiance, liberalization, and explicit content in these songs. Parents were embarrassed particularly, and it pushed the popularity of rock-and-roll to a completely new level among these teenagers, who felt that for the very first time they had something, with which they could identify.
The style of glam rock, also identifiable as glitter rock, developed in the United Kingdom during the 1970’s. The singers, musicians, and performers of glam rock music wore very distinct and outrageous clothing and platform-sole boots. In addition, they also had extremely different hairstyles and make-ups.
Glam rock was a variation of a simple rock-and-roll combination to the very diverse and complex Roxy music. Technically speaking, glam rock music was a combination of various styles all wired together, in order to produce a unique style. According to the Scaruffi website (n.p.), glam rock style have raced through time from the glamour of the 1930’s in Hollywood and through the sex appeal, sci-fi, pre war and post war theatrics, Victorian styles, as well as the ancient mystique. The promotion of sexual theatrics and gender misconception, stereotyping, and ambiguity have led to the massive popularity of this style.
Several artists boosted the popularization of rock as a genre of music and glam rock as a style in this genre. Some of the notable representatives of the style of glam rock, who were popular in both the UK and the US, include Tyrannosaurus Rex, Sweet, Roxy Music, David Bowie, as well Gary Glitter Lou Reed, New York Dolls, and Jobriath; these prominent singers and bands caused the promotion of this music style (Guevara 120). Glam rock put emphasis on fashion, visual style, and showmanship, unlike other style of heavy metal that prioritized volume, speed, and power. The popularity of this genre declined gradually in the late 1970’s; however, it managed to leave its mark on other music genres, such as punk rock, which was characterized by the widespread political and social criticism, glam metal that was characterized by heavy beats, new Romantics and gothic rock, which contained elements of the occult mythology and mystique.
It is obvious from the review conducted in this paper that the development of music is a process, which is affected by many factors. More often than not, as it is seen from the example of glam rock discussed here, the music develops under the influence from other issues and angles, such as technology, fashion, and social demand for something interesting.
The fusion of all these factors coupled with seasoned artists, musicians, and performers lead to a comprehensive and distinct style that is captivating and recognizable in its own context, like glam music. It is important to note that music never dies; it just ceases to exist and is absorbed by other genres or developed into another unique style, like the influence of glam rock on punk, heavy metal, and other genres, which appeared after the 1970’s.