Pop Music 60s and 70s

Comparing contemporary pop music to that from the 60s and 70s reveals more diversity: British Invasion rock to San Francisco psych, Greenwich Village folk and Detroit Motown were just some of the genres present then.

Singer-songwriters strive to convey something, whether that be love, politics, or their psychedelic visions.

The Beatles

The Beatles made an indelible mark on pop music of the 60s and 70s with their incredible impact on young people around the world, creating an environment in which young people could come together, discuss issues they faced, express themselves through song. Through them came love songs about lost loves, politics, drugs, peace and other controversial subjects as well as taking inspiration from Indian music to form their own genre of rock with vocal harmonies and innovative song structures to change how pop was composed and produced – reaching wider audiences by publishing albums in multiple languages.

After their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964, The Beatles quickly rose to global fame – known as Beatlemania – causing an unprecedented wave of interest that led to new generations of fans buying clothing and items with their favorite band’s logo emblazoned across them. Never had any popular music group been so successful.

Contrary to most of their contemporaries who focused on producing hits for mass consumption, The Beatles created meaningful music for an intelligent audience. Their unique musical style, close harmonies and use of Indian instruments influenced numerous other bands’ music as a result making The Beatles one of the most influential bands ever in Pop Music history.

Geoffrey Cannon (Reference Cannon1968) and Henry Pleasants (Reference Pleasants1971), critics who weren’t as inclined towards rockism like Palmer were initially trying to place the Beatles within existing cultural frames; they quickly recognised, however, that progressive rock musicians like the Beatles made it impossible to maintain strict separation between high culture and low culture in this new age of popular music.

The British Invasion

At a time when Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones were dominating pop, several British bands emerged on American charts with a unique blend of beat, rock, and ballad music that established a new style of rock music. Additionally, these acts showed how pop could be performed collectively rather than solely through solo singers.

The Beatles set an excellent example. Their innovative vocal harmonies, skiffle rhythm guitar playing and use of Indian musical instruments revolutionized music recording and production processes. Following in their footsteps were other British bands like Herman’s Hermits, Cliff Richard and Adam Faith who all found great success on Billboard charts like none before them. At one time during 1965 alone 14 British songs held top spots!

Pop music had undergone significant change at this point, beginning to diversify into numerous subgenres. Artists disenfranchised with rock scene that idolized bands of white men while marginalizing black artists by placing them only on R&B charts turned instead towards punk, glam, funk and disco as an outlet.

The British Invasion opened the way for future pop groups to introduce their unique cultural interpretations to popular music worldwide, giving birth to a more democratic and diverse style of pop that would endure well into the ’70s.

Bubblegum Pop

As the 1960s gave way to the 1970s, bubblegum pop became a musical trend. This musical genre dominated Billboard charts through early ’70s with songs featuring simple chords and catchy singalong choruses that became instant favorites among Billboard chart followers. While many hardcore music fans rejected bubblegum as manufactured garbage, there was something admirable in its simplicity and wholesome themes which often focused on romantic or platonic love; colors; candy; sugar.

One of the most well-known examples of bubblegum pop was The Archies, an act created for television shows, records, and commercial products by producer Don Kirshner and featuring cute lead singers, appealing male band members, and catchy tunes that made for easy singing along. Not much separation exists from this model to prepackaged disco acts like The Village People or KISS that recorded for Bogart’s Casablanca Records using costume design, merchandise sales strategies and other marketing tricks to reach success.

1910 Fruitgum Company is an example of bubblegum pop that made some notable hits during their original four-year run, such as their song based around Simon Says (based on a children’s game). While not popular within the band itself, this track managed to hit #1 on Billboard’s chart early 1968 despite their disdain for it.

Dawn’s 1970 hit “Knock Three Times” provided another successful example of this genre. While sounding more similar to New York R&B-pop than Dawn’s previous bubblegum hit, “Knock Three Times” still boasted an eye-catching chorus and catchy tune.

New Wave & Power Pop

At the time punk music exploded into popular consciousness in the ’70s, power pop was already an established subgenre. Bands like The Raspberries, Badfinger, Big Star, and Cheap Trick provided powerful melodies with strong guitar riffs which inspired more frenetic punk sounds.

Numerous punk acts, including New York-based sex-rockers The Fleshtones and Ramones, relied heavily on power pop but took an aggressive punk attitude toward it. Unlike garage punk and hardcore punk, which featured unruly sounds with no discernible aesthetic or uniform fan base, power pop was an organized style with distinct aesthetic that appealed to audiences of different ages and genders who dressed well.

Power-pop’s smarter singer-songwriters offered an appealing alternative to punk and metal’s aggressive posturing. Acts such as The Buzzcocks and Generation X (featuring future Billy Idol lead vocalist Glen Matlock from UK boy scout pinups Slik) appealed to younger listeners without needing too much testosterone for enjoyment.

Similar to The Chordettes and Nazz from New England and Todd Rundgren’s Anglophilic group Let’s Active, which set an attractive precedent in the ’70s for later acts such as Nashville outfit The Dwight Twilley Band. Poison owes its existence to these pioneers of power pop, making the genre’s impact far-reaching beyond its infancy in the ’70s. In the 1980s, neo-garage bands such as The Sonic Youth and new wave British acts like Def Leppard, Roxy Music and Squeeze — often mispronounced in American records — were power-poppers. Even today, hair metal (aka gla metal) bands such as Motley Crue and Skid Row owe something to The Raspberries Badfinger Cheap Trick and Big Star for their distinctive pop harmonies and melodic strength.

Film Music

Film music is a distinct genre with its own defining characteristics that differentiate it from chart pop. These typically include an identifiable melody with repeated choruses or hooks, short to medium-length songs written in a basic structure (often verse-chorus), danceable rhythms or tempos and instruments like guitar, piano and violin – as well as being inspired by other styles such as rock music, jazz, classical and dance music genres.

The cultural upheaval of the 1960s was reflected in its music, which became increasingly diverse over time. Psychedelic rock and folk revivals provided soundtracks for sexual revolution and civil rights marches alike; Bob Dylan and Joan Baez championed social change through their lyrics.

At that time, movie producers sought the prestige and publicity associated with an original score composed by composer Alex North – for instance director Elia Kazan hired North to compose scores for both A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront; both films marked major screen comebacks by Doris Day and Judy Garland respectively.

The 1960s was an unprecedented period for popular music. While The Beatles reigned supreme, other groups gained popularity. Some such as The Archies and Monkees — for contractual reasons, did not play their instruments on recordings — gained more fans as time progressed. Meanwhile, Black Sabbath and Kraftwerk, two bands with unconventional musical styles, were pushed further to the fringes due to contractual requirements; yet over time would later help form future musicians’ foundations; artists such as Aretha Franklin and Diana Ross helped shape soul and R&B music over decades of time.