Pop through the Ages
Posted on Feb 20 17
Over the later decades of the twentieth century, Pop has been used to describe whatever music was popular at the time. As the years marched on toward the millennium, Pop became a genre in itself with the rise of Pop music stars such as George Michael and Michael Jackson. Today the genre is represented by artists that have massive commercial appeal and their songs can be heard on the radio and seen on MTV.
Everyone loves a good Pop song, they have the ability to connect to a wide audience and thereby becomes a melting pot of both talent and fans that have created a music scene that has taken the world by storm. With topics of Pop songs varying from partying and sexual exploits, to emotions of love and happiness, you could be excused for thinking that there is no specific sound related to the Pop scene. However, Pop is now used to describe the artists and their music, in a way that the average person can understand and enjoy.
Pop has had humble beginnings compared to the massive success and appeal it has generated from the early to mid-eighties, let’s take a look at the journey of the Pop sound from its inception to its modern-day musicians and songs that have captivated fans the world over.
The beginning of an era – The 1950’s
Pop music has its birthplace in the roots of the Rock & Roll genre. With the slow demise of Swing music after World War 2, people began to look to other avenues for musical entertainment and Rock was the up and coming sound that was beginning to take hold with the American and European public.
During this place in time, a producer rose from the emerging scene to become the spark that would ignite the Pop industry and make household names of the artists to come in the following generations. Mitch Miller was a producer at Columbia Records, arguably the largest record label of the time and had access to the labels big-name artists. Miller began to work with them on creating a new sound that mixed the best of Blues, soul music, country, and folk with the rock music of the Fifties, taking away from the prominence of the sounds of the big bands and orchestras of the previous decades.
Miller worked with some early pioneers of the popular music scene; Guy Mitchell, Frankie Laine and Johnnie Ray to name a few. The decade of the fifties saw the rise to fame of possibly the biggest rock & Roll star of all time, Elvis Presley, who burst onto the scene with unforgettable classics that would be remembered almost 70 years later.
The swinging 60’s
Pop music has always been the music of young people. Teens in the Sixties were around for the introduction of the portable radio and with that came easy access to music. Teens took their portable radios everywhere they went. Pop music began to spread like wildfire and with the introduction of bands like ‘The Beach Boys’ who took harmonies from the older pop tracks and mixed them in with a ‘surf pop’ style that became their signature.
While the Beach Boys were tearing up the scene in California and the US, the true pop revolution was happening across the pond in Europe. There was a band that was beginning to gain traction with the upcoming pop rock scene, people were flocking to hear them live and before long the phenomenon that was ‘The Beatles’ was sweeping across pop charts in both England and the United States.
Beatlemania and the British Invasion brought the catalyst to the scene that sparked the fire of the pop rock sound, with their success coming swiftly and in huge volume. Fans in both the US and the UK were mesmerised by their sound that could be best described as revolutionary for its time. Their mix of rock and pop ballads skyrocketed to the top of the charts in both countries and they quickly became England’s ‘Most valuable export’.
With the introduction of the Beatles, pop rock had become a fully-fledged international sound that gained a fan base in the western world and unified the music scenes of the two most advanced economies and societies in the world. With this unification came rapid growth and the exponential explosion of pop began with sub-genres of the pop sound now emerging. ‘Bubblegum Pop’ and ‘Baroque Pop’ were early off-shoots of the Pop rock scene, blending different sounds into a pop format.
The sound of the Seventies
While the initial sub-genres of pop didn’t last very long, fading out completely by the beginning of the Seventies, new sub-genres ‘popped’ up to take their place. ‘Power Pop’ was an early example of these sub-genres, mixing punk rock with pop music. Alongside this, ‘Country Pop’ also emerged onto the scene. Bands like ‘Cheap Trick’ are great examples of the Power punk scene, mixing in raw instrumentals with lyrics that spoke of social issues while still managing to keep a ‘pop’ sound that had good choruses and strong riffs that got people up and on the dancefloor.
The evolution of the ‘Pop Rock’ scene was the biggest mover of the seventies, with bands like the ‘Jackson 5’, ‘Elton John’ and ‘Queen’ dominating the charts with hit after hit.
The Eclectic Eighties
With the Eighties came the birth of the digital age and the technology revolution and its effect on the Pop scene was the equivalent of throwing gasoline on a wildfire. Electro sounds and keyboards were introduced to songs, shaping the foundations for dance-pop music.
The artists that catapulted themselves onto the scene in the 1980’s were some of the greatest musicians to ever live. Michael Jackson and his album ‘Thriller’ quickly stole the show and became the number one selling album of all time. With hits like ‘Thriller’ and ‘Billie Jean’, Jackson was set on a path to superstardom that would last for the next 2 decades of his life and still be remembered today, long after his passing.
‘Prince’ was another artist that climbed to the lofty heights of pop stardom with hits like ‘Purple rain’. Madonna’s ‘Like a virgin’ was a tongue in cheek song that captured the minds of young teen girls, and some boys, all over the world.
The pop culture that was refined and expanded in the 1980’s formed the foundations of the artists that would grace the top 100 charts for decades to come and their influence on the scene and the artists that followed in their footsteps was dramatic and is still felt in Pop songs that are released today.
The Naughty Nineties
The nineties saw pop accelerating at a staggering pace. As the public began to get better and better access to media through television and cable television channels such as MTV, the pop artists of the nineties began to enjoy an explosion in their fan bases. The British band, ‘The Spice Girls’ had a string of hits in the UK and they took the United states by storm as well becoming the most influential and successful girl group of all time.
If the Eighties was the birthplace of modern pop music, then the nineties were the era of global expansion with new pop groups popping up all over the scene. Boy-bands like ‘The Backstreet boys’ with tracks like ‘Backstreets back’ and solo girl acts like Brittany Spears with songs like ‘Hit me one more time’, jumped into the pop culture toward the end of the Nineties and their commercial success paved the way for the next wave to come at the start of the new millennium.
Into 2000 and Beyond
The move into the digital age accelerated pop once more, pushing the stars of the scene into the forefront of the masses with the power of the internet. Teen pop along with Girl and Boy bands were on the rise along with other rejuvenated genes such as ‘punk-pop’ with the likes of ‘Green Day’ and ‘Blink 182’.
Toward 2010, Electronic sounds were common in music, but the biggest shift in the scene was the introduction of the internet and social media. This created an international, interconnected fanbase that turned the biggest Pop stars from your average musician into demi-god superstars that amassed cult followings in every country that you can think of. Today those same artists have used the internet and its power to spread their message and lyrics across the globe.
Pop music is not just some chart-topping sound that captures the minds and hearts of the masses all over the world, it has become an evolution of artist’s creativity and adaptation to the progressive changes in technology, combined with the ability to instantly tap into markets via the power of the internet. Pop has become a marvel of a genre where anything seems to be possible.
What occasions best suit Pop music?
Pop music is so versatile. You can play it as background music in the office, listen to it as you chill out on the veranda with an afternoon sundowner, or head out for an evening on the town to dance the night away with your friends to the sounds of the latest pop sensation. Pop music is classic and current, with so many artists leaving timeless tracks in their wake. Tracks like ‘Bad’, ‘Thriller’ and ‘Billie Jean’ are still played on radio stations and pumped out on dancefloors every day and will most likely be remembered until the end of civilisation.
If you are hosting a function, a corporate event, or even a wedding reception then Pop music is an ideal choice that will be enjoyed by everyone in the room.
Black & Gold – a Class Act
Pop music is loved by all and having a top-quality performer for your next event will be one step close to making it the resounding success that you have dreamed of. Black & Gold are true performance artists that aim to deliver a quality performance every time that they decide to step onto the stage.
There bespoke repertoire, custom tailored by the Earcandy team, will enthral and excite your guests as they party the evening away to some of the most famous and toe-tapping chartbusters from the realm of Pop music.
Black & Gold are the end result of 4 years of obsessive perfection in creating the ultimate Party-Pop act that does the greatest of justice to the best Pop songs of our time. So for the best entertainment experience, Black & Gold are the ultimate Pop and Rock band for hire from Earcandy entertainment, call in and book them for your next function.