In music terms, whether or not you subscribe to the ‘They don’t make them like they used to’ idiom largely depends on the decade in which you were brought up and the genre that you ended up listening to in your formative years. Regardless of whether you love or hate the ‘oldies’, it would be remiss of us to downplay their significance and influence on the music that we see being made today.This is especially true within the Rock music genre, where there have been a number of songs released throughout the years which have extended their influence way beyond the musical realm and continue to change the world even to this day.
Jackie Brenston – Rocket 88 (1951)
Music does so much more than just inspire someone, it can lift a mood, spark a memory or provide motivation. Studies have been done outlining the benefits that Rock music can have on one’s health and below is a selection of the what they consider to be some of the most influential songs within the last two decades, as well as a brief look at the impact they have had on some of the more modern acts currently dominating the rock charts. Rock N Roll is at the forefront of these studies.
Considered by many to be the first true Rock N Roll song, a list documenting the most influential songs in the Rock industry throughout the years simply wouldn’t be complete without Jackie Brenston’s enthusiastically sung 1951 hit. The record eventually topped the Billboard RnB chart and stayed there for five weeks, becoming the second biggest selling RnB track of 1951. The electrifying energy found within the song along with the tantalising bassline has without a doubt influenced a number of bassline driven singles over the years, including notable modern classics such as Motorhead’s Ace of Spaces and more recently, tracks such as Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s Give It Away certainly owe a lot to the gritty basslines of songs such as Rocket 88.
The Beatles – I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1963)
The Beatles need absolutely no introduction and their music has left an indelible on the music industry, the likes of which we may never see again. Their 1963 single, I Wanna Hold Your Hand paved the way for the start of the much-discussed musical revolution of the 1960’s, which many consider the greatest decade that Rock music has ever seen. In terms of musicians who have been influenced by The Beatles comprehensive back catalogue, the group can count Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl amongst their admirers, the latter of which cites Paul McCartney as his reason for picking up a guitar in the first place and Grohl has also stated that the late, great Kurt Cobain was also a big fan of the group’s work.
Perfectly encapsulating the frustration and rage felt by black America at the time, Fight The Power was instrumental in bringing these issues into the public domain and made people and sit up and take note of the oppression facing minority groups all across America. Public Enemy have influenced a number of modern Rock groups who are still going strong to this day such as Korn and NOFX, who have written a number of politically charged songs over the years in an attempt to vent their frustration and educate the masses. Of course, Public Enemy’s influence extends way beyond the Rock scene, with notable Hip-Hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar still bringing to light the issues that the black community face even to this day.
Good Music Is Still Out There – You Just Have To Look For It
The only way to truly enjoy music is to keep an open mind. You may well be of the opinion that the decade that you grew up in produced the best music but the truth is that modern classics are being made all the time and with music streaming apps such as Spotify conveniently putting them all in one place for you, there’s no excuse not to get out there and broaden your music horizons. Who knows? You may just discover your new favourite song!