|Stylistic origins||Blues-rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock, rock and roll|
|Cultural origins||Mid 1960s, United Kingdom and United States|
|Typical instruments||Electric guitar - Bass guitar - Vocals - Drums - sometimes pianos and Keyboards|
|Heavy metal – Progressive rock
|Back beat - Rock opera - Rock band - Performers - Hall of Fame - Social impact|
Hard rock (or heavy rock) is a genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage, blues rock and psychedelic rock and is considerably harder than conventional rock music. It is typified by a heavy use of distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, pianos, and keyboards.
One of the major influences of hard rock is blues music. American and British rock bands began to modify rock and roll, adding to the standard genre harder sounds, heavier guitar riffs, bombastic drumming and louder vocals. This sound created the basis for hard rock. Early forms of hard rock can be heard in the songs "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks (1964), "My Generation" by The Who (1965) and "I Feel Free" by Cream (1966).
Later, Jimi Hendrix produced a form of blues-influenced psychedelic rock, which combined elements of jazz, blues and rock and roll. He was one of the first guitarists to experiment with new guitar effects like phasing, feedback and distortion, after Dave Davies of the Kinks, Pete Townshend of The Who, Eric Clapton of Cream and Jeff Beck of The Yardbirds.
Hard rock emerged with groups of the late-1960s, such as The Who, Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Blue Cheer and Led Zeppelin who mixed the music of early rock bands with a more hard-edged form of blues rock and acid rock. Deep Purple helped pioneer the hard rock genre with the albums Shades of Deep Purple (1968), The Book of Taliesyn (1968), and Deep Purple (1969), but they made their big break with their fourth and distinctively heavier album, In Rock (1970). Led Zeppelin's eponymous first album, Led Zeppelin (1969), and The Who's Live at Leeds (1970), are examples of music from the beginning of the hard rock genre. The blues origins of the albums are clear, and a few songs by well-known blues artists are adapted or covered within them.
Led Zeppelin II (1970), Led Zeppelin's second album, was a watershed moment for the identity of hard rock, proving more popular than their third album Led Zeppelin III (1970). While the heavy aspects of their music remained, Led Zeppelin III was more folk rock-oriented than their second. 1971 saw The Who release their highly-acclaimed album Who's Next.
Deep Purple's transformation of hard rock continued in 1972 with their album Machine Head, considered one of the first heavy metal albums, although some band members shunned that label. Two songs from Machine Head had great success: "Highway Star" and "Smoke on the Water." The latter song's main riff of four power-chords made it, for many, the "signature" Deep Purple song. Nazareth, a band out of Scotland, provided a blend of hard rock which commercialised the genre further with their best selling album, Hair of the Dog, which in turn, influenced numerous other bands. Free released their signature song "All Right Now", which has received massive radio airplay in both the UK and US.
During the 1970s, hard rock developed a variety of sub-genres. In 1972, macabre-rock pioneer Alice Cooper put hard rock into the mainstream with the top ten album School's Out. The following year, Aerosmith, Queen and Montrose released their eponymous debut albums, demonstrating the broadening directions of hard rock. In 1974, Bad Company released its debut album and Queen released its third album, Sheer Heart Attack, with the track "Stone Cold Crazy" influencing later thrash metal artists, such as Metallica and Megadeth. Queen used layered vocals and guitars and mixed hard rock with glam rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, and even opera. Kiss released their first three albums Kiss, Hotter Than Hell and Dressed to Kill, in a little over a year, achieving their commercial breakthrough with the double live album Alive! in 1975. The Canadian trio Rush released three distinctively hard rock albums in 1974-75 (Rush, Fly by Night, and Caress of Steel) before moving toward a more progressive sound.
In the mid-1970s, Aerosmith released the ground-breaking Toys in the Attic and Rocks which incorporated elements of blues, hard rock and heavy metal and would later influence rock artists such as Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Mötley Crüe, Testament, Nirvana and Van Halen. In 1976, Boston released their highly successful debut album while Heart paved the way for women in the genre with the release of their debut.
The Irish band Thin Lizzy, which had been around since the late 1960s, made their most substantial commercial breakthrough in 1976 with the hard rock album Jailbreak and its top single, "The Boys Are Back in Town." Around this same time, American guitarist Ted Nugent split from the Amboy Dukes and embarked on a solo career that resulted in four successive multi-platinum albums: Ted Nugent (1975), Free-for-All (1976), Cat Scratch Fever (1977) and Double Live Gonzo (1978).
The 1975 departure of Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (who went on to form Rainbow the same year) was followed by the sudden death of his replacement Tommy Bolin in 1976, but by that time the group had already disbanded. In 1978, The Who's drummer, Keith Moon, died in his sleep via an overdose. With the rise of disco in the U.S. and punk rock in the UK, hard rock's mainstream dominance was rivaled and began to decline. Disco appealed to a more diverse group of people and punk seemed to take over the rebellious role that hard rock once held. Meanwhile, Black Sabbath moved away from the darkness of their early work with albums such as Technical Ecstasy.
Van Halen emerged in 1978 from the generally grittier Los Angeles music scene. Their music was based mostly on the guitar skills of Eddie Van Halen, the lead guitarist, who popularized a guitar‐playing technique of two‐handed hammer‐ons and pull‐offs called tapping. The song "Eruption" from the album Van Halen, demonstrated his technique and was very influential in both re‐establishing hard‐rock and redefining and elevating the role of electric guitar in hard rock and, eventually, popular music.
In 1979, the differences between the hard rock movement and the rising heavy metal movement were highlighted when the Australian hard rock band, AC/DC, released its second-biggest album, Highway to Hell. AC/DC's music was based mostly on rhythm & blues and early-1970s hard rock, with the group explicitly repudiating the "heavy metal" tag.
In 1980, Led Zeppelin disbanded after the sudden death of drummer John Bonham, who died of asphyxiation after consuming too much alcohol. Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC, also died of acute asphxiation/alcohol poisoning in 1980. Black Sabbath split with original singer Ozzy Osbourne and replaced him with Ronnie James Dio. With these events, the first wave of "classic" hard rock bands ended. Some bands, such as Queen, moved away from their hard rock roots and more towards pop rock. AC/DC recorded the album Back in Black, with their new lead singer, Brian Johnson. Back in Black is the fifth highest-selling album of all time in the U.S. and the second largest selling album in the world. Ozzy Osbourne released his first solo album, Blizzard of Ozz which featured American guitarist Randy Rhoads.
In 1981, the British hard rock band Def Leppard released their second album High 'N' Dry, on which they categorized the sound of hard rock in the 1980s with songs like "Bringin' on the Heartbreak." The U.S. band Mötley Crüe followed suit with their release Too Fast for Love. A year later, the style grew, led by bands such as Twisted Sister and Quiet Riot.
In 1983, Def Leppard released the album Pyromania, which reached #2 on the American charts. With this release, they established their trademark style of mixing glam-rock and heavy metal. Pyromania undeniably started the pop influenced metal explosion that followed, with songs such as "Photograph" and "Rock of Ages," which reached the American top 20. This same album spawned the single "Foolin'" which was Top 40 hit.
That same year, Mötley Crüe released the album, Shout at the Devil, which became a huge hit. Van Halen's album 1984 became a huge success as well, hitting #2 on the Billboard album chart. In particular, the song "Jump" reached #1 on the singles chart, where it remained for several weeks.
After a number of lineup changes and an 8-year disbandment, Deep Purple's classic Machine Head formation made a successful comeback in late 1984 with the release of Perfect Strangers. The album reached #5 in the UK, #2 in Norway, and #6 on the Billboard 200 in the US.
The late 1980s saw the most commercially successful time period for hard rock. At this time it was the most reliable form of commercial popular music in the United States. Numerous hard rock acts achieved hits in the mainstream charts. One of those hits was the album Slippery When Wet (1986) by Bon Jovi, which spent a total of 8 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 album chart, sold 12 million copies, and became the first hard rock album to spawn three top 10 singles—two of which reached #1. In addition, the anthem rock album The Final Countdown by Swedish group Europe was released in 1986. It reached #8 on the U.S. charts, while hitting the top 10 in several other countries. This time period also saw more glam-infused American hard rock bands come to the forefront, with both Poison and Cinderella releasing their multi-platinum debut albums this year. Also in 1986, Van Halen released their first album with Sammy Hagar on lead vocals, 5150, which was #1 for three weeks and sold over 6 million copies in the U.S.
1987 was a seminal year for hard rock music, with several key releases from old and new acts alike. The best-selling debut of all time, Appetite for Destruction by Guns N' Roses, was released, a dirty, punky album which foretold the directions rock music would take in the 1990s. At the same time Hysteria by Def Leppard would be one of the biggest sellers of the glam metal era, second only to Slippery When Wet in sales. Both topped the US charts and sold well over 20 million around the world to date. Appetite produced three top 10 hits, including the #1 "Sweet Child o' Mine", Hysteria produced six hit singles (more than any hard rock act before or since). Mötley Crüe, the most influential glam metal band, hit their peak popularity with Girls, Girls, Girls. Other, more extreme rock music had a solid year, with Anthrax's Among The Living being released. Generally seen as the band's best album, it showed that the ground broken by Metallica for broadening thrash metal's appeal the previous year had been picked up by the public and gained momentum.
The year also proved to be the most important and successful for 1970s rock bands who had adapted to playing in a more modern style. Aerosmith's comeback album Permanent Vacation would launch the band to new heights, and a decade of growing popularity after seven years of commercial decline. Former Deep Purple frontman David Coverdale's band Whitesnake put out their self-titled album, which would sell better than anything else in Coverdale or Purple's catalogue, selling 17 million copies and featuring the rock anthem "Here I Go Again '87". The album's glam metal sensibilities appealed to American audiences, but retained Coverdale's British fanbase producing 4 UK top 20 singles. Though not as significant as Aerosmith and Coverdale's releases of the year, the other release worthy of note is Crazy Nights by KISS. It was the band's biggest seller since 1979's Dynasty. It was their highest charting release since 1979 in the USA, and highest charting of their career in the UK where it remains the band's biggest seller thanks to the title track, the band's biggest single there.
In 1988 and 1989, the most notable successes were New Jersey by Bon Jovi, Pump by Aerosmith, OU812 by Van Halen, Dr. Feelgood by Mötley Crüe, and Open Up and Say... Ahh! by Poison. New Jersey spawned five top 10 singles, the most ever for a hard rock album. In 1986, Skid Row formed. Their first album, Skid Row, was released in 1989, reaching number 6 in the Billboard 200. Towards the end of the 1980s, numerous hard rock artists such as Mr. Big, Firehouse, Warrant, Winger, and Extreme broke into mainstream success, with many of these bands achieving their peak success in 1990 and 1991.
The early 1990s were at first dominated by AC/DC, Guns N' Roses, Metallica and Van Halen. The multi-platinum releases of AC/DC's The Razors Edge, Metallica's Metallica (often referred to as "The Black Album"), Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II and Van Halen's For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge in 1991 showcased this popularity. In 1992, Def Leppard followed up 1987's Hysteria with Adrenalize, a multi-platinum smash that spawned four Top 40 singles and held the #1 spot on the U.S. album chart for 5 straight weeks, the only hard rock album to reach that position that year. While these few hard rock bands managed to maintain success and popularity in the early part of the decade, an alternative to hard rock simultaneously broke into the mainstream during this time period.
Grunge combined elements of hardcore punk and heavy metal into a dirty sound that made use of heavy guitar distortion, fuzz and feedback, along with darker lyrical themes than their "hair band" predecessors. Although most grunge bands had a sound that sharply contrasted mainstream hard rock (for example Nirvana, Pearl Jam and L7), a minority (for example Alice in Chains, Mother Love Bone, and Soundgarden) were more strongly influenced by much 1970s and 1980s rock and metal. However, all grunge bands shunned the macho, anthemic and fashion-focused style of hard rock at that time.
At the same time that grunge music dominated rock, many of the popular hard rock acts of the 1980s and early 1990s fell into decline. Many of the glam metal bands like Ratt, Europe, White Lion, and Winger broke up. While many of these bands would re-unite again in the late 1990s or early 2000s, they never reached the commercial success they saw in the 1980s or early 1990s. Other bands such as Mötley Crüe, Poison, and Warrant saw personnel changes which impacted those bands' commercial viability during the decade.
In the mid 1990s, some of the biggest and most-publicized personnel changes occurred with Guns N' Roses and Van Halen, contributing to the decline of hard rock in the 1990s. In 1995, Van Halen released Balance, a multi-platinum seller that would be the band's last with Sammy Hagar on vocals. In 1996, Sammy Hagar left Van Halen, shortly after the release of a new song for the Twister soundtrack. A much-publicized reunion with David Lee Roth ensued, when the classic lineup was featured at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards. After recording two new songs for a greatest hits collection, Roth was fired, to be replaced by Extreme singer Gary Cherone for the 1998 album Van Halen III, which was a commercial failure. After the tour, Cherone was fired. Van Halen would not tour or record again until 2004. Meanwhile, Guns N' Roses' original lineup whittled away throughout the decade. Drummer Steven Adler was fired in 1990, guitarist Izzy Stradlin left in late 1991 after recording Use Your Illusion I and II with the band. Tensions between the other band members and lead singer Axl Rose continued after the release of the 1993 covers album The Spaghetti Incident?. Guitarist Slash left in 1996, followed by bassist Duff McKagan in 1997. Stradlin and Adler's replacements, Gilby Clarke and Matt Sorum, were fired in 1994 and 1997 respectively. Axl Rose worked with a constantly-changing lineup in recording an album that took over ten years to complete, Chinese Democracy, which when finally released in 2008, only went platinum, produced no hit singles, and failed to come close to the success of the band's late 1980s and early 1990s material.
Towards the mid 2000s, new bands started to become mainstream; Jet, Wolfmother, Airbourne, White Stripes, The Vines, Three Days Grace, The Answer, The Glitterati, The Datsuns and Towers of London, are some of the new rock bands which followed up from the Garage rock revival.
This has helped revive the glam metal scene (e.g. bands like Buckcherry, which Guns N' Roses Appetite for Destruction album is often credited with influencing). The 00's even saw reunions and subsequent tours from Rage Against the Machine, Stone Temple Pilots, Eric Burdon and Living Colour, in addition to Van Halen, The Who and Black Sabbath and even a one off performance by Led Zeppelin, renewing the interest in previous eras. Additionally, hard rock supergroups, such as Audioslave and Velvet Revolver came to the forefront with multi-platinum debut albums and a series of Mainstream Rock hits. Velvet Revolver even won a Grammy award. However, these bands were short-lived, ending in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
In addition, a few hard rock bands from the 1970s and 1980s managed to sustain highly successful recording careers throughout the 1990s and 2000s by constantly re-inventing themselves and exploring different musical styles, namely Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, AC/DC, and Metallica. Since 1989's Pump, Aerosmith has released two #1 multi-platinum albums: Get a Grip in 1993 and Nine Lives in 1997. Get a Grip produced four Top 40 singles and became the band's best-selling album worldwide, going on to sell over 20 million copies. In addition, Aerosmith released a #2 platinum album, Just Push Play (2001), which saw the band foray further into pop, and a blues cover album, Honkin' on Bobo, which reached #5 in 2004. Additionally, since the early 1990s, Aerosmith has achieved eight Top 40 singles (including the #1 hit "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" in 1998). Bon Jovi released five albums which achieved platinum status or better and also achieved eight Top 40 singles since 1988's New Jersey. In addition to remaining true to their hard rock roots with songs like "Keep the Faith" and "It's My Life", Bon Jovi achieved success in the adult contemporary genre, with the Top 10 ballads "Bed of Roses" (1993) and "Always" (1994) and also in country with "Who Says You Can't Go Home", which reached #1 on the Hot Country Singles chart in 2006 and the rock/country album Lost Highway which reached #1 in 2007. In 2009, Bon Jovi released another #1 album, The Circle. Since 1990's multi-platinum The Razors Edge, AC/DC, released two double platinum #1 albums, Ballbreaker (1995) and Black Ice (2008) and the platinum-certified Stiff Upper Lip (2000). Meanwhile, Metallica released four multi-platinum #1 albums since 1991's The Black Album - Load, ReLoad, St. Anger, and Death Magnetic. Load and ReLoad both sold in excess of 4 million copies in the U.S. and saw the band develop a more blues-rock sound, while Death Magnetic was a return to the band's 1980s heavy metal roots.
|Stylistic origins||Blues-rock, garage rock, psychedelic rock, rock and roll, rock music, R&B|
|Cultural origins||Mid 1960s, United Kingdom and United States|
|Typical instruments||Electric guitar – bass guitar – vocals – drums – sometimes pianos and keyboards|
|Mainstream popularity||High since the late 1960s|
|Derivative forms||Heavy metal|
|Back beat – rock opera – rock band – performers – progressive rock – Hall of Fame – social impact|
Hard rock (or heavy rock) is a loosely defined genre of rock music which has its earliest roots in mid-1960s garage rock, blues rock and psychedelic rock. It is typified by a heavy use of distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, and often accompanied with pianos, and keyboards.
Hard Rock developed into a major form of popular music in the 1970s, with bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Aerosmith, AC/DC and Van Halen, and reached a commercial peak in the mid 1980s. The glam metal of bands like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and the rawer sounds of Guns N' Roses followed up with great success in the later part of that decade, before losing popularity in the face of grunge. Despite this, many post-grunge bands adopted a hard rock sound and in the 2000s there came a renewed interest in established bands, attempts at a revival, and new hard rock bands that emerged from the garage rock and post punk revival.
Hard rock is a form of loud, aggressive rock music. The electric guitar is often emphasised, used with distortion and other effects, both as a rhythm instrument using simple repetitive riffs, and as a solo lead instrument. Drumming characteristically focuses on driving rhythms, strong bass drum and a backbeat on snare, sometimes using cymbals for emphasis. The bass guitar works in conjunction with the drums, occasionally playing riffs, but usually providing a backing for the rhythm and lead guitars. Vocals are often growling, raspy, or involve screaming or wailing, sometimes in a high range, or even falsetto voice. Hard rock has sometimes been labelled cock rock for its emphasis on overt masculinity and sexuality and because it has historically been predominately performed and consumed by men: in the case of its audience, particularly white, working-class adolescents.
In the late 1960s the term heavy metal was used interchangeably with hard rock, but gradually began to be used to describe music played with even more volume and intensity. While hard rock maintained a bluesy rock and roll identity, including some swing in the back beat and riffs that tended to outline chord progressions in their hooks, heavy metal's riffs often functioned as stand-alone melodies and had no swing in them. Heavy metal took on "darker" characteristics after Black Sabbath's breakthrough in the early 1970s and from the 1980s it developed a number of sub-genres, often termed extreme metal, which were influenced by hardcore punk, and which further differentiated the two styles. Despite this differentiation, hard rock and heavy metal have existed side by side, with bands frequently standing on the boundary of, or crossing between, the genres.
In the mid-1960s, American and in particular British rock bands began to modify rock and roll, adding to the standard genre greater blues influence, harder sounds, heavier guitar riffs, bombastic drumming and louder vocals. Early forms of hard rock can be heard in the Kingsmen's version of "Louie, Louie" (1963), which made it a garage rock standard, and the songs of British Invasion acts, including "You Really Got Me" by The Kinks (1964), "My Generation" by The Who (1965) and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (1965) by the Rolling Stones. From the late 1960s it became common to divide mainstream rock music that emerged from psychedelia into soft and hard rock. Soft rock was often derived from folk rock, using acoustic instruments and putting more emphasis on melody and harmonies. In contrast, hard rock was most often derived from blues-rock and was played louder and with more intensity.
Blues-rock acts that pioneered the sound included Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Jeff Beck Group. Cream, in songs like "I Feel Free" (1966) combined blues-rock with pop and psychedelia, particularly in the riffs and guitar solos of Eric Clapton. Jimi Hendrix produced a form of blues-influenced psychedelic rock, which combined elements of jazz, blues and rock and roll. From 1967 Jeff Beck brought lead guitar to new heights of technical virtuosity and moved blues-rock in the direction of heavy rock with his band, The Jeff Beck Group. Dave Davies of the Kinks, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend of The Who, Hendrix, Clapton and Beck all pioneered the use of new guitar effects like phasing, feedback and distortion. Even The Beatles attempted to produce songs in the new hard rock style, trying to create a greater level of noise than The Who, from The Beatles (1968) (known as the White Album) onwards, beginning with "Helter Skelter". Some critics have written about its "proto-metal roar", but others have argued that "their attempts at the heavy style were without exception embarrassing".
Groups that emerged from the American psychedelic scene about the same time included Iron Butterfly, MC5, Blue Cheer and Vanilla Fudge. The San Francisco band Blue Cheer released a crude and distorted cover of Eddie Cochran's classic "Summertime Blues", from their debut album Vincebus Eruptum (1968), that outlined much of the later hard rock and heavy metal sound. The same month, Steppenwolf released its self-titled debut album (1968), including "Born to Be Wild", which contained the first lyrical reference to heavy metal and helped popularise the style when it was used in the film Easy Rider (1969). Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968), with its 17-minute-long title track, using organs and with a lengthy drum solo, also prefigured later elements of the sound.
At the end of the decade a distinct genre of hard rock was emerging with bands like Led Zeppelin, who mixed the music of early rock bands with a more hard-edged form of blues rock and acid rock on their first two albums Led Zeppelin (1969) and Led Zeppelin II (1969), and Deep Purple, who achieved their commercial breakthrough with their fourth and distinctively heavier album, In Rock (1970). Also significant was Black Sabbath's Paranoid (1970), which combined guitar riffs with dissonance and more explicit references to the occult and elements of Gothic horror. All three of these bands have been seen as pivotal in the development of heavy metal, but where metal further accentuated the intensity of the music, with bands like Judas Priest following Sabbath's lead into territory that was often "darker and more menacing", hard rock tended to continue to remain the more exuberant, good-time music.
[[File:|thumb|left|250px|left|Led Zeppelin live at Chicago Stadium, January 1975.]] In the early 1970s the Rolling Stones developed their hard rock sound with Exile on Main St. (1972). Initially receiving mixed reviews, according to critic Steve Earlewine it is now "generally regarded as the Rolling Stones' finest album". They continued to pursue the riff-heavy sound on albums including It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (1974) and Black and Blue (1976). Led Zeppelin began to mix elements of world and folk music into their hard rock from Led Zeppelin III (1970) and Led Zeppelin IV (1971). The latter included the track "Stairway to Heaven", which would become the most played song in the history of album-oriented radio. Deep Purple continued to define hard rock, particularly with their album Machine Head (1972), which included the tracks "Highway Star" and "Smoke on the Water". In 1975 guitarist Ritchie Blackmore left, going on to form Rainbow and after the break-up of the band the next year, vocalist David Coverdale formed Whitesnake. 1970 saw The Who release Live at Leeds, often seen as the archetypal hard rock live album, and the following year they released their highly-acclaimed album Who's Next, which mixed heavy rock with extensive use of synthesisers. Subsequent albums, including Quadrophenia (1973), built on this sound before Who Are You (1978), their last album before the death of pioneering rock drummer Keith Moon later that year.
Emerging British acts included Free, who released their signature song "All Right Now" (1970), which has received extensive radio airplay in both the UK and US. After the breakup of the band in 1973, vocalist Paul Rodgers joined supergroup Bad Company, whose eponymous first album (1974) was an international hit. Scottish band Nazareth released their self-titled début album in 1970, producing a blend of hard rock and pop that would culminate in their best selling, Hair of the Dog (1975), which contained the proto-power ballad "Love Hurts". The mixture of hard rock and progressive rock, evident in the works of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, was pursued more directly by bands like Uriah Heep and Argent. Having enjoyed some national success in the early 1970s, Queen, after the release of Sheer Heart Attack (1974) and A Night at the Opera (1975), gained international recognition with a sound that used layered vocals and guitars and mixed hard rock with glam rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, and even opera. The latter featured the single "Bohemian Rhapsody", which stayed at #1 in the UK charts for nine weeks.
In the United States, macabre-rock pioneer Alice Cooper achieved mainstream success with the top ten album School's Out (1972). In the following year blues rockers ZZ Top released their classic album Tres Hombres and Aerosmith produced their eponymous début, as did Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd and proto-punk outfit New York Dolls, demonstrating the diverse directions being pursued in the genre. Montrose, including the instrumental talent of Ronnie Montrose and vocals of Sammy Hagar and arguably the first all American hard rock band to challenge the British dominance of the genre, released their first album in 1973. Kiss built on the theatrics of Alice Cooper and the look of the New York Dolls to produce a unique band persona, achieving their commercial breakthrough with the double live album Alive! in 1975 and helping to take hard rock into the stadium rock era. In the mid-1970s Aerosmith achieved their commercial and artistic breakthrough with Toys in the Attic (1975), which reached #11 in the American album chart and Rocks (1976) which peaked at #3. Blue Öyster Cult, formed in the late 60s, picked up on some of the elements introduced by Black Sabbath with their breakthrough live gold album On Your Feet or on Your Knees (1975), followed by their first platinum album, Agents of Fortune (1976), containing the hit single "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", which reached #12 on the Billboard charts. Journey released their eponymous debut in 1975 and the next year Boston released their highly successful début album. In the same year, hard rock bands featuring women saw commercial success as Heart released Dreamboat Annie and The Runaways débuted with their self-titled album. While Heart had a more folk-oriented hard rock sound, the Runaways leaned more towards a mix of punk-influenced music and hard rock. The Amboy Dukes, having emerged from the Detroit garage rock scene and most famous for their Top 20 psychedelic hit "Journey to the Centre of the Mind" (1968), were dissolved by their guitarist Ted Nugent, who embarked on a solo career that resulted in four successive multi-platinum albums between Ted Nugent (1975) and his best selling Double Live Gonzo (1978).
[[File:|thumb|250px|left|Rush on stage in 2004.]] From outside of Britain and the United States, the Canadian trio Rush released three distinctively hard rock albums in 1974–75 (Rush, Fly by Night, and Caress of Steel) before moving toward a more progressive sound. The Irish band Thin Lizzy, which had formed in the late 1960s, made their most substantial commercial breakthrough in 1976 with the hard rock album Jailbreak and their worldwide hit "The Boys Are Back in Town" which reached #8 in the UK, and #12 in the US. Their style, consisting of two duelling guitarists often playing leads in harmony, proved itself to be a large influence on later bands. They reached their commercial, and arguably their artistic peak with Black Rose: A Rock Legend (1979). The arrival of Scorpions from Germany marked the geographical expansion of the sub-genre. Australian-formed AC/DC, with a stripped back, riff heavy and abrasive style that also appealed to the punk generation, began to gain international attention from 1976, culminating in the release of their multi-platinum albums Let There Be Rock (1977) and Highway to Hell (1979). Also influenced by a punk ethos were heavy metal bands like Motörhead, while Judas Priest abandoned the remaining elements of the blues in their music, further differentiating the hard rock and heavy metal styles and helping to create the New Wave of British Heavy Metal which was pursued by bands like Iron Maiden, Saxon and Venom.
With the rise of disco in the U.S. and punk rock in the UK, hard rock's mainstream dominance was rivalled toward the later part of the decade. Disco appealed to a more diverse group of people and punk seemed to take over the rebellious role that hard rock once held. Early punk bands like The Ramones explicitly rebelled against the drum solos and extended guitar solos that characterised stadium rock, with almost all of their songs clocking in around two minutes with no guitar solos. However, new rock acts continued to emerge and record sales remained high into the 1980s. 1977 saw the début and rise to stardom of Foreigner, who went on to release several platinum albums through to the mid 1980's. Midwestern groups like Kansas, REO Speedwagon and Styx helped further cement heavy rock in the Midwest as a form of stadium rock. In 1978, Van Halen emerged from the Los Angeles music scene with a sound based around the skills of lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen. He popularised a guitar‐playing technique of two‐handed hammer‐ons and pull‐offs called tapping, showcased on the song "Eruption" from the album Van Halen, which was highly influential in re‐establishing hard rock as a popular genre after the punk and disco explosion, while also redefining and elevating the role of electric guitar.
[[File:|thumb|250px|right|Def Leppard onstage in Dublin in 2009]] The opening years of the decade saw a number of changes in personnel and direction of established hard rock acts, including the deaths of Bon Scott, the lead singer of AC/DC, and John Bonham, drummer with Led Zeppelin. Zeppelin broke up almost immediately, but AC/DC recorded the album Back in Black (1980) with their new lead singer, Brian Johnson. It became the fifth highest-selling album of all time in the U.S. and the second largest selling album in the world. Black Sabbath had split with original singer Ozzy Osbourne in 1979 and replaced him with Ronnie James Dio, formally of Rainbow, giving the band a new sound and a period of creativity and popularity beginning with Heaven and Hell (1980). Osbourne embarked on a solo career with Blizzard of Ozz (1980), featuring American guitarist Randy Rhoads. Some bands, such as Queen, moved away from their hard rock roots and more towards pop rock, while others, including Rush from Moving Pictures (1981), began to return to a hard rock sound. The creation of thrash metal, which mixed heavy metal with elements of hardcore punk from about 1982, particularly by Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, and Slayer, helped to create extreme metal and further remove the style from hard rock, although a number of these bands or their members would continue to record some songs closer to a hard rock sound. Kiss moved away from their hard rock roots toward pop metal: firstly removing their makeup in 1983 for their Lick It Up album, and then adopting the visual and sound of glam metal for their 1984 release, Animalize, both of which marked a return to commercial success. Pat Benatar was one of the first women to achieve commercial success in hard rock, with three successive Top 5 albums between 1980 and 1982.
Often categorised with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, in 1981 Def Leppard released their second album High 'n' Dry, mixing glam-rock with heavy metal, and helping to define the sound of hard rock for the decade. The follow up Pyromania (1983), reached #2 on the American charts and the singles "Photograph", "Rock of Ages", and "Foolin'", helped by the emergence of MTV, all reached the Top 40. It was widely emulated, particularly by the emerging Californian glam metal scene. This was followed by U.S. acts like Mötley Crüe, with their albums Too Fast for Love (1981) and Shout at the Devil (1983) and, as the style grew, the arrival of bands such as Ratt, White Lion, Twisted Sister and Quiet Riot. Quiet Riot's album Metal Health (1983) was the first glam metal album, and arguably the first heavy metal album, to reach #1 in the Billboard music charts and helped open the doors for mainstream success by subsequent bands.
Established bands made something of a comeback in the mid-1980s. After an 8-year separation, Deep Purple returned with the classic Machine Head line-up to produce Perfect Strangers (1984), which reached #5 in the UK, #2 in Norway, and #6 on the Billboard 200 in the US. After disappointing sales of its fourth album, Fair Warning, Van Halen rebounded with the Top 5 album Diver Down in 1982, then reached their commercial pinnacle with 1984. It reached #2 on the Billboard album chart and provided the track "Jump", which reached #1 on the singles chart and remained there for several weeks. The new medium of video channels was used with considerable success by bands formed in previous decades. Among the first were ZZ Top, who mixed hard blues-rock with New Wave music to produce a series of highly successful singles, beginning with "Gimme All Your Lovin'" (1983), which helped their albums Eliminator (1983) and Afterburner (1985) achieve diamond and multi-platinum status respectively. Others found renewed success in the singles charts with power ballads, including REO Speedwagon with "Keep on Loving You" (1980) and "Can't Fight This Feeling" (1984), Journey with "Don't Stop Believin'" (1981) and "Open Arms" (1982), Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is", Scorpions "Still Loving You", (both from 1984), Heart’s "What About Love" (1985) and "These Dreams" (1986), and Boston's "Amanda" (1986).
Bon Jovi's third album, Slippery When Wet (1986), mixed hard rock with a pop sensitivity and spent a total of 8 weeks at the top of the Billboard 200 album chart, selling 12 million copies while becoming the first hard rock album to spawn three top 10 singles -— two of which reached #1. The album has been credited with widening the audiences for the genre, particularly by appealing to women as well as the traditional male dominated audience, and opening the door to MTV and commercial success for other bands at the end of the decade. The anthemic The Final Countdown (1986) by Swedish group Europe was an international hit, reaching #8 on the U.S. charts while hitting the top 10 in nine other countries. This era also saw more glam-infused American hard rock bands come to the forefront, with both Poison and Cinderella releasing their multi-platinum début albums in 1986. Van Halen released 5150 (1986), their first album with Sammy Hagar on lead vocals, which was #1 in the U.S. for three weeks and sold over 6 million copies. By the second half of the decade, hard rock had become the most reliable form of commercial popular music in the United States.
Established acts benefited from the new commercial climate, with Whitesnake's self-titled album (1987) selling over 17 million copies, outperforming anything in Coverdale's or Deep Purple's catalogue before or since. It featured the rock anthem "Here I Go Again '87" as one of 4 UK top 20 singles. The follow up Slip of the Tongue (1989) went platinum, but according to critics Steve Erlwine and Greg Prato, "it was a considerable disappointment after the across-the-board success of Whitesnake". Aerosmith's comeback album Permanent Vacation (1987) would begin a decade long revival of their popularity. Crazy Nights (1987) by Kiss was the band's highest charting release in the USA since 1979 and the highest of their career in the UK. Mötley Crüe with Girls, Girls, Girls (1987) continued their commercial success and Def Leppard with Hysteria (1987) hit their commercial peak, the latter producing seven hit singles (a record for a hard rock act). Guns N' Roses released the best-selling début of all time, Appetite for Destruction (1987). With a "grittier" and "rawer" sound than most glam metal, it produced three top 10 hits, including the #1 "Sweet Child O' Mine". In the last years of the decade the most notable successes were New Jersey (1988) by Bon Jovi, OU812 (1988) by Van Halen, Open Up and Say... Ahh! (1988) by Poison, Pump (1989) by Aerosmith, and Mötley Crüe's most commercially successful album Dr. Feelgood. New Jersey spawned five Top 10 singles, a record for a hard rock act. Skid Row released their eponymous début (1989), reaching #6 in the Billboard 200, but they were to be one of the last major bands that emerged in the glam rock era.
Hard rock entered the 1990s as one of the dominant forms of commercial music. The multi-platinum releases of AC/DC's The Razors Edge (1990), Metallica's Metallica (1991) (often referred to as "The Black Album"), Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion I and Use Your Illusion II (both in 1991) and Van Halen's For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991) showcased this popularity. In 1992, Def Leppard followed up 1987's Hysteria with Adrenalize, which went multi-platinum, spawned four Top 40 singles and held the #1 spot on the U.S. album chart for 5 weeks, the only hard rock album to reach that position that year.
While these few hard rock bands managed to maintain success and popularity in the early part of the decade, alternatives to hard rock achieved mainstream success in the form of grunge in the US and Britpop in the UK. This was particularly evident after the success of Nirvana's Nevermind (1991), which combined elements of hardcore punk and heavy metal into a "dirty" sound that made use of heavy guitar distortion, fuzz and feedback, along with darker lyrical themes than their "hair band" predecessors. Although most grunge bands had a sound that sharply contrasted mainstream hard rock, a minority, including Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Mother Love Bone, and Soundgarden, were more strongly influenced by 1970s and 1980s rock and metal, while Stone Temple Pilots managed to turn alternative rock into a form of stadium rock. However, all grunge bands shunned the macho, anthemic and fashion-focused aesthetics particularly associated with glam metal. In Britain, Oasis were unusual among the Britpop bands of the mid-1990s in incorporating a hard rock sound.
In the new commercial climate many glam metal bands like Europe, Ratt, White Lion and Cinderella broke up, Whitesnake went on hiatus in 1991, and while many of these bands would re-unite again in the late 1990s or early 2000s, they never reached the commercial success they saw in the 1980s or early 1990s. Other bands such as Mötley Crüe, and Poison, saw personnel changes which impacted those bands' commercial viability during the decade. In 1995 Van Halen released Balance, a multi-platinum seller that would be the band's last with Sammy Hagar on vocals. In 1996 David Lee Roth returned briefly and his replacement, former Extreme singer Gary Cherone, was fired soon after the release of the commercially unsuccessful 1998 album Van Halen III and Van Halen would not tour or record again until 2004. Guns N' Roses' original lineup was whittled away throughout the decade. Drummer Steven Adler was fired in 1990, guitarist Izzy Stradlin left in late 1991 after recording Use Your Illusion I and II with the band. Tensions between the other band members and lead singer Axl Rose continued after the release of the 1993 covers album The Spaghetti Incident?. Guitarist Slash left in 1996, followed by bassist Duff McKagan in 1997. Axl Rose, the only original member, worked with a constantly-changing lineup in recording an album that would take over ten years to complete.
Some established acts continued to enjoy commercial success, such as Aerosmith, with their #1 multi-platinum albums: Get a Grip (1993), which produced four Top 40 singles and became the band's best-selling album worldwide (going on to sell over 20 million copies), and Nine Lives (1997). In 1998, Aerosmith released the #1 hit "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", which remains the only single by a hard rock band to debut at #1. AC/DC produced the double platinum Ballbreaker (1995). Bon Jovi appealed to their hard rock audience with songs like "Keep the Faith" (1992), but also achieved success in the adult contemporary genre, with the Top 10 ballads "Bed of Roses" (1993) and "Always" (1994). Metallica's Load (1996) and ReLoad (1997) each sold in excess of 4 million copies in the U.S. and saw the band develop a more melodic and blues-rock sound. As the initial impetus of grunge bands faltered in the middle years of the decade, post-grunge bands emerged. They emulated the attitudes and music of grunge, particularly thick, distorted guitars, but with a more radio-friendly commercially-oriented sound that drew more directly on traditional hard rock. Among the most successful acts were the Foo Fighters, Candlebox, Live, Collective Soul, Australia's Silverchair and England's Bush, who all cemented post-grunge as one of the most commercially viable sub-genres by the late 1990s. Similarly, some post-Britpop bands that followed in the wake of Oasis, including Feeder and Stereophonics, adopted a hard rock or "pop-metal" sound.
A few hard rock bands from the 1970s and 1980s managed to sustain highly successful recording careers. Bon Jovi were still able to achieve a commercial hit with "It's My Life" (2000). AC/DC released the platinum-certified Stiff Upper Lip (2000) and Metallica released the double platinum-certified St. Anger (2003). Aerosmith released a #2 platinum album, Just Push Play (2001), which saw the band foray further into pop, and a blues cover album, Honkin' on Bobo, which reached #5 in 2004. There were reunions and subsequent tours from Van Halen (with Hagar in 2004 and then Roth in 2007), The Who (delayed in 2002 by the death of bassist John Entwistle until 2006) and Black Sabbath (with Osbourne 1997–2006 and Dio 2006-7) and even a one off performance by Led Zeppelin (2007), renewing the interest in previous eras. Additionally, hard rock supergroups, such as Audioslave (with former members of Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden) and Velvet Revolver (with former members of Guns N' Roses, punk band Wasted Youth and Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland), emerged and experienced some success. However, these bands were short-lived, ending in 2007 and 2008, respectively. The long awaited Guns N' Roses album Chinese Democracy was finally released in 2008, but only went platinum and failed to come close to the success of the band's late 1980s and early 1990s material. More successfully, AC/DC released the double platinum-certified Black Ice (2008), while Metallica's Death Magnetic (2008) marked an attempt to return to the band's 1980s thrash metal roots. Bon Jovi continued to enjoy success, branching into country music with "Who Says You Can't Go Home", which reached #1 on the Hot Country Singles chart in 2006 and the rock/country album Lost Highway which reached #1 in 2007. In 2009, Bon Jovi released another #1 album, The Circle, which marked a return to their hard rock sound.
The term "retro-metal" has been applied to such bands as England's The Darkness, California's High on Fire, Sweden's Witchcraft, and Australia's Wolfmother. Wolfmother's self-titled 2005 debut album combined elements of the sounds of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. Fellow Australians Airbourne's début album Runnin' Wild (2007) followed in the hard riffing tradition of AC/DC. The Darkness's Permission to Land (2003), described as an "eerily realistic simulation of '80s metal and '70s glam", topped the UK charts, going quintuple platinum. The follow up, One Way Ticket to Hell... and Back (2005), reached number 11, before the band broke up in 2006. Los Angeles band Steel Panther managed to gain a following by sending up 80s glam metal. A more serious attempt to revive glam metal was made by bands of the sleaze metal movement in Sweden, including Vains of Jenna, Hardcore Superstar, and Crashdïet.
Although Foo Fighters continued to be one of the most successful rock acts, with albums like In Your Honor (2005) reaching #2 in the US and UK, many of the first wave of post-grunge bands began to fade in popularity. Acts like Creed, Staind, Puddle of Mudd and Nickelback took the genre into the 21st century with considerable commercial success, abandoning most of the angst and anger of the original movement for more conventional anthems, narratives and romantic songs. They were followed in this vein by new acts including Shinedown and Seether. Acts with more conventional hard rock sounds included Andrew W.K., Beautiful Creatures, and Buckcherry, whose breakthrough album 15 (2006) went platinum and spawned the single "Sorry" (2007), which made the Top 10 of the Billboard 100. These were joined by bands with hard rock leanings that emerged in the mid-2000s from the garage rock or post punk revival, including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Kings of Leon and Queens of the Stone Age from the US, Three Days Grace from Canada, Jet from Australia and The Datsuns from New Zealand. In 2009 Them Crooked Vultures, a supergroup that brings together Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones have attached attention as a live act and whose self-titled debut album reached the top 20 in the US and UK and the top ten in several other countries.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Hard Rock (Music)|
|Stylistic origins||Blues-rock, Psychedelic rock, Rock music|
|Cultural origins||Mid 1960s, United Kingdom and United States|
|Typical instruments||Guitar - bass - vocals - drums - keyboards|
|Mainstream popularity||Mainstream in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. The maximum peak of popularity was reached in the 1980s.|
|Heavy metal – Progressive rock|
|Back beat - Rock opera - Rock band - Performers - Hall of Fame - Social impact|
Hard rock is a variation of rock music with roots in early 1960s garage rock and psychedelic rock. The term "hard rock" is often used as an umbrella term for genres such as punk rock and grunge in order to distinguish them from the more radio-friendly pop rock genre. Many examples of this genre are: