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Music Genres Through the Ages

Journey through music

Music over the years has been a whirlwind of emotion, with every new genre breaking the mould of what we had ever heard of before. Throughout the ages, music has been used to express mood, and culture during the time that the music was made. Which is quite extraordinary.

All That Jazz

The 1940s brought about an era of jazz music, and swing was in full swing. The music of the 1940s was very upbeat allowing people to dance along with one another and really enjoy the festivities of the music. Believe it or not, the music was upbeat to lift spirits, the reason being was because people were enduring the pits of World War II and so they turned to music as an escape.

Rock is Born

Rock ‘n’ Roll and RNB were born in the 1950s. With the end of the war fresh on everyone’s minds, a new way of life submerged and so intense social change was the air that the world was breathing at the time. This is the time when Elvis Presley and the likes of Johnny Cash were dominating the musical space.

Oh, in the ’60s

There was an absolute band explosion during the 1960s, sounds along the likes of folk, surf rock, pop, soul, psychedelic rock, blues-rock, and even protest music were hard-hitting. Walking along the tightrope between commercialism and innovation were bands like; The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, and The Rolling Stones. Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Chubby Checker, and Jimi Hendrix were also big names that dominated that time. The ’60s meant that the Cold War was in full swing, the Vietnam war was still alive and kicking, and the Civil Rights movement was a daily struggle, and so the music of the time reflected such.

Disco, Disco

Roll in the 1970s and disco took the world by storm! This decade saw the end of the Vietnam War in ’73 as well as the end of the Space Race in ’75. Although Disco was the name of the game during the 1970’s we can’t disregard the growing presence of Soul, R&B, Pop, Soft & Hard Rock. Icons of the decade include Queen the band, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, and the Eagles. Although disco was very new, it was the trend of the time and so, to keep up with trends, many artists abandoned their usual sound to release a few hits that had a disco feel.

It’s the 80’s Baby

When we think of music in its best form, we reminisce back to the ’80s. Music videos and the rise of the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Prince, Cindi Lauper, etc, brought with them their own new flavour, we call that flavour Pop, Country, Punk, Hip Hop, and variations of Rock. Famous tracks such as Eye of the Tiger- Survivor, Billie Jean- Michael Jackson, Girls Just Want to Have Fun- Cyndi Lauper, Livin’ on a Prayer- Bon Jovi, Sweet Child O’ Mine- Guns & Roses, etc, all made their debut in the ’80s.

The Nineties

The ’90s was a hugely politically fuelled year; Germany was reunited after it had been separated for the last 45 years. Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. The Cold War ended. Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa in ’94. Princess Diana died in a car crash. Bill Clinton was impeached. We can take it as a sign of the times that the music genre grunge and gangster rap surfaced.


To be fair, we didn’t start this decade off in the best way, with the 9-11 Trade Centre attack. Throughout the 2000’s period, worldwide, there were nine earthquakes, of which four were in 2001 alone. Ok, but we are here to talk about music, so who better than Eminem to express our pain? I joke, but he was a big part of the 2000s along with artists like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Shakira, Avril Lavigne, Blink-182, and so many more. This decade saw Emo and Indie Rock become a thing.

The Past Decade

Que the royal wedding, Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot. Nelson Mandela passed away. The MH370 Malaysian Airlines plane went missing. Bring on the millennials with their ice bucket challenge for ALS awareness. Robin Williams takes his life. The diverse emojis were introduced. Same-sex marriage was legalised. Brexit. Another royal wedding, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Oh, and how can we forget the Covid-19 Pandemic? Here we go, Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and Hip Hop start flowing through our ears. From 2010 to now, how can we forget about Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus? Don’t stress, we had some amazing artists emerge too, like Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd, Sia, Bruno Mars, etc, you see, it wasn’t all bad.

Music Makes the World Go Round

After all this craziness, we can see that music doesn’t go away, it adapts. Music is what helps us get through things, it pumps us up or it feels depressed with us. Throughout the years, music, lyrics, beats, etc, have all expressed the times we are living in. Whether it was to distract from war, to celebrate wins, to voice heartbreak, to protest, to hype up a room, music was always there. I look forward to seeing what music is going to do for us in the future.

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