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Does today's rock and roll music really rock?
Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Deep Purple, and The Eagles are legendary 'Rock and Roll' bands that set the music world on fire when they set the standard in the '70s and '80s. Songs of that generation are still fresh in our minds, as if played overnight. The bands of today stand nowhere close to these legendary names in the music industry.

JONATHAN VIVIAN who works in Hyderabad, loves Rock and Roll music. His cozy room's walls in his home town, Darjeeling, during '70s and '80s, were taped with rock and roll bands posters – a prized possession those days, second hand music magazines, and a legendary cassette collection, which he used to showcase as ever finding treasures has indeed become a thing of the past now.

He belonged to the era of great Rock and Roll bands such as Rolling Stones, Def Leppard, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, just to name a few. Jonathan explains how he fell in love with such bands, “Aah (takes a long pause) the simple plucking of the guitar, the never ending high pitch vocal graduated me to Rock and Roll music from other genres of music.”

But the current generation who has been caught up with Justin Bieber and other over-rated artists may not even understand what rock and roll actually means, but diehard fans of rock and roll music even today will always remain loyal to its genre of music.

One such fan, Prawesh Chettri from Hyderabad, whose all-time favourite band remains to be Led Zeppelin said, “I do not follow any of the current artists. I only listen to music of the 70s and 80s which has meaningful lyrics.” Led Zeppelin also found a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.

While Nishant Lama, vocalist for Alter Ego in Bangalore attempts to define rock and roll, which may vary from person to person, said, “Rock and Roll bands are defined by catchy lines (lyrics), a strong repetitive beat; blues scale melody and a distinct electric guitar sound. The bands that primarily play this type of music are categorized as Rock and Roll bands.”

Indeed, it was the lyrics during that era, which are right up there in terms of being raw and melodic - and then there were the amazing vocals - bringing pleasure to audiences world over. Vivas Anand Parashar from Delhi, who has sung in some pubs and small concerts, loves Lyknrd Skynrd for the same reason - lyrics. “Their lyrics are like water, as there is no complication, it gets dissolved very easily. Their songs are like a mirror to me, which also reflects my life and personality.”

It is due to smooth lyrics, musical chords, simple vocals, and beats that has made some songs of that era evergreen such as We will Rock You by Queen, Hotel California by The Eagles, Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, Hey Jude by Beatles, Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynrd, are just few among a list of hundreds, which can be leveled as evergreen songs. The song Hotel California was one of the biggest hits during that era. The name of the album, Hotel California, which was Eagles' fifth album of their illustrious career, and also the first album without their founding member, Bernie Leadon.

One has no right to be called as a rock and roll lover, if he is stranger to any of the above mentioned songs. Nishant Lama adds, “The music from the 70s and 80s set new trends and standards. Their music was unadulterated and most of the bands that clicked, came out with something that didn't resemble any other type of music. The pure new sounds captured the imagination of the listeners and hence spread like wildfire.” On the same lines, Nishath Nizar from Kerala, who considers The Eagles as his favourite all time Rock and Roll band said, “Bands from the 70s and the 80s are never going to fade away and they are going to remain evergreen. You never get bored with music hits from that era.”

The kind of music that has been dominating the music industry of late embarrasses the riches of the 70s and 80s, which has set high standards for upcoming artists. Those born in that era ridicule the songs of today that is brought to the market for commercial purposes, also due to the presence of visual media, which was absent in the past. With the advent of technology, it has become so easy for songs to be duplicated as per their choice – there is a lot of auto-tuning these days, where there is also a lot of post-production work. It has brought down the originality level of the music produced to a minimal point.

Nishath Nizar dislikes the music of today, which ardent rock and roll fans laugh at. He said, “It (music) is nonsense nowadays. There needs to be poetry in music”. Bob Seger song would be apt in this scenario, where one of his song lyrics read, 'I'll sit and listen to 'em by myself, Today's music ain 't got the same soul, I like that old time rock 'n' roll, Don't try to take me to a disco, You'll never even get me out, In ten minutes I'll be late for the door, I like that old time rock 'n' roll'.

One also has to agree that the current generation produces more songs in quantity not quality. May be the amount of songs that hits the market stands are 100 times more in quantity than the past, where it was sold at a premium rate - not everyone got the opportunity to listen to those, as it was not readily available. Only those who understood the real meaning of music bought those records home, even if it meant doing extra hours of work post office hours to lay hands on those records. Stefan Deschuitenner born and brought up in Belgium said, “Those albums in the 70s and the 80s had to be purchased (not online) and it became world famous. Today, there are too many options as people can also easily download from the internet as well.”

In spite of such changes some people like Nishant stays optimistic about the future of music and expects great music and musicians in the coming generations as well, same as that of the rock and roll era of '70s and '80s. He adds, “Music isn't a science. It's a wide open space for the creative mind. There is always scope for great music that can change the world and create history in its own rights.”

Long live Rock and Roll!

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