The Evolution of Music Genres

Check out this infographic, which walks you through the evolution of several genres of music!

The Evolution of Music Genres

Every genre of music, whether rock and roll or R&B or any other, has gone through a growing process that makes it what it is today. The most talented artists of today are changing their genres now, just like the legends that came before them, paving the way for new concepts, sounds, and collaborations. Here’s here several of the top genres of music have changed over the years:

The Evolution of Music Genres
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  1. Rock and Roll
    1. Started in the early 1950s.
      1. Mixing African-American R&B with country music.
      2. Example: “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley
    2. 60s & 70s
      1. British Invasion introduced new sounds and subgenres in rock, as well as the emergence of soft and hard rock in the 1970s.
      2. Examples: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix
    3. 80s & 90s
      1. Metal became prominent in the ‘80s, where alternative & grunge took the scene in the 90s, changing to a more cynical tone.
      2. Examples: Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Nirvana, and R.E.M.
    4. Today
      1. Modern rock bands now tend to experiment with genre, mixing punk and pop in both the mainstream and indie worlds. 
        1. Examples: Blink-182, Modest Mouse, and Foo Fighters
  2. R&B
    1. Started in the early 1900s.
      1. Rooted in early jazz and blues
      2. Actual name of the genre not founded until the 1940s, characterized by guitar, sax, and piano.
        1. Example: Louis Jordan 
    2. 50s & 60s
      1. Most popular genre of the time. This genre of African-American music adapted to the civil rights movement.
        1. Examples: Ray Charles & Marvin Gaye
    3. 70s & 80s
      1. The high point of R&B and the point that started further sub-genres like disco.
        1. Examples: Isaac Hayes & The Jackson 5
    4. Today
      1. The 90s saw a shift to the mainstream with influence from artists like Mariah Carey and Aaliyah, changing R&B today for all audiences. 
        1. Examples: Rihanna, John Legend, and Usher
  3. Country
    1. Started in the 1920s
      1. Began as folk tales using instruments.
      2. Later in this decade, these folk tales were recorded.
        1. Example: Jimmie Rodgers
    2. 40s & 50s
      1. Honky Tonk & Nashville made country more mainstream.
        1. Examples: Hank Williams & Chet Atkins
    3. 60s & 70s
      1. Emergence of rebellion against commercialized country. This movement was called “Bakersfield Sound”. 
        1. Example: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson
    4. Today
      1. Major artists like Shania Twain turned the genre more mainstream with pop influence. Since then, pop remains an influence, but some artists like Chris Stapleton keep to the genre roots.
        1. Examples: Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, & Carrie Underwood