Pop Music since 1960
“Pop” music is the term applied to popular song since the middle of the 20th Century. Pop music is eclectic, and often borrows elements from other styles such as urban, dance and country. Songs tend to be much shorter than classical instrumental pieces and the structure usually follows a verse/chorus structure. Ostinati (repeated musical phrases) in classical music are called “riffs” in pop music, often a catchy hook such as the start to Led Zeppelin‘s Whole Lotta Love. The tempo of songs can be either fast or slow and a wide variety of instruments (or none at all!) can be found. Pop Music really does cover a wide range of music.
Since the 1960s, there have been many influential artists who have become extremely famous because of the music they have created. Elvis Presley (an artist we talked about when looking at Blues and Rock’n’Roll music) was considered one of the first pop stars. He was around in the 1950s. The Beatles became the biggest band of the 1960s (and arguably, the biggest band of all time) writing songs that would become classics such as Help, Let It Be and Hey Jude. In the 1970s, Queen became extremely popular with their riffs and catchy hooks. Elton John was also immensely popular.
From the 1980s, keyboards and synthesizers dominated Pop music, helping artists such as reach the top of the charts. The late ’80s and ’90s saw the rise of boy and girl bands. Although these bands often featured members just singing, not playing instruments, they became very popular.
All of these artists will have inspired today’s musicians. One Direction, Little Mix, Adele, Pharrell, Kelly Clarkson, Newton Faulkner, The Shires. There are solo male artists, solo female artists, boy bands, girl bands, rock bands, country bands. Pop Music is a celebration of songs, many of which just have to be sung along to!
How would you define pop music? What do you think to some of the most popular songs of recent years? Who’s your favourite artist now?