The next generation of classic rock

By on September 19, 2007

Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and the Who. All of these bands come to mind when talking about the “Classic Rock” genre. But what happens when our generation is twenty years older and the songs we hear today become classic? Who’s thundering riffs, adventurous improvisation and memorable chorus lines will continue to cascade through the radio and into our ears?

Because of an influx of new genres: hip-hop/rap, country and even what is now known as classic rock, rock artists of today have faced more competition than ever for coveted record sales and radio air-play. As a result, any of our generation’s rock band’s song catalogues are destined to lack the hits that band’s like Zeppelin enjoyed.

This, coupled with the fact that music is becoming easier to make and distribute and even easier to access results in a talent pool that’s exponentially larger than during 1960’s and 1970’s.

Despite these over-arching disadvantages lined up against the artists of today, a handful stand out and appear to be more than capable of transcending their generation.

So which bands are capable of carrying the torch in what will be a sort of neo-classic rock? Here are five artists that you will still be hearing twenty years from now.

1. Red Hot Chili Peppers– From their 1991 break-out album “Blood Sugar Sex Magik” to 2006’s double-disc “Stadium Arcadium” the band has been doing nothing but making relevant music. With an arsenal of hits and high quality musicianship, RHCP won’t be going away anytime soon.

2. Green Day– Forget “American Idiot.” Before they took it upon themselves to warn the world about George Bush’s wrongdoings, they were churning out albums and songs that would go on to shape two generations of music lovers. For better or for worse, whichever title you give it, Green Day is largely responsible for a large portion of the modern day rock music scene.

3. Radiohead– Their sound has been overtly replicated many times over and with good reason. Thom Yorke and company have managed to re-invent themselves with each album, giving music fans of the future a varying library of music that is not common in modern music. Toss in what may have been the best album of the 90’s in “OK Computer” and it’s easy to see why they’re on this list.

4. Incubus– Other bands have been more commercially successful, but few enjoy Incubus’ pedigree when it comes to consistency in making quality records. Innovation is also key here, as the band has made their own signature sound. While formulating their sound from a variety of genre’s not native to the ordinary rock sound, the band’s sound remains distinct, another component of longevity.

5. John Mayer– Regardless of what be the general consensus about Mayer’s early mainstream career(“Room for Squares”), Mayer has managed to drastically change his musical persona and still remain relevant. Combine Mayer’s fan following with his virtuosic guitar playing and you have the making of a mainstay on rock radio, even twenty years down the road.


About David Westerberg