You'll Only Need 248 Rockstars And 64 Songs To Become A Rock Scholar

May 15, 2017

|Daniel Morales Olea

What are the elements a song must have to enter the lists of rock music? For many, it has to do with the harmony of guitar, bass, drums, and voice, but following that theory, should we consider a band like Coldplay a rock group? Many would immediately say no. The sound of this music genre is very fickle and depends a lot on the context. Some decades ago, it was related to hairspray and tight clothing, but later it came to embody rebelliousness and excesses. The truth is that this genre has so many hues that anyone can have a concept to relate it with. There aren't many bands who would consider themselves a "pure rock band," since most of them merge with other genres such as pop, R&B, funk, among many others. That's why any attempt to trace an accurate and complete history of the genre can be very problematic, as Jack Black proved in his movie School of Rock.

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As interesting as it is wide, the history of rock is a universe that may need a lifetime's devotion to be completely known. Although there are some people we could call experts on the genre (like Lester Bangs or Piero Scaruffi), there's no one we can really point as a true connoisseur. Maybe, as we're speaking a group of people might be creating the best band of all times in Switzerland, Angola, Argentina, or any other country in the world. But don't be discouraged. Even though rock is vast, that doesn't mean that studying it is futile. Actually, it's important to know the story behind the music that shaped the second half of the twentieth century and that's still a relevant reference of modern society.

Ithaca Audio is a British production company that creates original music for commercials, movies, etc. With clients like Guinness, they found a way to show their good taste, their editing abilities, and their love for rock and roll in a 14-minute video that shows the essence of the genre. This video takes us on a nostalgic journey to the past from 1957 to 2008. Using what appears to be a Facebook timeline, the history of rock starts with Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock." Then, many other musicians, who loved and were inspired by him, comment and give likes to his publication. Soon the video shows other groups and songs through mashups, and even when it's impossible to listen to all of them, it's easy to identify the 64 songs mentioned in the video.

Mostly following a chronological order, it's very interesting to see how important these bands were. During the first minutes of the video, bands like The Who and Led Zeppelin take over the screen. Compared with David Bowie, who only appears for a few seconds, Queen has several moments and interactions, even if Ziggy Stardust's musical trajectory was longer than Mercury's band. This shows what many might be thinking right now: that the compilation, more than being the complete history of rock, is a subjective representation of the creators' tastes. This is kind of obvious. It's impossible to be completely objective with this kind of material, but we can't deny that the video makes an amazing curated experience.

This summary of rock's history is an interesting tribute to this genre that many love. If you really want to understand the essence of rock, you should listen to all of these songs, one by one. Here's the list:

Elvis Presley – ‘Jailhouse Rock’
The Yardbirds – ‘For your Love’
The Rolling Stones – ‘Honky Tonk Women’
The Rolling Stones – ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’
Cream – ‘Sunshine of your Love’
Led Zeppelin – ‘Whole Lotta Love’
Led Zeppelin – ‘Good Times, Bad Times’ 
Led Zeppelin – ‘Immigrant Song’

Jimi Hendrix – ‘Hey Joe’

Jimi Hendrix – ‘Purple Haze’
Fleetwood Mac – ‘Oh Well (Part 1)’
The Kinks – ‘You Really Got Me’
The Doors – ‘Riders on the Storm’
Queen – ‘Don’t Stop Me’
Queen – ‘Radio Ga Ga’ 
Queen – ‘Another One Bites the Dust’

Queen – ‘A Kind of Magic’

The Beatles – ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
The Who – ‘Baba O’Riley’ 
The Who – ‘Eminence Front’
Black Sabbath – ‘Iron Man’
Black Sabbath – ‘War Pigs’
Deep Purple – ‘Woman From Tokyo’
Deep Purple – ‘Smoke on the Water’

Deep Purple – ‘Living Wreck’

The Eagles – ‘Life in the Fast Lane’
Aerosmith – ‘Walk this Way’
Aerosmith – ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady’
Alice Cooper – ‘I’m Eighteen’
The Clash – ‘Train in Vain (Stand by Me)’
The Police – ‘Roxanne’
Journey – ‘Don’t Stop Believin”

Dire Straits – ‘Sultans of Swing’

Duran Duran – ‘Girls on Film’
Duran Duran – ‘Wild Boys’
Pink Floyd – ‘Another Brick in the Wall’
David Bowie – ‘Let’s Dance’
David Bowie & Queen – ‘Under Pressure’
Iron Maiden – ‘Run to the Hills’
Def Leppard – ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’

Guns N’ Roses – ‘Mr. Brownstone’

Guns N’ Roses – ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’
AC/DC – ‘Back in Black’
Rage Against the Machine – ‘Bombtrack’
Rage Against the Machine – ‘Guerrilla Radio’
Rage Against the Machine – ‘Killing in the Name’
Metallica – ‘Enter Sandman’
Nirvana – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’

Nirvana – ‘Heart Shaped Box’

Oasis – ‘Supersonic’
Oasis – ‘Live Forever’
Blur – ‘Song 2’
The Verve – ‘Bittersweet Symphony’
Radiohead – ‘High and Dry’
Radiohead – ‘Idioteque’
Red Hot Chili Peppers – ‘Can’t Stop’

The Killers – ‘All These Things That I’ve Done’

Foo Fighters – ‘All My Life’
U2 – ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’
Linkin Park – ‘One Step Closer’
The White Stripes – ‘Seven Nation Army’
The Strokes – ’12 51′
Gorillaz – ‘Clint Eastwood’
Kings of Leon – ‘Sex on Fire’

Without a doubt, these songs show an organic evolution. However, this doesn't mean it was a natural one. Imagine if you were living in The Kinks' golden era and someone told you that decades later a virtual band called Gorillaz would become one of the main event of rock music. What would you say? In this time of ephemeral information and accessibility, using books to learn the history of one of the most prolific music genres is unprecedented. Some would even recommend watching documentaries or a video as self-explanatory as this one. So, how do you prefer consuming rock music?

You might find these interesting:
Historic Moments That Proved Rock Music’s Destructive Force
The Day The Beatles Had To Flee A Country For Insulting Its First Lady

Ithaca Audio

Translated by María Isabel Carrasco Cara Chards
Daniel Morales Olea

Daniel Morales Olea