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Sleaze Roxx: Your 80's hard rock and heavy metal resource






First of all, let’s define hard rock. Also called “pop metal”, hard rock was created in the late 1960s. It takes its influences from rock 'n' roll and rhythm ‘n’ blues, going back to Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, without forgetting The Beatles, all artists influenced by American blues.

Already in the mid-1960s, bands like The Kinks and The Small Faces bring pop rock to a higher notch of “hardness”, adding distortion to the guitars. But, it’s truly with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Cream, Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin that one can start to talk about hard rock or “heavy metal”, with heavy guitars and a supported and dynamic rhythm section. Heavy metal will go on its way while dropping swinging rock 'n' roll to concentrate on the heaviest and darkest side of rock 'n' roll (Black Sabbath). On its side, hard rock continued in a more pop direction by preserving the “swing” of bluesy rock 'n' roll and the catchy choruses that are accessible to many people.

“Glam rock” contributed largely to the development of hard rock, putting in evidence the stage performance and the looks of the musicians. In the early 1970s, the most outstanding artists who will allow the genre to truly explode are Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, AC/DC, KISS and Queen.

Def Leppard will then come to make the genre more accessible than ever in the early 1980s and Bon Jovi will follow the same steps. In addition, a new wave of “hair metal” coming from Los Angeles, California will change the face of pop music. Bands like Mötley Crüe and Poison will present a deprived rock ‘n’ roll sound with excessive make-up, puffy hair and extravagant clothing. In parallel, groups a little rougher will make their mark anyway like Guns N’ Roses.

Hard rock lost its popularity with the advent of “grunge” in the early 1990s, a genre which was going to open the door to alternative rock. Years 2000 brought a short new life to hard rock, thanks to bands like Jet and The Darkness.

Hard rock generally covers light subjects (parties, girls, drugs, alcohol, fun, and so on). It’s a sound we have to listen to with the volume to the maximum. Long guitar solos also are an integral part of this music genre, which made it possible to discover many virtuosos of this instrument essential to rock 'n' roll. Another important characteristic of hard rock: most of the albums contain at least a soft ballad.

Other music genres have common characteristics with hard rock, but some obvious differences will make us not consider them for the needs of this website. These genres are heavy metal, punk rock, alternative rock, progressive rock and pop rock.

        Heavy metal: Darker and more violent lyrics. A heavier sound, often faster and less directly inspired of bluesy rock 'n' roll. Classic British metal (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest) is the sub-genre which is the closest to hard rock. One associates also often Led Zeppelin with it, even if we consider them here as the founders of hard rock.

        Punk rock: More political and anarchist lyrics. A rock ‘n’ roll sound going back to the basics, generally faster, without guitar solos or ballads, but especially less accessible. Pop punk and some more positive contemporary bands can be compared with hard rock anyway (Green Day, Blink 182, Fall Out Boy).

        Alternative rock: A post-punk sound with more social and political lyrics and more creative compositions, less centered on bluesy rock 'n' roll. Several artists present anyway many common points with hard rock, in particular by the energy they have (REM, Replacements, Pearl Jam).

        Progressive rock: More complex musical structures and many experiments try to give more artistic credibility to rock 'n' roll (Yes, Marillion, Dream Theater).

        Pop rock: A more accessible sound, less centered on rock 'n' roll and rhythm ‘n’ blues. It’s a sound which can reach many people (U2, Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen).

 The artists we can place in one of the previous categories will thus not be considered in this hard rock guide. You will be able to discover a complete listing of the hard rock bands and a presentation page will be dedicated to them containing a large amount of information about them. You will also be able to discover the best hard rock albums issued between 1965 and today. You will thus have a full portrait of the hard rock history, such as we define it here.

We wish you a good visit and pleasant discoveries. And don't forget to come back often to discover the new presentation pages added.

Richard Dion








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