Is the Age of Rock ‘n Roll Dead? The Eagle’s Cry Investigates


Since the mid ’50s, the genre of rock ‘n roll altered significantly throughout each decade. Rock originated with famous musicians such as Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and more. However, many avid music enjoyers claim that there isn’t any good rock in this decade. Although rock ‘n roll has been a popular genre for over 60 years, are we still living in an era with authentic rock music? Or better yet, is the age of rock as we know it truly dead? The Eagle’s Cry interviewed music-lovers from BHS to determine this.

New and emerging rock bands in this decade are the main factor contributing to the question of whether or not rock ‘n roll still exists. While there are modern rock bands such as Greta Van Fleet, Larkin Poe, Void, and Dirty Honey, many believe that their sounds are “stolen” from older bands. For example, critics often accuse Greta Van Fleet of copying Led Zeppelin. However, Greta Van Fleet’s lyricism and thematic elements differ significantly from Zeppelin’s. So if the bands are completely different, why compare them in the first place? Well, the answer is simple: closed mindedness. Older fans of rock ‘n roll tend to have a very limited view of what rock is supposed to sound like, hence their tendency to compare modern bands with old ones. 

Mr. Malossi, English teacher and musician, believes that all current bands are inspired by ones from previous generations. He argues, “Everything is inspired by previous bands, that’s how it always should be. Chuck Berry was inspired by blues, Elvis Presley was inspired by Chuck Berry, The Beatles were inspired by all those acts I just mentioned, and it continues on and on.” Mr. Malossi then supported his argument and ended the conversation in jest by saying, “‘There’s nothing new under the sun,’ said Shakespeare.” Additionally, Mr. Malossi claims that rock music is definitely not dead because he, “…listens to it every day. There’s really good stuff coming out all the time.” 

On the other hand, BHS English teacher, Mr. Whittemore argues that good rock music is hard to come by nowadays. As a result, he mainly listens to bands from the ‘60s to the early 2000s. Also, he argued, “I think artists who are less concerned about how they look usually produce better music and their fans appreciate that more.”

But how will modern rock musicians be able to find their own sound? Mr. Whittemore mentioned the band Rage Against the Machine, explaining, “The guitar player [Tom Morello] learned how to use his guitar in a unique manner and people probably thought that everything leading up to that was just mimicking or plagiarizing some of their idols. He was able to find his sound. That’s 30 years ago so there’s probably somebody out there that can find something new.”

In addition, many rock musicians have their own opinions on the topic. In 2014, KISS bassist and singer, Gene Simmons stated, “Rock is finally dead.” This instantly caused a heated debate that continues today. 

Greta Van Fleet’s lead singer, Josh Kiszka was asked about Simmons’ statement in an interview with NME, a pop culture newspaper. Kiszka claimed, “Maybe the world of rock he remembers is dead…” He continued by arguing, “[Rock] is a very eclectic genre. It seems like every once in a while, a generation reinterprets what that is.” Evidently, Josh Kiszka was correct in the sense that rock music is altered throughout each decade. 

From classic rock to glam rock to grunge, this genre has taken so many different forms. So, claiming that rock music no longer exists is a very bold statement. Even though it can be difficult to discover new bands with an authentic, classic rock sound, that doesn’t mean that they’re not out there. 

Overall, I think it’s safe to say that Big Star’s Chris Bell and Alex Chilton were correct when they emphasized, “Rock ‘n roll is here to stay.”