Popular Music Then And Now

In 1961 Berry Gordy used a stable of artist and songwriters to create 3 1/2 minute catchy radio songs that were easy to dance to and made musical artist like the Temptations and the Four Tops huge Motown music became America’s music. The sound was simple “You can’t hurry love” and “My Girl” but the “Pop Soul” soon became Pop classics.

As America grew up so did the music from the innocents of the Turtles with “Happy Together” and the Association’s “Windy” to new music releases from Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary with “The times they were a Changing” and “Blowing in the Wind.” The War was on. Folk music and Rock music became the messenger and their lyrics became the message. For the first time Top 40 talked about social attitudes and events in the Country. In California it was the Beach and Surf sound with The Beach Boys and Dick Dale. In Detroit and New York it was Soul and R&B with Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder. And the guitar driven improvisational sounds of bands like Iron Butterfly and Jimi Hendrix.

The 70’s Sound.

American Popular music took on a reflective serious and thought provoking side. New songs were hopeful as in Simon and Garfunkle’s “Bridge over Troubled Water” and “Mercy Mercy Me” by Marvin Gaye. Moving into the mid 70’s Pop music came delivered on a 8 tracks players and cassette recorders. Ballads and Country songs made their way back on radio play list and Fm radio delivered the numerous styles of Rock music from the Psychedelic Underground, Acid & Punk to Country Rock music with vocalist like Van Morisson. According to, a new genre called Disco found its way to the charts and airwaves with dance crazed club music like “Boogie Fever” and “Dance Fever.” A night life blend of Funk and R&B that made stars out of Bands and musical artist that no one heard of before or after the 70’s.

The 80’s Sound

The eighties was the era a of the “Boss”, MTV and New Wavemusic (Talking Heads). Song formats left the radio and were broadcasted on cable TV by way of the music video. A Disk Jockey became A Video Jockey. Music told stories with actors and dancers. The radio formats for hit songs were changed from the 3 1/2 minute rule to big production videos. The music awards were the Grammy and now the MTV Awards. There were one hit wonders like Manilli Vanilli who looked great on TV but couldn’t really sing. Born on music television was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” U2 and Madonna. America traded in there Albums and 8 tracks for CDs.

The 90’s Sound

Rock music found Grunge in Seattle with the emergence of Rock Bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam who were enormously successful. Others followed like Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails who rocked the charts with the hard edge style. Meanwhile the Diva was born with Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Tina Turner who used big orchestrated musical arrangements to capture the Top hit songs on the Charts. Another new genre came about with Rap and Hip Hop breaking into the Top 40 play list. Raw and honest lyrics written about life in the Hood to the mainstream Pop culture. Artists named Jazzy Jeff and Dr. Dre wrote brutally honest lyrical stories that needed a warning label on the outside package.

Popular Music of 2000’s

American music did a turnaround with the reemergence of the all girl groups and the Singer-Songwriter. Christian Contemporary music, and a new type of Country music called Country Pop made top 40 hits. The last decade brought the world bands and performers like Destiny’s Child, R&B singers like Beyonce and Usher sort off throw backs to the early days of Pop music. Then the onslaught of the American Idol with Kelly Clarkson becoming music’s biggest fortune cookie. These days, hit music is delivered to a consumer’s personal computer by way of shareware and MP3’s, putting into question copyright issues that no doubt go on for while. Popular music is like a time piece, held in America’s pocket. It grows and evolves just as America does and can be taken out and looked back on to relish.

The Best Energizing Music

Whether it be down the gym or doing the housework, fast, pounding music can give even the laziest person the boost they need to push on. Here is a selection of artists that can give just that sort of musical medicine:

Aphex Twin

Something meaty to start with: Aphex Twin sorts the men from the boys. Insane beats that never settle, harsh vocals and angry bass pump the listener up so hard they might just explode. Careful with this one, it is definitely not to everybody’s tastes and requires a few listens to get in to, but if it clicks, it clicks well. Once the triple-speed rhythms settle in the listeners mind and the sinister vocals don’t sound quite so scary any more, there is nothing else like it.

Song to try: Come to Daddy

The Prodigy

Raised from club culture and underground punk, the Prodigy has a brand of music unlike any other. Unmistakeable and un-ignorable, the Prodigy takes simple melodies and rhythms and churns them up into a ferocious and terrorising mix, spitting vocals and howling instruments shredding speakers and ears for miles around. One of the first and one of the best, and not one to miss.

Song to try: Breathe


Add a very talented bass player and a love of fast, insane music (if it can be called that) and the outcome is Squarepusher. Branded, ‘Drill and Bass,’ Squarepusher takes a mix of garage, techno, drum ‘n’ bass, and random metallic noises, overlaid with ridiculously fast drums to create something quite special. Some of the songs are more relaxing than others, but most of it could wake up someone in a coma and have them sprinting around in no time. Brilliant stuff.

Song to try: Squarepusher Theme


A bit of dance to motivate always goes down well. And if dance is on the menu, then Faithless is the mains. Absolutely classic melodies that raise the roof of any venue and floor shaking beats with fantastic lyrics to top it off summarise Faithless perfectly, and every act after it is nothing but a second-rate imitation.

Song to try: God is a DJ

Rage Against the Machine

Heavy licks and aggressive vocals dominate this group’s music. With a heavy political stance motivating the band, this music has real energy. It is next to impossible to listen to Rage Against the Machine and to not leap about enthusiastically, so it is a sure-fire winner in the stakes of motivational music. Fantastic music backs the demanding vocals, driving the music on and energizing whoever listens on. There is only one Rage, and they demand to be listened to.

Song to try: Calm Like a Bomb

If motivation is what’s needed, then the reader should give these groups a try. They all demand a determined listener but all sparkle with musical brilliance when acclimatized to. And they will certainly stop anyone from dropping off!

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