Originally consisting of any music that generally appeals to a subculture or wide audience, pop music has developed into an ever-evolving genre. Popular or Pop music is widely considered a reflection of cultural changes in the United States – and between 1960 and the 2000s, songs featured on the Billboard Hot 100 varied in styles and rhythm. Pop music has greatly contributed to the billion-dollar worth of today’s music industry.
It has greatly influenced the lives of many people, styles, TV programs, video games, and even the Internet. Nevertheless, you may ask, where did pop originate? What kind of songs were considered pop music back then? What does the future hold for pop music?
Pop music started many decades ago in America, and at the time, the term “popular” was not as cool as how it is now perceived today. During the early years of its development, the music started with the publishing of sheet music, a time when Americans typically used pianos for entertainment. As music sheets were used for the transcription of orchestras and symphonies, sheet music for popular songs became a trend throughout the U.S. But what was the greatest period in pop history?
In order for publishers to meet the demand for sheet music, they set up their own brands, looking out for talented composers who would print their music for sale – a trend that kick-started the music publishing industry we know today. As phonographs became a major music piece in the early 1900s, popular songs at the time also followed. Rather than relying on pianos for entertainment, families could now use record players to enjoy the exact duplication of musical performances. These recordings allowed just anyone to have access to music and enjoy same from the comfort of their home.
The introduction of phonographs into the music scene also resulted in the expansion of new markets in the industry. During this period, another form of music began to make its way into the U.S. Aside the pop music which surfaced through classical music, ballads, jazz, and even church hymns, a new music form developed by Black musicians in the South, East, and Mid-west, made inroads into the music scene. This, together with “blues”, another art form with strong base in Africa, helped to transform music.
The 1950s to 1960s: The Golden Era of Pop Music
Due to the popularity of blues and jazz among African Americans, these genres were easily tagged “race music”. However, despite the barriers that affected pop music at the time, the music industry continued to soar, and over time, the roadblocks between races waned. Artists considered as pop musicians started getting rhythmical inspirations from blues and jazz musicians, and by the early 1950s, this blend in the musical industry birthed the “rock and roll”.
Pop music would not be what it is today without the growth and evolution that took place during the 1950s to 1960s. Louis Jordan, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Ike Turner – pioneers of rock music ultimately became role models to more modern artists like Bill Haley, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Over time, superstars broke through the ranks and made pop music the phenomenon it is today. Icons like The Yardbirds, The Who, Cream, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Manfred Mann, and Led Zeppelin are among those who spearheaded the pop music as we know it today.
Pop Music Today and What the Future Holds
Today pop star Michael Jackson easily comes to mind. His successes in the industry rightfully earned him the nickname the “King of Pop”. Thanks to the efforts of pop musicians in the years gone by, Michael Jackson and other musicians like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, and Adele have recorded remarkable achievements. With the birth of more genres – from Heavy Metal and Post Grunge, to K-pop and Hard Rock, pop music continues to play a big role in today’s culture. While times have changed, the history, growth, and evolution of pop music has left an indelible mark of a generation of music lovers – and it will only get better from here.