Run-DMC

Run-DMC

By the end of the 90s, the melding of rock and rap music was a common occurrence, with bands like Kid Rock and Limp Bizkit at the forefront of the fusion. But credit for starting this trend lies solely with Run-DMC, whose inclusion of distorted guitars and slamming drumbeats defined the genre of hardcore rap, and created crossover appeal for the first time. Rap was no longer a mere niche, it was a formidable force to be reckoned with. Continue reading...

Saturday Night Fever

Saturday Night Fever

The term “ground zero” describes a point where an explosion occurs. Concerning the explosion of the disco era, few would argue that the catalyst was the 1977 blockbuster film, Saturday Night Fever. Cross-marketed with a musical soundtrack that is still considered one of the most successful of all-time, the film managed to send a significant portion of the population to the nearest dance floor, to boogie the night away just like the film’s character, Tony Manero. It also marked the film debut of America’s favorite sweathog, John Travolta, whose slick dance moves were soon imitated in every disco in America. For better or worse, the disco era had arrived. Continue reading...

Sly and the Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone

In the late 60s, perhaps the most positive change in the music industry was that age-old genre barriers were finally starting to crumble. The days of segregating the styles of rock, country, folk, soul and R&B were coming to an end and the result was an exciting new era of musical exploration. At the forefront of this melding of styles was Sly and the Family Stone, a group instrumental in defining, then refining, the funk sound. By infusing elements of pop, rock and psychedelica into a heavy R&B rhythmic foundation, the band created some of the most energetic and grooving hits of the era. And leading the charge in these defining times, was the creative talent of Sly Stone. Continue reading...

Sonny and Cher

Sonny and Cher

The singing husband-and-wife duo of Sonny and Cher emerged in 1962 and, three years later, landed a huge #1 hit on the charts with “I Got You Babe.” They followed with more hit records and in 1971, they decided to give the medium of television a try, starring in their first special, The Sonny and Cher Nitty Gritty Hour. The reviews were great and it wasn’t long before CBS was asking them to consider their own variety show. That same year, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour debuted as a summer replacement series. Within a year, it was an undeniable hit and a weekly staple within many of the nation's households. Continue reading...

SoulTrainFinal

Soul Train

Ever since its debut in 1952, fans of American pop music could tune in weekly to American Bandstand and keep themselves current on all of the latest artists and trends. But it would be almost two decades later before fans of rhythm and blues were given their own weekly outlet. They would forever owe their thanks to a Chicago DJ named Don Cornelius, the creator of Soul Train, for letting their voices be heard. Soul Train showcased all of the up-and-coming artists of the genre, put a spotlight on all the current dance moves, and, very quickly, became an enduring hit. Continue reading...

Spice Girls

Spice Girls

Nobody could have predicted the monumental impact of the Spice Girls on the world of pop music. Their achievements are, in a word, astounding. With 55 million records sold around the world, and that’s thanks to a mere three albums, they are not only the most successful girl band of all time, they are the most successful English band to emerge since The Beatles. But, while their music represents the largest portion of their fame, they also managed a popular crossover into both films and television, all thanks to the provocative personalities of these five multi-talented women. Continue reading...

Stray Cats

Stray Cats

In the 80s, musical styles were exploring strange new territory, with the inclusion of synthesizers and drum machines adding a mechanical texture and giving a glimpse into the future. But one band in particular, decided to look back rather than forward, going to their roots to forge a retro sound that harkened back to a simpler time in music, the rockabilly era of Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and the famous Sun sessions of Elvis Presley. With plenty of pomade in their hair, flipped up collars, and a simple instrumentation, The Stray Cats were a welcome blast from the past. Continue reading...

Styx

Styx

The emergence of “arena rock” in the late 70s, saw the rise of a number of bands that seemingly went from being completely unknown to filling stadiums overflowing with adoring fans. Perhaps one of the most successful in this genre was a group of five Chicago-based rockers who called themselves Styx. Talk about coming out swinging; the band would land four consecutive double platinum albums, the first band ever to do so, and quickly prove they were a force to be reckoned with. Continue reading...