Hard rock is a variation of rock and roll music, which has its earliest roots in the early-1960s garage and psychedelic rock. It is typified by a heavy use of distorted electric guitars, bass guitar, and drums. The term "hard rock" is often used as an umbrella term for genres such as punk and grunge in order to distinguish them from, the more radio-friendly, pop-rock genre.
Even though the genre uses a large amount of distorted sounds to exemplify the melodic and harmonic lines, hard rock creates a partnership with rock and roll and its variations so that extreme dimensions of sound can co-exist in a harmonious and cooperative manner.
The milieu of hard rock exists in partnership with other forms of rock and roll such as garage rock, psychedelic rock, punk, and grunge music in the art form of rock and roll music.
Hard rock became a template of society and reflected the views and moods of the younger generation. There were protest songs of the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s, which created a venue for civil disobedience and influenced the public attitude. Although many denied its negative impact, it enabled an accelerated use of drugs and alcohol among its adherents and fans as they attempted to achieve a stronger connection with the music. Although such usages are viewed as detrimental societal factors, hard rock became a unifying communicational device to show its dual purpose; to bring disparate groups together, and to separate them from social conservatism.
Hard rock really came into its own at the dawn of the '70s, with the tough, boozy rock of the Rolling Stones (post-Brian Jones) and Faces, the blues-drenched power and textured arrangements of Led Zeppelin, the post-psychedelic rave-ups of Deep Purple, and the loud, ringing power chords of the Who (circa Who's Next) setting the template for much of what followed.
Later in the decade, the lean, stripped-down riffs of AC/DC and Aerosmith, the catchy tunes and stage theatrics of Alice Cooper and Kiss, and the instrumental flash of Van Halen set new trends, though the essential musical blueprint for hard rock remained similar. Arena rock also became a dominant force, stripping out nearly all blues influence and concentrating solely on big, bombastic hooks.
During the '80s, hard rock was dominated by glossy pop-metal, although Guns N' Roses, the Black Crowes, and several others did present a grittier, more traditionalist alternative.
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