Classic rock came along in the 1960s and shattered generations of mainstream conformism, in musical tastes and in cultural behaviors.
The genre pioneered a new movement of free expression for musicians and fans that emerged that lasted arguably into the 1980’s. Its legacy, however, has influenced generations of music to come.
Along the way, merely mortal bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones became legends, and their musicians became rock gods.
Some of these rock gods are still making and performing music today in case you missed seeing them live for the past 50 years. Here’s a list of them. And if you’re new to genre, prepare for a religious awakening.
In no particular order:
1. Paul McCartney
As guitarist and singer for legendary fathers of rock The Beatles, Paul McCartney’s name speaks for itself. The Beatles are often cited as the most influential rock bands of all time, as they changed they created a new standard of popular music in Britain at the time. And then they brought it to America.
McCartney still performs live with a fun energy and a smile on his face. He always seems to be having a genuinely good time.
He’ll be heading to Japan to play at the Tokyo Dome April 27, 29, and 30.
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2. The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones have been bringing that British Invasion sex appeal into classic rock since the 1960’s. The combination of Mick Jagger’s hip-and-booty shakes paired with Keith Richards’ pirate/bad boy swagger drives fans wild. Their music is funky, jazzy, and rock’n’roll by definition. The band has surely been keeping busy. They just released a new studio album called “Blue & Lonesome” in December. Though they do not have any upcoming tour dates listed online at this time, they don’t seem exactly retired yet.
3. Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton shook the music world with his true blues power of rock, bringing a depth of soulful emotion into his guitarwork that homaged early blues forms. When he would play, it seemed he was feeling the music through his whole body and mind and moving with it. The result was liquid music gold.
Clapton had stopped touring in recent years due to health issues, but he’s since announced 2017 tour dates.
He’s scheduled to bring that Slowhand back to the stage this March and May in New York, Los Angeles, and London.
4. Roger Waters
Roger Waters — Pink Floyd’s bassist, singer, and songwriter on many songs — is a quintessential pioneer of psychedelic rock, and of classic rock in general. Pink Floyd wrote and performed many songs about living in a society limited by constructs of “The Wall,” and they spoke to a generation of youth that felt isolated and disparaged from their conformist government, schools, and institutions.
Their songs are moody, politically charged, and sometimes experimental. And still they are beautiful and innovative works of brilliance that are fun to listen to.
Waters is scheduled to play at the Staples Center in Los Angeles June 20-21.
5. The Who
The Who incorporated the use of synth and early electronic loops into their rock to create an original sound. Their live shows packed a punch of energy that riled crowds, with guitarist Pete Townshend doing his iconic run and slide across the stage as singer Roger Daltrey would belt a sustained “Yeahhh” into the mic.
Their live shows still deliver that same high-energy rock that they did in the early days, and their songs evoke a sense of nostalgia for The British Invasion.
They’re scheduled to tour the UK this March thru April.
6. Robert Plant
Led Zeppelin’s vocal wizard Robert Plant has one of the most unique and coveted rock voices of all time, which along with guitarist Jimmy Page’s shredding guitarwork, has led the Zep to legend status. They pioneered a heavier style of rock, precursing the metal genre — and yet their music was dynamic, bringing in elements of folk and psychedelic rock.
Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, his new band, often tours now, with setlists including notable Led Zeppelin hits. Perhaps he’s used his wizard powers to keep his voice sounding primo.
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