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What Is Hard Rock?

Speed King

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#1
Since the topic will inevitably rise up, we might as well address it strait away. It's not as easy a question to answer as it would appear. It can be looked at from two different angles. The first is the literal definition, where as "hard" is an adjective to describe how rockin' the rock is. The other is from the genre point of view, where as the music conforms to a certain style in addition to being rockin'. Examples of hard rock from a genre point of view would be AC/DC, UFO, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin,...ect. But from a literal point of view, you only need to ask two questions,...."Does It Rock?"....yes!..."Does it Rock Hard?"....yes!....Then it's hard rock. Under this definition, many of the bands that aren't normally thought of as hard rock,...are. To further complicate the question, we have bands that are literally hard rock, but have primary genres such as Progressive Rock or Southern Rock. A prime example of this is Rush (early Rush). Rush started out as a strait forward hard rock band, a dead ringer for the hard rock genre. But only two albums later, they ventured into progressive rock territory. So are Rush a hard rock band or a progressive rock band? To me at least, the answer is "both". The same question can be asked about Lynryd Skynyrd or Molly Hatchet. Are they Southern Rock, or are they hard rock? Again, to me the answer is both. I choose to define hard rock from a literal point of view rather than define it from a strict genre point of view. This is why I've posted band/album threads on this forum that some would not consider hard rock.

Another consideration to the question, "Is it, or is it not, hard rock?" is the era in time the rock was recorded. If you look at the 1950's, the roots era, they had their hard rockers. Consider Bill Haley And His Comets, the song "Rock Around the Clock" was hard as nails for the 1950's, as was Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock", Jerry Lee Louis' "Great Balls of Fire", and Gene Vincent's "Be-Bop-A-Loula. Would these be considered hard rock now? no way!, but for the time period, they definitely were. People tend to judge music from a retrospective, today's point of view. With every generation, the rock gets harder, and the rock gets faster. The bar gets raised until you have what we have today, fifty different sub-genres for heavy metal.

There will always be some to where it's not hard rock unless it's the hardest rock the world has ever seen. I think these are the same people who eat habenro peppers and complain that "it's not hot enough for me". Every hard rock band from the 1970's made mellow songs from time to time. Even those listed above had mellow tunes (excluding AC/DC), Black Sabbath made some mellow music, and they invented heavy metal as we know it today. There are very few 70's hard rock bands who never made a mellow song, Motorhead, AC/DC, and maybe Ted Nugent are about all I can think of.

Bottom line for me, if it rocks hard, it's hard rock.

The views and opinons expressed above are solely those of the OP, and may or may not reflect the views of HRF.
 
Last edited:

Magic

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#2
The views and opinons expressed above are solely those of the OP, and may or may not reflect the views of HRF.



That is excellent sig material.


Great write up, Speedy.
 

Magic

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#4
I was questioning whether Molly Hatchet was hard rock. I'm pretty sure they are, and you just confirmed my thoughts.

Trying to decide "who is what" gives me a headache......lol
 

Lynch

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#5
Aside from a few select genres and sub-genres in mainstream, popular and/or unpopular music over the past 60 years, it's pretty hard to simply put 1 single tag on any given band or even sometimes on a given album.

There were some bands that I loved in the 80's that at the time I considered to be "heavy metal", but over time, I've looked back on them and decided that they are more hard rock than even any kind of "metal" much less "heavy". AC/DC would be a perfect example of this. The Scorpions would be another one (speaking of their 80's work specifically).

Personally, I don't get weighed down by specifics of it like I used to. I'm more into labels of "I like it" or "Don't really care for it" or "that sucks" as the labels of choice these days.

I like your closing SK:
Bottom line for me, if it rocks hard, it's hard rock.
:cool:
 

Oldhippie

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#6
I'm going to toss in another variable, Psychedelic Rock. is it a stand alone genre or does it get lumped in with hard rock. Couple of video examples, Blue Cheer and Bubble Puppy.



One more, I would be remiss not mention Frijid Pink


They could also fit into the Heavy Rock category. These guys rocked as hard as anyone out there but it had that twist of Psychedelia. I'm going to toss in a list of Psychedelic bands. There are some surprises.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_psychedelic_rock_artists
 

Oldhippie

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#14
I have my own category for the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Kip Winger, I’m so going to get my ass kicked for this, HouseWife Metal. For these ladies they are the epitome of hard rock. Which to them is true, I mean c’mon, guys like Lionel Richie and Michael Bolton.

DISCLAIMER: None of the ladies that frequent this board fall into this category.
 

Magic

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#15
I have my own category for the likes of Jon Bon Jovi and Kip Winger, I’m so going to get my ass kicked for this, HouseWife Metal. For these ladies they are the epitome of hard rock. Which to them is true, I mean c’mon, guys like Lionel Richie and Michael Bolton.

DISCLAIMER: None of the ladies that frequent this board fall into this category.
LOL. A friend of mine calls it "Pink Fluffy Metal". I like the Commodores....too. :love:
 

SiphonOfDestruction

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#16
It's okay, @Magic ... Your other impeccable tastes make up for your infatuation with Jon Bonny boy.

I think the last time I heard Bon Jovi was on the radio and my dad immediately turned off the radio, looked at me, and shook his head in disappointment.

"I raised you better."

I was in the wrong place at the wrong time... Please, don't label me as a Bon Jovi fan, dad! I don't want to be disowned.
 

Lynch

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#18
Fuk all'y'all! I love Bon Jovi (well, the 80's BJ, not much after that) ... as well as Winger!

:mad:


I will say though, Bon Jovi does not deserve to be in the RnR Hall of Fame. Then again, there are a few other even less deserving artists in there. But as a fan of everything they did in their glory days of the 80's, they have done NOTHING to deserve that induction other than winning a popularity contest.

And Kip Winger has composed a ballet or two (at least that many). How many rockers can boast that?
 

Magic

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#19
Thank you @Lynch

I was about to get out my blade and hurt them boys for hatein on Bon Jovi.

I didn't know Kip had composed a ballet. Learn something every day.
 

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