Genres Lost To The Passage Of Time

The Peepel skiffle band Millport 1957

We live in a world of absolute nostalgia for old genres. We have pop songs bringing back the funk feel of the 60’s and 70’s. We often have some bands that try and recreate the space-pop from the 80’s, and grunge bands still make sounds inspired by the early 90’s. But I’m wondering if there are certain genres that are buried under the amount of genres developed in the past 50 years, despite reaching popularity. Are some deserving of a second chance? Or is it better they stay buried?

It’s a bit beyond the fifty year mark but Doo-wop seems all but forgotten. For such a popular style at the time, it never saw any sort of revival once it died. An album here and there (like Cruising With Ruben & The Jets by The Mothers Of Invention) but nothing major. 5 part harmony is never really used in music and it creates such a haunting sound. I think the Civil Rights movement had a lot to do with it. Doo-wop was black music mostly produced by and for white people. Once music that represented the black community more authentically came around, Doo-wop disappeared.

Skiffle really hasn’t gone anywhere in decades. Lonnie Donegan – one of the main influences on The Beatles – continued to play skiffle well up until his death in 2002, but otherwise it isn’t really a genre that’s either been in the public eye since the 40’s/50’s or one that many even know about, despite it’s humongous influence on modern rock/pop as a whole.

Rock ‘n’ Roll itself is gone, supplanted by the much broader Rock genre. Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry & even pre-Rubber Soul Beatles is something rarely revisited outside of a nostalgia trip.

Hair metal ruled the world in the 80’s. Big hair, guitar solos and sappy power ballads were everywhere, and writing songs about sex, drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll seemed like the golden ticket to success for a lot of upcoming bands at the time. But with the exception of a couple of big names (Bon Jovi, Guns ‘n’ Roses, Motley Crüe to a lesser extent), these bands basically either split up or cashed in by touring on the nostalgia circuit. The hair metal sound as a whole hasn’t aged well. The Darkness’ mainstream staying power really was only limited to I Believe In A Thing Called Love & bands like Steel Panther pay tribute by being parodies of the era.

Although I’d say jazz fusion is alive and well in the jazz scene (Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, BADBADNOTGOOD), the actual fusion sub-genre that was big in the 70’s doesn’t seem to be much of a thing anymore. It’s kinda crazy to think about how artists like Weather Report, the Mahavishnu Orchestra & Jean-Luc Ponty were not only critically successful, but could also sell out tours like rock stars. A lot of people would consider Miles Davis’s albums from the late 60’s to be the catalyst for fusion coming together, but eventually so much fusion became musicians trying to one-up each other with ridiculously fast solos and the music lost its charm for most people.

90’s Europop is totally gone. All those cheesy pop songs in that same cheesy style – Aqua, Vengaboys, Eiffel 65 – there was a time when this style ruled the airwaves. Surf Rock also hasn’t really had much staying power either. Dick Dale is still a legend though. Finally, I don’t really see Minstrel and/or Ragtime coming back any time soon…

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