Rock and roll is not a young man's game; it takes years of practice and dedication for your band to 'make it', playing gigs in seedy biker bars for little or no cash, purely for the love of making and performing music. It also seems that most bands who gain space in the limelight often don't stay there, falling in to the bargain buy CD bucket at the local thrift store or residing in the 'where are they now?' pile at many radio stations.
However, there are some bands and groups who have reached the top of the mountain and still have yet to fall to earth. Here we will take a look at three bands that still have much to offer the world of music and have fans that span generations.
1. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Affectionately known as simply 'The Chilis', RHCP have been a prevalent force in the rock music genre for 30 years, originally forming in 1983. Even surviving the death of one of their founding members in 1988, the band did not let drug addiction and the rock star lifestyle get in the way of their dedication, quickly becoming the voice of a generation of American youth who seemed to care little for politics and money-making and were more about living fast and dying young.
Musically, the Chilis fused many different genres together, primarily funk but also other influences such as punk and psychedelic rock and their live performances made them legendary. During their live shows, they jammed together as if they were still a small band playing in their garage and this love of simply playing music translated well with fans. This helped propel them to not only one of the most critically-acclaimed acts of the last three decades but also one of the most commercially popular, allowing themselves to chop and change between mainstream funky pop albums that topped the charts and introduced them to new generations of fans, and more eclectic and experimental albums which used strange time signatures and odd instruments.
They have become a massive part of music for the modern age, influencing many new bands we see today. They still command massive audiences and often headline huge festivals and while they have become big stars, they still seem to have the childlike love of music that first brought them on to the scene.
Bono, The Edge and the rest of the Irish band U2 have been together for thirty-seven years, forming in 1976 in Dublin. They started their musical life in a post-punk genre, using their countries social and political problems as lyrical inspiration. Ireland in the 70s was rife with political and religious upheaval resulting in terrorist groups gaining power and attacking the general public. The Protestant/Catholic war raged on while England watched it on television and knew little of the immediate threat the public faced every day. U2's popularity only continued to rise as the decades passed; their original post-punk style was replaced by a far more “poppy” influence, turning them into a more mainstream stadium-rock style band. With catchy riffs and Bono's unmistakable voice, they carried on releasing albums that pleased their older fans and drew in new, younger fans also.
Bono used his fame to highlight more social and political issues all over the world and it was his work with Boomtown Rat's singer Bob Geldof that gained him global notoriety as a philanthropist and charitable figure. In the 90s he continued to release pop tracks that have since become classics, still played on the radio today.
Whilst Bono has become something of a satirical figure in the past few years, his band still sells out stadiums worldwide and attracts old and young fans alike.
3. The Rolling Stones
The 'British Invasion' of the 60s saw a complete upheaval of the music scene. Mick Jagger, Keith Richards et al were at the forefront of a new wave of musical expression when they formed the band in 1962. Joining bands such as The Who and Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones were a huge hit all over the world. They were primarily successful in Europe before they broke the United States during an era of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Perhaps their popularity is down to the sheer volume of records they released - over twenty-two studio albums released in England alone ensured that the whole country knew who they were. This news travelled across the pond until Mick Jagger became hot property, perhaps the world's first A-list celebrity, eponymous with sexual promiscuity, drug use and the ability to command an audience with his incredible on-stage vitality.
The Rolling Stones' music itself was an urban blues style, with some of their sets consisting of songs by Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. They fused this blues style with a classic rock influence, turning them into something that no one had heard before. Their original fans still follow them avidly and are willing to pay up to £500 to see them live; they also have a novelty or kitsch value nowadays, meaning a lot of their fans are men in their early 20s looking to recapture that incredible vibe that the 60s offered.
If you have the dedication to your art, or a personality that could be perfect to lead a band, take solace in the stories of the aforementioned groups. It is not just dumb luck that these bands have made it; despite their somewhat wild lifestyles they have worked hard to get where they are and while the latter two groups on this list have reached retirement age, they are still at the top of their game. So do not lose heart if you are a great guitarist, brilliant bassist or a demon of a drummer, the rockstar lifestyle could be closer than you think, and it could be a lifelong quest for success!
Lucy loves music and wishes she could be a rock queen - check out the courses from BIMM to start your journey to superstardom!