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Arena rock

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Arena rock is a loosely defined style of rock music, often also called anthem rock, and the style of music is closely associated with "corporate rock". Arena rock is usually medium hard rock, but lacks the edginess or rage often inherent in heavy metal. Simple rhythms, acoustic/electric guitar interplay, and keyboards define the instrumental sound, and vocally the music is far closer to mainstream pop than most hard rock or metal.

In the 1960s, the tremendous popularity of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones led to the use of larger venues to accommodate audiences. The Beatles' 1965 appearance at New York's Shea Stadium is often cited as the first "arena rock" concert. By the 1970s, the ability to perform for huge crowds in sports arenas and stadiums became a prerequisite for rock stardom.

While many groups performed in massive venues while on tour, the term "arena rock" usually refers to 1970s and 1980s hard rock groups that occupied a middle ground between the heavy metal sound and the softer adult oriented sounds of country rock and the singer-songwriters of the decade. In the 1980s, the best-known arena for concerts was Wembley Stadium, although many arena rock bands had relatively limited success in the United Kingdom. Bands such as Boston, Foreigner, Journey, Kansas, Queen, REO Speedwagon, Styx and Survivor and performers such as Meat Loaf, Eddie Money and Peter Frampton directed their appeal to a young white American audience who favored bombastic, anthemic rock. Critics never favored these groups, and the phrase "arena rock" has long had a pejorative connotation, but their records sold in the millions.

The rise of MTV and new wave music adversely affected many of these groups, but some continued to be successful in the 1980s. Hair metal bands such as Twisted Sister and Def Leppard, in retrospect, are essentially a continuation of this style and sound. Indeed, even some heavy metal acts were able to break into the fold, most notably Metallica whose drummer Lars Ulrich was recorded as saying that they desired to "...fuck with the concept of arena rock" during their extensive stadium tour in 1992. This marked a change from the band's initial desire to shun "mass market" practices, but showed that as the popularity of a group increases, so too must the venue at which it performs. However, "arena rock" retains much of its pejorative meaning, as some popular "alternative" groups of the 1990s such as Stone Temple Pilots were tagged with this label by dismissive critics. In the early 2000s, Creed was similarly labeled.

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Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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