Rock is Still Here to Stay


As I am 61 years old, it should come as no surprise that I am a a fan of what’s called “classic rock.” From the first time I saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, rock’n’roll music has been the primary skein in my personal and professional life. So it’s with both pride and satisfaction – as well as thanks to my editor here for allowing me to engage in some shameless self-promotion – that I let my regular readers at The Progressive Populist know about my new venture: editor of a recently-launched web publication:

We define “classic rock” as the rock’n’roll created from the 1960s (first powered by The Beatles and the British Invasion) into the early 1990s (when the last new rock trend of grunge reinvigorated the music) along with more recent acts like The Black Keys and Kings of Leon as well as newcomers like The Strypes. And though the name says “bands,” solo artists also fall under our purview.

Some – especially younger folks – scornfully refer to such music as “Dad Rock.” But as I am not a dad (at least not yet; there is still time...), I mostly laugh that one off. Yes, it is largely the music of the Baby Boomer generation (hence some of you Populist readers might enjoy pointing your browser our way). But it’s hardly music that has lost its relevance and power over time. The best of it even sounds better than ever to me. Like my Baby Boomer peers, it has aged well yet not lost its youthfulness.

The media and the Internet these days are largely focused on today’s new music. I must confess with certain notable exceptions that I am unimpressed with much of it. The reason why is simple: the greatest classic rock music (and allied genres like soul) set standards of quality for me when it came to songwriting and musicality as well as meaning and depth. I don’t think I am being a grumpy oldster when I decry how too much of today’s popular music just doesn’t measure up.

My partner in the site and co-founder/CEO Greg Brodsky immediately agreed the first time we talked about what was initially his idea – albeit one that paralleled thoughts I had – that (as there should be with any startup) there was a market gap ready to be filled. The decline of the record business and print publications precipitated by the Internet led to the near-death of the rock music magazine. Yeah, Rolling Stone still survives, but its attention has turned to pop cultural tripe like the Kardashians and today’s largely (IMO) dreadful so-called country music created by the Nashville record biz.

We also believe there is still a substantial audience interested in reading quality music journalism and criticism. And the need for a comprehensive web-based resource that offers fans of the music all they might be interested in knowing about it both in the past and today.

Not long after we began developing the site, we received some encouraging news that we are on the right track. The Nielsen Soundscan service that tracks recorded music sales determined that the best-selling genre is rock music. The still robust live concert business is rife with classic rock acts out on tour, playing everywhere from arenas to clubs. Plus the Dad Rock set has kids (and in some cases grandkids), a good number of whom grew up with and appreciate the music their parents love.

Classic rock changed not just music and popular culture but also the world-at-large in ways that are incalculable. It had a profound affect on politics. That’s how powerful it was and remains.

We aim to tap into that power and utilize the potential of digital media to help keep that spirit and rock music that really matters alive. And I hope some of you will visit our site, maybe bookmark it and become regular readers. After all, rock’n’roll is still here to stay.

Rob Patterson is a music and entertainment writer in Austin, Texas. Email

From The Progressive Populist, August 1, 2015

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