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The Wonderful History of Pop Music That Not Many are Aware Of

Pop Music History
Music can alter people's feelings, moods, and actions for the better. This piece here presents a timeline of pop music, one of the most popular genres in music.
Leena Palande
Last Updated: Mar 1, 2018
"Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." - Leonard Bernstein

In the history of music, the term 'pop music' was first used in 1926. It was used to describe 'a piece of music having popular appeal'. Commercially recorded music, consisting of relatively short and simple love songs is known as 'pop music'. It is associated with the 'rock and roll' style, often tailored for the youth market, that utilizes technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes. Music history informs us that the term 'pop music' originated in Britain in the mid-1950s and implied 'concerts appealing to a wide audience' or 'music that induced dancing spirit' or 'the non classical music, usually in the form of songs', performed by such artists as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Abba, etc.
Pop Music History Timeline
1956: Elvis Presley emerges as one of the world's first rock stars
1956: Elvis Presley
With so many hit songs, he was referred to as 'The King of Rock n Roll'. He is one of the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music.
1957: John Lennon meets Paul McCartney
John Lennon
In March 1957 John Lennon formed a skiffle group called 'The Quarrymen'. McCartney met Lennon on 6 July 1957, and agreed to join the group a few days later.
1957 Jul 9: The first official Quarry Men performance
The first "official" public, albeit unsuccessful, performance by The Quarry Men - they failed to impress when they auditioned before the promoter Carroll Levis.
1958 Feb 6: Paul McCartney invited George Harrison to watch the Quarry Men
According to George Harrison, the first time he saw the Quarry Men was at the Wilson Hall, opposite the bus depot in Garston, Liverpool.
Late 1950s: The English rock music group 'Beatles' was formed
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr were the members of the group. Most lyrics and music were written by Lennon and McCartney. The decade 1960-70 was dominated by the Beatles.
1958 Aug 16: Madonna is Born
Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone; August 16, 1958), is an American recording artist, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan and raised in Rochester Hills, she moved to New York City in 1977, for a career in modern dance.
1958 Aug 29: Michael Jackson is Born
Michael Jackson
Michael Joseph Jackson was born in Gary, Indiana (an industrial suburb of Chicago, Illinois) to a working-class family on August 29, 1958. The son of Joseph Walter "Joe" and Katherine Esther, he was the seventh of nine children.
1960 May 10: The Quarry Men become The Silver Beats
The well-known British impresario Larry Parnes was looking for musicians for his "stars", including Billy Fury and others. He wanted the musicians to accompany them on a tour of Northern England and Scotland. He listened to each Liverpool group and selected the best.
1960 Aug 12: Pete Best joins the Beatles
The group invited Pete Best to become their drummer. Four days after hiring him, the group left for Hamburg. Initially, they performed at Bruno Koschmider's Indra Club. In October, they moved to the Kaiserkeller and broke their contract with Koschmider. They accepted an offer from the rival Top Ten Club due to which they were caught up in several legal issues.
1961: American country singer 'Patsy Cline' becomes a mainstream pop music hit
Cline was the first female vocalist who adapted to the change and became a successful pop singer. "Walkin' after Midnight" (1957), "I Fall to Pieces" (1961), "Crazy" (1961), and "She's Got You" (1962) are some of her hits.
1968 Oct 17: Ziggy Marley is born
David Nesta "Ziggy" Marley (born October 17, 1968, Trenchtown, Jamaica) is a four-time Grammy-winning Jamaican musician and leader of the band Ziggy Marley and the Melody makers.
1972: Michael Jackson's first solo hit "Ben" reaches No.1
"Ben" is a number-one hit song recorded by the teenager Michael Jackson for the Motown label in 1972. The song, theme of a 1972 film of the same name, spent one week at the top of the U.S. pop chart. It also reached number-one on the Australian pop chart, spending eight weeks at the top spot.
1972 May 19: Rohan Marley is born
Rohan Marley
Rohan Anthony Marley (born 1972) is the son of late reggae artist Bob Marley and Janet Hunt. He is a member of the Rastafari Movement. Marley and the musician Lauryn Hill met in 1996.
1973: Karen Marley is born
Karen Marley, second daughter of Bob Marley, was born in England in 1973 but grew up in Jamaica.
1974: Michael Jackson introduces "The Robot"
During a performance on "Soul Train," Jackson introduced a dance called the robot, made of moves that were mimicked on dance floors across the country.
1975-83: Popularity of disco and hip-hop lead to the popularity of pop
The movie Saturday Night Fever was released. 'Disco Music' gained popularity. 'Hip-Hop' emerged as a blend of rock, jazz, and soul with African drumming in the New York City. Nonstop music videos were released by MTV. Cats began its journey. The debut album of Madonna "Holiday" becomes a hit.
1983: Red Hot Chili Peppers are formed
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Red Hot Chili Peppers (originally Tony Flow and the Majestic Masters of Mayhem) were formed by Fairfax High School alumni: vocalist Anthony Kiedis, guitarist Hillel Slovak, drummer Jack Irons and bassist Michael "Flea" Balzary. Over thirteen million copies of the record "Blood Sugar Sex Magik", produced by the band, were sold. The band gained tremendous popularity.
1983 Mar 25: Michael Jackson popularizes the moonwalk
The Moonwalk or Backslide is a dance technique that gained worldwide popularity after Michael Jackson, the King of Pop executed it during his performance of his song "Billie Jean" on television special "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever". It was considered his signature move. The technique helps create an illusion that the dancer is stepping forward while actually he is moving backward. It looks like as if the dancer is moving along a conveyor belt.
1984 Jan 27: Michael Jackson burns hair during Pepsi commercial
While filming a Pepsi Cola commercial at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, MJ suffered second degree burns to his scalp after pyrotechnics accidentally set his hair on fire. It was a simulated concert and this happened in front of a full house of fans. The incidence was heavily criticized by media. It arouse sympathy for MJ.
1985: Michael Jackson releases "Thriller"
The video "Thriller" becomes a classic and hugely popular.
1985: Britney Spears emerges as a star of the music world
Britney Spears
At age 8, she made her musical television debut on Star Search. In 1999, about 1,319,193 copies of "...Baby One More Time" were sold in the first week after release.
1989 Dec 13: Taylor Allison Swift is born
Taylor Allison Swift
Swift was born in the city of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. She is the daughter of Scott, a stock broker, and Andrea Swift, a homemaker.
1990s: Various famous groups made pop music more popular
Grunge rock was formed in Seattle, Backstreet Boys and Blackstreet were formed, the movie "Titanic" and the song "My Heart Will Go On," became popular.
1992 Sep: Radiohead releases their first single, "Creep"
"Creep" is a song by the English alternative rock band Radiohead, written by vocalist Thom Yorke.
1993 Feb 10: Oprah Winfrey interviews Michael Jackson
Jackson gave a 90-minute interview with Oprah Winfrey in February 1993, his first television interview since 1979. He could not control his emotions when speaking of his childhood abuse at the hands of his father, he confessed that he had missed out on much of his childhood years, admitting that he often cried from loneliness.
1994: Warped Tour first conceived
The Warped Tour was created in 1994 by Kevin Lyman, who got the idea while working on skateboarding shows such as the Vision Skate Escape and Holiday Havoc which included music with skateboarding contests.
1993 Feb 22: Radiohead releases first studio album, "Pablo Honey"
Pablo Honey is the first album by the English alternative rock band Radiohead. The cover features the baby Tim Coates, the son of close friends of the band.
1995 Sep 12: Red Hot Chili Peppers release 'One Hot Minute'
Dave Navarro's first appearance with the band at the music festival "Woodstock '94". The chrome metallic suits made it near-impossible for them to play their instruments.
May 1997- Jan 1998: The Time of Radiohead
Radiohead releases "Paranoid Android" single, "OK Computer", "Karma Police" Single, "No Surprises/Running from Demon EP", and "No Surprises". "No Surprises / Running From Demons" is an EP by Radiohead, released on 10 December 1997. Keeping in mind the Japanese market, the EP was released in order to promote their tour of Japan.
1998 Feb 22: "Coldplay" formed
The band finally chose the name "Coldplay" which was suggested by Tim Crompton, a local student who had been using the name for his group.
2001 Jun 1: Keane releases second single "Wolf at the Door"
"Wolf at the Door" is a song performed and composed by English alternative rock band Keane. It was thought that it would serve as a promo item and only 50 copies were made. It happens to be the rarest Keane item in existence.
2001 Sept. 18: John Mayer releases debut album "Room for Squares"
The album reached number nine on the American Billboard 200 albums chart. It can be called 'Mayer's best-selling album'. Over 4,308,000 copies of this album have been sold in the United States, as of July, 2009.
2002: Increased impact of television shows
Kelly Clarkson becomes the first American Idol.
2003: The popularity of Marshall Mathers
Marshall Mathers, known as Eminem, rapper of the evergreen "The Slim Shady LP" gained tremendous popularity. Eminem, the famous radio and video superstar, won an Oscar for the song "Lose Yourself," from "8 Mile". He was the first rapper to win an Oscar.
2003 May 12: Keane releases "Everybody's Changing" single
The song performed and composed by English rock band "Keane" was included in their debut album "Hopes and Fears", as the fourth track.
2006: Mat Kearney Releases "All I Need" Single
It was Kearney's first single and was featured on Grey's Anatomy. It was amongst iTunes top 100 downloaded songs. It reached #94 on the Billboard Pop 100.
2009 June 25: Death of Michael Jackson
Death of Michael Jackson
American singer Michael Jackson died at his home in the Holmby Hills neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. It was announced that the cause of his death was 'cardiac arrest'. He was treated by paramedics at his home, but was pronounced dead at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Factors that Helped Popularize Pop Music
The list above include just a few incidents from the history of pop music. There were and there are hundreds of music artists who have sold millions of copies of their albums around the world, the albums that have topped the charts and are considered as all time best-selling albums.

If you go through 80's music history, you will notice that pop music, throughout its development has been influenced by most other genres of popular music. Pop music picked up instrumentation from jazz and rock music, vocal harmonies from gospel music and soul music formed from the sentimental ballads, tempo from dance music, support from electronic music and spoken passages from rap. In 1950s television was introduced and visual presence of pop stars helped to gain more popularity. In 1960s, inexpensive portable transistor radios were introduced, which helped teenagers to listen to music even outside the home. By 1980s MTV favored the artists like Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna who had a strong visual appeal. Widespread use of the microphone, multi-track recording, digital sampling were the other technological innovations which were responsible for the increasing popularity of pop music. In 1980s, when video technique was introduced, pop albums gained tremendous popularity. Every region has its own history of music, the same rule applies to pop music too.

Though pop music had been dominated by the American music industry, most regions and countries have their own form of pop music. The American pop music history provides us information about the fact that the 1960s and '70s saw a number of important changes in the American popular music, for instance, development of a number of new styles, including heavy metal, punk, soul and hip hop.

Spread of Western-style pop music has been interpreted by people in different ways, as representing Americanization, homogenization, modernization, creative appropriation, cultural imperialism, etc. The history of pop music tells us about the general process of globalization.
Skater practicing
Tattooed female musician