|Other names||Baroque rock|
|Cultural origins||1960s, United Kingdom and United States|
Baroque pop (sometimes called baroque rock) is a fusion genre that combines rock music with particular elements of classical music.It emerged in the mid 1960s as artists pursued a majestic, orchestral sound and is identifiable for its appropriation of Baroque compositional styles (contrapuntal melodies and functional harmony patterns) and dramatic or melancholic gestures. Harpsichords figure prominently, while oboes, French horns, and string quartets are also common.
Although harpsichords had been deployed for a number of pop hits since the 1940s, starting in the 1960s, some record producers increasingly placed the instrument in the foreground of their arrangements.Inspired partly by the Beatles' song "In My Life" (1965), various groups were incorporating baroque and classical instrumentation by early 1966. The term "baroque rock" was coined in promotional material for the Left Banke, who used harpsichords and violins in their arrangements and whose 1966 song "Walk Away Renée" exemplified the style.
Baroque pop's mainstream popularity faded by the 1970s, partially because punk rock, disco and hard rock took over; nonetheless, music was still produced within the genre's tradition.Philadelphia soul in the 1970s and chamber pop in the 1990s both incorporated the spirit of baroque pop while the latter contested much of the time's low fidelity musical aesthetic.
In classical music, the term "Baroque" is used to describe the art music of Europe approximately between the years 1600 and 1750, with some of its most prominent composers including J. S. Bach and Antonio Vivaldi.Much of the instrumentation of baroque pop is akin to that of the late Baroque period or the early Classical period, chronologically defined as the period of European music from 1690 to 1760 and stylistically defined by balanced phrases, clarity and beauty.
Baroque pop, stylistically, fuses elements of rock with classical music, often incorporating layered harmonies, strings, and horns to achieve a majestic, orchestral sound.Its prominent characteristics are the use of contrapuntal melodies and functional harmony patterns. It was intended to be a more serious and mature outgrowth of rock music. Journalist Bob Stanley uses the term "English baroque" to describe a subset that existed between 1968 and 1973, after the genre's more widespread presence in rock and pop. "Baroque rock" may be invoked as a synonym of "baroque pop" or as its own distinct term.
The Boston Globe 's Matthew Guerrieri credits the origins of baroque pop to American pop musicians and record producers like Phil Spector and the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson placing the harpsichord in the foreground of their arrangements. Harpsichords were widely available in recording studios, and had been used in popular music since as early as the 1940s, but the instrument did not gain prominence until the 1960s. One of the first pop rock hits to use a harpsichord was the Jamies' "Summertime, Summertime" (1958). Later examples cited by Guerrieri range from the Beach Boys' "I Get Around" (1964) and "When I Grow Up (To Be a Man)" (1965) to the Righteous Brothers "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (1964) and the Mamas & the Papas' "Monday, Monday" (1966). Guerrieri speculates that the harpsichord may have been desirable for its buzzing, stinging timbre, which suited "the treble-heavy pop soundscape" of the time.
The 1964 single "She's Not There" by the English band the Zombies marked a starting point for baroque pop, according to Stanley. He writes that the song "didn't feature any oboes but stuck out rather dramatically in 1964, the year of 'You Really Got Me' and 'Little Red Rooster'", and its refined qualities were emphasised by singer Colin Blunstone having an enunciation that was "pure St Albans grammar".
Along with Burt Bacharach, Spector melded pop music with classical elements before they were combined with rock. 's Forrest Wickman credits the Beatles' producer, George Martin, along with Paul McCartney and Wilson, as some of the men "most responsible" for the move into baroque pop.Music historian Andrew Grant Jackson states that "the era of baroque pop", in which "rock melded with classical elements", began with the Rolling Stones' "Play with Fire" (February 1965) and Brian Wilson's work on The Beach Boys Today! (March 1965). In Jackson's view, baroque pop and chamber pop were one and the same. Slate
Author Bernard Gendron says that, further to American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein's public approval of the band's music, the Beatles were feted in the "art-music world" in the summer of 1965 through the arrival of "'Beatles à la Baroque' or more generically 'baroque rock'".He also writes that since this phenomenon preceded the release of Beatles recordings such as "Yesterday" (which used a baroque-style string quartet), it is likely that the band did not instigate the link between their music and its classical components, but were in fact responding to classical and baroque readings of their work. These readings also included the 1965 album The Baroque Beatles Book , where their songs were reimagined in a tongue-in-cheek Baroque setting.
A classically trained musician, Martin played what sounded like a baroque harpsichord solo on the Beatles' "In My Life", released on their December 1965 album Rubber Soul .Author Joe Harrington comments that due to the Beatles' influence in all areas of pop music's development, "In My Life" led to the arrival of "baroque-rock". Producer Tommy LiPuma recalled that "Once the Beatles featured that harpsichord sound on 'In My Life,' pop producers began working it in."
The genre originated in the United Kingdom and the United States.By early 1966, further to Rubber Soul, various groups began using baroque and classical instrumentation, described as a "baroque rock" movement by Gendron. Among these recordings was the Rolling Stones' "Lady Jane". The popularity of harpsichords in pop, rock and soul arrangements at this time reflected a desire for unusual sounds and, in the case of many American producers, a sought-for association with the retrospective focus that informed London's fashion scene and the psychedelic music scene there.
The Zombies' "She's Not There", together with a predilection for all things British through the Beatles' international success, inspired New York musician Michael Brown to form the Left Banke. Stanley considers the band's "Walk Away Renée" (1966) to be the first recognizable baroque pop single."Baroque rock" was the label devised by the Left Banke's publicists and the music press. According to music critic Richie Unterberger, "the sobriquet may have been ham-fisted, but certainly there were many Baroque elements in the Left Banke's pop—the stately arrangements, the brilliant use of keyboards and harpsichords, the soaring violins, and the beautiful group harmonies." The band's follow-up single, "Pretty Ballerina", continued their absorption in the genre. Guitarist Rick Brand later described their lyrics as "rather self-consciously beautiful musical whimsy, as you find in the latter 18th-century Romantic music, pre-Beethoven".
Although the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds (1966) has been advanced in later years as baroque pop and the first example of the genre, no contemporary press material referred to the album as "baroque", and instead commentators focused on the album's "progressive" traits. 's Jim Beckerman deems "baroque rock" in the same "retro instrumentation and elegant harmonies" vein as the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" (1966) and Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967).Baroque instrumentation featured specifically on the album's "God Only Knows", a song that The Record
Gendron's "baroque rock" examples include "Walk Away Renée" with Spanky and Our Gang's "Sunday Will Never Be the Same" (1967), and the Stone Poneys' "Different Drum" (1967) – all of which used harpsichord and strings – and the Rolling Stones' "Lady Jane" (harpsichord and dulcimer) and the Lovin' Spoonful's "Rain on the Roof" (1967, harpsichord-sounding guitars).Music journalist Steve Smith highlights the Moody Blues and Procol Harum as "major practitioners" of baroque pop. He recognizes "For No One", "She's Leaving Home" and "Piggies" as other examples of the Beatles' forays in the genre, and "Ride On, Baby" and "Ruby Tuesday" as further examples of the Rolling Stones' baroque pop.
According to Stanley, the period of sustained commercial success for pop and rock recordings with harpsichords and string quartets climaxed with the Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band , "which mixed everyday lyrics with music hall and Edwardiana to create lysergically enhanced parlour music".At this time, the development in musical arrangements presented by baroque pop was challenged by the breakthrough of psychedelic rock bands from the San Francisco scene. In a climate equally informed by political radicalism in 1968, Stanley writes, "English baroque" continued as a combined simulacrum of the Zombies' album Odessey and Oracle (1968), McCartney's contributions to The Beatles (1968), Honeybus' single "I Can't Let Maggie Go" (1968), Scott Walker's chamber pop, and Crosby, Stills & Nash vocal harmonies. English baroque survived into the early 1970s, as record labels sought to capitalize on the singer-songwriter phenomenon by offering lavish string arrangements to unknowns. Among these artists were Nick Drake and individual members of Honeybus.
The "quaintness" of baroque pop and the use of violins and classical guitar became the target of parody at the end of the psychedelic era.In the 1990s, chamber pop derived from the "spirit" of baroque pop, characterized by an infusion of orchestral arrangements or classical style composition. It originated as a response to the lo-fi production that dominated in the 1990s. Between the 1990s and 2010s, baroque pop enjoyed a revival with bands like the Divine Comedy and Panic! at the Disco.
Psychedelic rock, also referred to as psychedelia, is a diverse style of rock music inspired, influenced, or representative of psychedelic culture, which is centred on perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. The music is intended to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. Many psychedelic groups differ in style, and the label is often applied spuriously.
Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that generally reflects a challenging or avant-garde approach to rock, or which makes use of modernist, experimental, or unconventional elements. Art rock aspires to elevate rock from entertainment to an artistic statement, opting for a more experimental and conceptual outlook on music. Influences may be drawn from genres such as experimental rock, avant-garde music, classical music, and jazz.
Help! is the fifth studio album by the English rock band the Beatles and the soundtrack to their film of the same name. It was released on 6 August 1965. Seven of the fourteen songs, including the singles "Help!" and "Ticket to Ride", appeared in the film and took up the first side of the vinyl album. The second side included "Yesterday", the most-covered song ever written. The album was met with favourable critical reviews and topped the Australian, German, UK and US charts.
Rubber Soul is the sixth studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released on 3 December 1965 in the United Kingdom, on EMI's Parlophone label, accompanied by the non-album double A-side single "Day Tripper" / "We Can Work It Out". The original North American release, issued by Capitol Records, contains ten of the fourteen songs and two tracks withheld from the band's Help! album. Rubber Soul met with a highly favourable critical response and topped sales charts in Britain and the United States for several weeks.
Pet Sounds is the 11th studio album by the American rock band the Beach Boys, released May 16, 1966 on Capitol Records. It was initially met with a lukewarm critical and commercial response in the U.S., peaking at number 10 on Billboard's Top LPs chart. In the UK, the album was lauded by critics and reached number 2 on the Top 40 Albums Chart, remaining in the top ten for six months. Promoted there as "the most progressive pop album ever", Pet Sounds garnered recognition for its ambitious production, sophisticated music, and emotional lyric content. It is considered to be among the most influential albums in music history.
Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock emerged from the folk music revival and the influence that the Beatles and other British Invasion bands had on members of that movement. Performers such as Bob Dylan and the Byrds—several of whose members had earlier played in folk ensembles—attempted to blend the sounds of rock with their pre-existing folk repertoire, adopting the use of electric instrumentation and drums in a way previously discouraged in the U.S. folk community. The term "folk rock" was initially used in the U.S. music press in June 1965 to describe the Byrds' music.
Power pop is a form of pop rock based on the early music of bands such as the Who, the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Byrds. It originated in the mid-1960s as young music fans began to rebel against the emerging pretensions of rock music and developed mainly among American musicians who came of age during the British Invasion. The genre typically incorporates melodic hooks, vocal harmonies, an energetic performance, and "happy"-sounding music underpinned by a sense of yearning, longing, or despair.
The Left Banke was an American baroque pop band, formed in New York City in 1965. They are best remembered for their two U.S. hit singles, "Walk Away Renée" and "Pretty Ballerina". The band often used what the music press referred to as "baroque" string arrangements, which led to their music being variously termed as "Bach-rock" or "baroque rock". The band's vocal harmonies borrowed from contemporaries such as the Beatles, the Zombies and other British Invasion groups.
Raga rock is rock or pop music with a pronounced Indian influence, either in its construction, its timbre, or its use of Indian musical instruments, such as the sitar and tabla. In addition, rock music from the 1960s and 1970s that incorporates South Asian musical influences and instruments, along with Western ideas of the Indian subcontinent, is often regarded as raga rock.
"Piggies" is a song by the English rock group the Beatles from their 1968 album The Beatles. Written by George Harrison as a social commentary, the song serves as an Orwellian satire on greed and consumerism. Among several elements it incorporates from classical music, the track features harpsichord and orchestral strings in the baroque pop style, which are contrasted by Harrison's acerbic lyrics and the sound of grunting pigs. Although credited to George Martin, the recording was largely produced by Chris Thomas, who also contributed the harpsichord part.
"In My Life" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1965 album Rubber Soul. It was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who later disagreed over the extent of their respective contributions to the song. Lennon credited the harmony and bridge to McCartney, while McCartney claimed the entire musical structure. George Martin contributed the piano solo bridge, which was sped up to sound like a harpsichord.
"Walk Away Renée" is a song written by Michael Brown, Bob Calilli, and Tony Sansone for the band the Left Banke, released as a single in July 1966. Steve Martin Caro is featured on lead vocals. It spent 13 weeks on the US charts, with a top spot of number 5. The song has been widely praised and has since been cited as a quintessence of the baroque pop genre.
Walk Away Renée/Pretty Ballerina is the debut studio album by the American baroque pop band the Left Banke, released in February 1967. Named after its two hit singles, "Walk Away Renée" and "Pretty Ballerina", it peaked at number 67 on the Billboard Albums chart. Although the album was not widely popular upon its initial release, and fell into relative obscurity for a time, it is now viewed as a definitive example of baroque pop music.
"Lady Jane" is a song by the English rock group the Rolling Stones, penned by the group's songwriting duo of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It was initially included on their album Aftermath, which was released on 15 April 1966 in the UK and 2 July 1966 in the US.
Chamber pop is a style of rock music characterized by an emphasis on melody and texture, the intricate use of strings, horns, piano, and vocal harmonies, and other components drawn from the orchestral and lounge pop of the 1960s. Artists such as Burt Bacharach and the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson were formative acts during the genre's original wave in the 1960s.
While the sitar had earlier been used in jazz and Indian film music, it was from the 1960s onwards that various pop artists in the Western world began to experiment with incorporating the sitar, a classical Indian stringed instrument, within their compositions.
This article includes an overview of the events and trends in popular music in the 1960s.
Experimental rock, also called avant-rock, is a subgenre of rock music that pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique or which experiments with the basic elements of the genre. Artists aim to liberate and innovate, with some of the genre's distinguishing characteristics being improvisational performances, avant-garde influences, odd instrumentation, opaque lyrics, unorthodox structures and rhythms, and an underlying rejection of commercial aspirations.
Progressive pop is pop music that attempts to break with the genre's standard formula, or an offshoot of the progressive rock genre that was commonly heard on AM radio in the 1970s and 1980s. It was originally termed for the early progressive rock of the 1960s. Some stylistic features of progressive pop include hooks and earworms, unorthodox or colorful instrumentation, changes in key and rhythm, experiments with larger forms, and unexpected, disruptive, or ironic treatments of past conventions.