Rounding ‘80: The Reinvention of Three Bands


As the 1970s turned into the 1980s, hard rock and progressive bands were taking serious stock, re-inventing sounds that had sustained them and, for fans, defined an era.  The list of bands who turned the corner of the 1980s influenced by punk and disco and new wave is long, and includes many touchstone bands of prog and heavy rock: Yes, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, The Rolling Stones, Judas Priest.  Songs became shorter, tighter, glossed in reverb and electronics.  In an odd way the 1960s really ended around 1979-80.  It was a death toll for bands unable to adapt to the FM version of the pop single.

Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s hindsight, but looking back at those handful of years I find it fascinating that three of rock’s great survivors — AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Rush — issued essential work in this time of transition.  You won’t find three bands…

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