From the Land of Band Box Records

So Many Genres – So Little Time

Back in my West Denver neighborhood in 1957, as far as my little circle of friends and I were concerned, there were only two kinds of music, Rock ‘n’ Roll and everything else.  There were no categories for us, only those special 45 rpm disks arriving out of who-knew-where, that were being presented to us on the Denver “Tiger” Boss Radio KIMN, which was, as far as we knew, the only rock and roll station in the world!

We were not aware of any categorization of song styles, and even if had been, we couldn’t have cared less.  We lived week-to-week to see what was next, with the Saturday “KIMN Countdown”.  The KIMN Top 50 survey – of course – featured songs hardly qualifying as rock ‘n’ roll, but those were easily ignored.

These genres are organized roughly, first by time period and then within genre by date:

Big Band Music

“Big Band refers to a jazz group of ten or more musicians, usually featuring at least three trumpets, two or more trombones, four or more saxophones, and a “rhythm section” of accompanists playing some combination of piano, guitar, bass, and drums. “Big band music” as a concept for music fans is identified most with the swing era, although there were large, jazz-oriented dance bands before the swing era of the 1930’s and ’40’s, and large jazz-oriented concert bands after the swing era.” (Wikipedia)

Early Bands: Ted Lewis (1930) – Paul Whiteman (1930) – Leo Reisman (1931

big-band-early-1930-ted-lewis big-band-early-1930-whiteman big-band-early-1931-reisman

Big Swing Bands: Duke Ellington (1936) – Benny Goodman (1936) – Count Basie (1938

swing-1936-ellington swing-1936-gooman swing-1938-basie

Doo-Wop Music

“Doo-wop is a genre of music that was developed by African-Americans in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles in the 1940’s, achieving mainstream popularity in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Built upon vocal harmony, doo-wop was one of the most mainstream, pop-oriented R&B styles of the time.” (Wikipedia)

Early Doo-Woop: The Robins (1950) – The Swallows (1951) – The Ravens (1952)

doo-wop-early-1950-robinsdoo-wop-early-1951-swallows doo-wop-early-1952-ravens

Doo-Wop: The Clovers (1953) – The Rainbows (1953) – The Turbans (1955)

doo-wop-1953-clovers doo-wop-1955-rainbows doo-wop-1955-turbans

Rock-A-Billy Founders

Hats off to these guys for opening the door: Billy Haley (1952) – Elvis Presley (1954) – Carl Perkins (1955)

rockabilly-1952-haley rockabilly-1954-presley rockabilly-1955-perkins

Rock and Roll Founders

These guys paved the way pure and simple: Chuck Berry (1955) – Little Richard (1955) – Gene Vincent (1956

rock-n-roll-founder-1955-berry rock-n-roll-founder-1955-little-richard rock-n-roll-founder-1956-vincent

Rock and Roll Honorable Mentions – (Had to throw a few of these in): Wanda Jackson (1956) – Ronnie Self (1957) – Wade & Dick The College Kids (1957)

rockabilly-1956-wanda-jackson rockabilly-1957-ob-self rockabilly-1957-ob-wade-dick

Rocking Instrumental Groups

Instrumental rock is rock music that emphasizes musical instruments and features very little or no singing. Examples of instrumental rock can be found in practically every sub genre of rock, often from musicians who specialize in the style. Instrumental rock was most popular from the mid-1950’s to mid-1960’s, with artists such as Bill Doggett Combo, Jimmy Reed, Earl Bostic, The Fireballs, The Shadows, and The Ventures. (Wikipedia)

Rocking Instrumental Groups: The Tune Rockers (1958) – Link Wray & the Ray Men (1958) – Johnny & The Hurricanes (1959)

rock-instru-tune-rockers-58 rock-inst-link-wray-58 rock-inst-j-and-hurricanes-59

Rhythm & Blues

“A folk-based but urbanized form of black popular music that is marked by strong, repetitious rhythms and simple melodies and was developed, in a commercialized form, into rock-‘n’-roll.” (Dictionary Dot Com)

Early R&B: Fats Domino (1951) – Ruth Brown (1951) – Joe Turner (1952)

rb-1951-fats-domino rb-1951-ruth-brown rb-1952-joe-turner

R&B/Soul Genre: Chuck Willis (1953) – James Brown (1956) – Ray Charles

rb-soul-1953-willis rb-soul-1956-james-brownrb-soul-1957-ray-charles

Front & Center Pop Singers

These were the singers who often emerged from the Big Bands toward the end of that era – taking center stage as a name unto themselves.

Female Pop:  Patti Page (1951) – Joni James (1952) – Teresa Brewer (1952)

pop-female-1952-james pop-female-1951-page pop-female-1952-brewer

Male Pop: Frank Sinatra (1951) – Tony Bennett (1951) – Johnnie Ray (1951)

male-pop-1951-sinatra male-pop-1951-bennett male-pop-1951-ray

Girl Groups

“A girl group is a music act featuring several female singers who generally harmonize together. The term “girl group” is also used in a narrower sense in the United States of America to denote the wave of American female pop music singing groups, many of whom were influenced by doo-wop, and which flourished in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s between the decline of early rock and roll and start of the British Invasion.” (WikiVisually)

Early Girl Groups: The Delltones (1955) – The Bobbettes (1957) – The Chantels (1957)



Early Country or “Folk” Records: Jimmie Rodgers (1927) – Ernest Tubb (1944) – Hank Williams (1947)

cw-early-1927-rodgers cw-early-1944-tubbcw-early-1947-williams

Classic Country Male: Faron Young (1954) – Ferlin Husky (1955) – George Jones (1959)

cw-classic-male-1954-young cw-classic-male-1955-husky cw-classic-male-1959-jones

Classic Country Female: Patsy Cline (1955) – Lynn Anderson (1966) – Tammy Wynette (1966)

cw-classic-female-1955-cline cw-classic-female-1966-anderson cw-classic-female-1966-wynette

Modern Country (80’s and 90’s): George Strait (1983) – Dwight Yoakum (1986) – Garth Brooks (1990)

cw-modern-1983-strait cw-modern-1986-yoakum cw-modern-1990-brooks

Teen Pop Singers

“Teen-oriented popular music had become common by the end of the Swing Era, in the late 1940’s, with Frank Sinatra being an early teen idol. However, it was the early 1960’s that became known as the “Golden Age” for pop teen idols, who included Paul Anka, Fabian, Ricky Nelson and Frankie Avalon.” (Wikipedia) – By extension, early girl singers in this category had more staying power usually than the “girl group” era singers.

Boy Singers: Paul Anka (1958) – Frankie Avalon (1958) – Bobby Vee (1960)

pop-boys-1958-anka pop-boys-1958-avalon pop-boys-1960-bobby-vee

Girl Singers: Connie Francis (1958) – Dodie Stevens (1958) – Brenda Lee (1960)

pop-girls-1958-connie-francis pop-girl-1958-dodie-stevenspop-girls-1960-brenda-lee

Girl Groups 1960’s: The Crystals (1961) – The Angels (1962) – The Shirelles (1963)

girl-groups-1961-crystalsgirl-groups-1962-angels girl-groups-1963-shirelles

Girl Singers 1960’s: – Leslie Gore (1963) – Little Peggy March (1963) – Tracey Dey (1963)

girl-singer-group-genre-1963-leslie-gore girl-singer-group-genre-1963-peggy-march girl-singer-group-genre-1963-tracey-dey

Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’

The Wall of Sound (also called the Spector Sound) is a music production formula developed by American record producer Phil Spector at Gold Star Studios in the 1960’s, with assistance from engineers Stan Ross, Larry Levine, and the session musician conglomerate known as “the Wrecking Crew”. (Wikipedia)

Wall of Sound: The Crystals (1962) – Bob B Soxx & the Blue Jeans (1962) – The Ronettes (1963)

wall-of-sound-crystals-62 wall-of-sound-b-soxx-63 wall-of-sound-ronettes-63

Surf Music

“Surf music is a sub genre of rock music associated with surf culture, particularly as found in Southern California. It was especially popular from 1962 to 1964 in two major forms.[11] The first is instrumental surf, distinguished by reverb-drenched electric guitars played to evoke the sound of crashing waves, largely pioneered by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones. The second is vocal surf, which took the original surf sound and added vocal harmonies backed by basic Chuck Berry rhythms, a movement led by the Beach Boys.” (Wikipedia)

Surf’s Up: – Dick Dale (1963) – The Trashmen (1963) – The Fantastic Baggys (1964)

surf-1963-dick-dale surf-1963-trashmen surf-1964-fantastic-baggys

Hot Rod Music

“Hot rod music, or hot rod rock, evolved from surf music.[38] According to The Ultimate Hot Rod Dictionary by Jeff Breitenstein: “While cars and, to a lesser degree, hot rods have been a relatively common and enduring theme in American popular music, the term hot rod music is most often associated with the unique ‘California sound’ music of the early to mid-1960’s … and was defined by its rich vocal harmonies, amplified (generally Fender brand) electric guitars, and youth-oriented lyrics (most often celebrating hot rods and, more broadly, surfing and ‘girls’).”(Wikipedia)

Hot Rod: The Beach Boys (1962) – Jan and Dean (1963) – The Rip Chords (1963)

hot-rod-1962-beach-boys hot-rod-1963-jan-and-dean hot-rod-1963-rip-chords

Folk Music

“Folk music can refer to both traditional types of music and the modern notion of folk music that arose during the 1960’s in the United States. Traditional folk music has been around as long as music itself, but the term “folk music” wasn’t really used until the 1800’s.

Traditional folk music — sometimes called world music — can be hard to define, but there are several common characteristics that help define the genre. Traditional folk music can usually be thought of as old music by unknown composers that has been passed along orally for generations by the poor, working class.” (Wonderopolis)

Early Folk: The Carter Family (1928) – Huddie Leadbetter (1949) – The Weavers (1952)

folk-early-1928-carters folk-early-1949-leadbetter folk-early-1952-weavers

Classic Folk: The Kingston Trio (1958) – The Highwaymen (1960) – The Journeymen (1962)

folk-1958-kingston-trio folk-1960-highwaymen folk-1962-journeymen

Folk Goes Electric (Thanks Bobby): Bob Dylan (1965) – The Byrds (1965) – The Turtles (1965)

folk-elect-1965-dylan folk-elect-1965-byrds folk-elect-1965-turtles

Classic Motown

1960’s Motown Male Groups: The Miracles (1964) – The Temptations (1965) – The Four Tops (1966)

1964 - Miracles - 27 - rb 101965 - Temptations 1 rb 1 uk 431966 - Four Tops - reach out - 1 rb 1 uk 1

1960’s Motown Males: Eddie Holland (1962) – Marvin Gaye (1964) – Stevie Wonder (1964) –

HOLLAND EDDIE - 1962 05 AGAYE & WELLS - 1964 05 ACOOPER - WONDER - 5-64


1960’s Motown Female Groups: The Marvelettes (1964) –  The Vandellas (1964) The Supremes (1965)


1960’s Motown Females: Debbie Dean (1962) – Mary Wells (1962) – Brenda Holloway (1965)


Protest Songs

Protest: Barry McGuire (1965) – Donovan (1966) – Peter, Paul & Mary (1966)



The teenage tragedy song is a style of ballad in popular music that peaked in popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Examples of the style are also known as “tear jerkers,” “death discs” or “splatter platters”,[1] among other colorful sobriquets coined by DJs that then passed into vernacular as the songs became popular. Often lamenting teenage death scenarios in melodramatic fashion, these songs were usually sung from the viewpoint of the dead person’s sweetheart, as in “Last Kiss”[2] (1964), or another witness to the tragedy, or the dead (or dying) person.” (Wikipedia)

Tragedy Songs of the 1960’s: Ray Peterson (1960) – The Shangri-Las (1964) – J. Frank Wilson (1964)

tragedy-rock-1960-peterson tragedy-rock-1964-shangra-lasjpg tragedy-rock-1964-wilson

The British Invasion

Invasion: The Searchers (1964) – The Swinging Blue Jeans (1964) – The Animals (1965)

SEARCHERS - 1964 02-1 Athe-swinging-blue-jeans-hippy-hippy-shake-imperial[1]1965 - animals 32 uk 7

Sunshine Music

Sunshine: The Parade – Blades of Grass (1967)

San Francisco Sound

“The San Francisco Sound refers to rock music performed live and recorded by San Francisco-based rock groups of the mid-1960’s to early 1970’s. It was associated with the counterculture community in San Francisco during these years. San Francisco is a westward-looking port city, a city that at the time was ‘big enough’ but not manic like New York City or spread out like Los Angeles. Hence, it could support a ‘scene’.According to journalist Ed Vulliamy, “A core of Haight Ashbury bands played with each other, for each other, for free and at Chet Helms’s Avalon Ballroom and Bill Graham’s Fillmore” (Wikipedia”

San Fran: The Charlatans (1966) – The Jefferson Airplane (1966) – The Grateful Dead (1968)

san-fran-1966-charlatans san-fran-1966-jefferson-airplane san-fran-1968-grateful-dead

Soul Music

“Music that originated in black American gospel singing, is closely related to rhythm and blues, and is characterized by intensity of feeling and earthiness.” (Word Central)

60’s Soul: Isley Brothers (1962) – Wilson Pickett (1964) – Aretha Franklin (1967)

soul-1962-isleyssoul-1964-pickett soul-1967-franklin

60’s Memphis Sound: The Mar-Keys (1961) – Carla Thomas (1964) – Eddie Floyd (1966)

memphis-sound-markeys-61 memphis-sound-c-thomas-64 memphis-sound-floyd-66

70’s Soul: Stylistics (1970) – Chi Lites (1971) – Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (1972)

70s-soul-groups-1970-stylistics 70s-soul-groups-1971-chi-lites 70s-soul-groups-1972-melvin-blue-notes

Bubble Bum Music

“A genre of music that started in the 60’s and 70’s that record companies used to make a quick buck. The songs of bubble gum were usually about love, and had no thinking involved with listening to them, they also had a catchy tune that could be whistled at any particular moment.” (Urban Dictionary)

The “Buddah” stable of artists are usually attributed as being the Bubble Gum pioneers.

Bubble Gum: 1910 Fruitgum Company (1968) – The Lemon Pipers (1968) – The Archies (1969)

bubble-gum-1968-1910-fruitgum bubble-gum-1968-lemon-pipers bubble-gum-1969-archies

Sunshine Rock (a lot like Bubble Gum)

Sunshine: The Blades of Grass (1967) – The Parade (1967) – The Yellow Balloon (1967)

sunshine-1967-blades-of-grass sunshine-1967-parade sunshine-1967-yellow-balloon

Psychedelic Rock

“Psychedelic rock is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs, most notably LSD. It often uses new recording techniques and effects and sometimes draws on sources such as the ragas and drones of Indian music.” (Wikipedia)

Psychdedelic: The Jimi Hendrix Experience (1967) – Pink Floyd (1967) – The 13th Floor Elevators (1968)

psych-1967-hendrix psych-1967-pink-floyd psych-1968-13th-floor-elevators

Progressive Rock

“In 1966, the degree of social and artistic dialogue among rock musicians dramatically accelerated for bands like the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and the Byrds who fused elements of composed music with the oral musical traditions of rock.Rock music started to take itself seriously, paralleling earlier attempts in jazz (as swing gave way to bop, a move which did not succeed with audiences).”  (Wikipedia)

Progressive: The Mothers of Invention (1967) – King Crimson (1970) – Yes (1971)

progressive-1967-mothers progressive-1970-king-crimson progressive-1971-yes

Heavy Metal Music

“Heavy metal (or simply metal) is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom and the United States. With roots in blues rock and psychedelic rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. Heavy metal lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.” (Wikipedia)

Heavy Metal: Deep Purple (1968) – Led Zeppelin (1969 – Black Sabbath (1970)

heavy-metal-1968-deep-purple heavy-metal-1969-led-zeppelin heavy-metal-1970-black-sabbath

Blues Revival

The Blues artists were revered by many of the British Bands (Stones – Mayall – Yardbirds) but also by late 1960’s American groups.

Blues Revival Bands: Paul Butterfield Blues Band (1967) – Canned Heat (1967) – Al Kooper & Mike Bloomfield (1968)

blues-revive-butterfield-67 blues-revive-canned-heat-67 blues-revive-cooper-bloomfield-68

Jazz Rock

“Jazz fusion (also known as jazz-rock, fusion jazz or just simply fusion) is a musical genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined aspects of jazz harmony and improvisation with styles such as funk, rock, rhythm and blues, and Latin jazz.” (Wikipedia)

1960’s Jazz Rock Bands: The Electric Flag (1967) – Herbie Hancock (1968) – Chicago (formerly the Chicago Transit Authority – 1969)

jazz-rock-flag-67 jazz-rock-hancock-69 jazz-rock-chicago-69

Art Rock

“Art rock is a sub genre of rock music that generally reflects a challenging or avant-garde approach to rock, or which makes use of modernist, experimental, or unconventional elements.” (Wikipedia)

Art Rock: Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention (1970) – Velvet Underground (1971) – Eno (1975)

art-rock-eno-75 art-rock-velvet-under-71 art-rock-zappa-70


Reggae (/ˈrɛɡeɪ/) is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. … Reggae spread into a commercialized jazz field, being known first as ‘Rudie Blues’, then ‘Ska’, later ‘Blue Beat’, and ‘Rock Steady’. (Wikipedia)

Reggae: Jimmy Cliff (1969) – Bob Marley & The Wailers (1971) – Toots & the Mayals (1974)

reggae-cliff-69 reggae-marley-71 reggae-toots-74

The Singer Song-Writers

“Often characterized as being shallow, 1970’s pop took many forms and could be seen as a reaction against the high-energy and activist pop of the previous decade. It began with singer-songwriters like Carole King and Carly Simon topping the charts, while New York City saw a period of great innovation; hip hop, punk rock and salsa were invented in 1970’s New York, which was also a center for electronic music, techno and disco.” (Wikipedia)

Female Singer Song-Writers: Carly Simon (1971) – Carole King (1971) – Jackie DeShannon (1972)

singer-song-writer-female-1971-carly-simon singer-song-writer-female-1971-carole-king singer-song-writer-female-1972-deshannon

Male Singer Song-Writers: Elton John (1970) – James Taylor (1971) – Dan Fogelberg (1977)

singer-song-writer-male-1970-elton-john singer-song-writer-male-1971-james-taylor singer-song-writer-male-1977-fogelberg

Disco Music

“Disco is a genre of dance music containing elements of funk, soul, pop, and salsa. It achieved popularity during the mid-1970’s to the early 1980’s. Its initial audiences in the U.S. were club-goers from the gay, African American, Italian American,[1] Latino, and psychedelic communities in Philadelphia during the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.”

Disco Music: Bee Gees (1975) – Donna Summer (1975) – The Trammps (1977)

disco-1975-bee-gees disco-1975-donna-summer disco-1977-tramps

British & U.S. New Wave

“New wave is a genre of rock music popular from the late 1970’s to mid-1980’s with ties to 1970’s punk rock. … The new wave sound of the late 1970’s moved away from the smooth blues and rock and roll sounds to create pop music that drew on incorporating electronic and experimental music, mod, and disco. (Wikipedia)”

Brit New Wave Bands: Ducks Deluxe (1974) – Brinsley Schwarz (1978) – Rumour (1978)

new-wave-brit-ducks-74 new-wave-brit-brinsley-78 new-wave-brit-rumour-78

U.S. New Wave: Pere Ubo (1975) – Devo (1977) – The Cars (1978)

new-wave-pere-ubo-75 new-wave-devo-77 new-wave-cars-78

Goth Music

“Gothic rock (also referred to as goth rock or simply goth) is a musical subgenre of post-punk and alternative rock that formed during the late 1970’s. Gothic rock bands grew from the strong ties they had to the English punk rock and emerging post-punk scenes.” (Wikipedia)

Goth: Siouxsie & The Banshees (1978) – Bauhaus (1983 – The Cure (1985)

gothic-1978-siouxie gothic-85-cure gothic-1983-bauhaus

Death Metal

“Death metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music. It typically employs heavily distorted and low-tuned guitars, played with techniques such as palm muting and tremolo picking, deep growling vocals and screams, aggressive, powerful drumming featuring double kick or blast beattechniques, minor keys or atonality, abrupt tempo, key, and time signature changes and chromatic chord progressions. The lyrical themes of death metal may invoke slasher film-stylized violence, religion (sometimes Satanism), occultism, Lovecraftian horror, nature, mysticism, mythology, philosophy, science fiction, and politics, and they may describe extreme acts, including mutilation, dissection, torture, rape, cannibalism, and necrophilia.” (Wikipedia)

Death Metal: Venon (1982) – Megadeath (1987) – Metalica (1988)

death-metal-1982-venom death-metal-1987-megadeath death-metal-1988-metalica

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