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Oldies Music Encyclopedia: "Soft Rock"


Oldies Music Encyclopedia:

Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours," one of the most popular soft-rock albums

Definition: The music that ruled certain areas of FM in the late Seventies was known as "Soft Rock" not because it had any relation to rock and roll -- it usually didn't. But as a sort of easy listening or adult contemporary music for the first rock generation, now settled into more sedate middle-aged lifestyles, it was informed by the music inherited from the turbulent Sixties: folk, light blues and R&B, country-rock, and some jazz-tinged collegiate rock, mellowed down and made non-threatening.

Which doesn't mean it was music without merit. Indeed, large portions of it having grown directly from the earlier "singer-songwriter" movement, it often dealt with modern romantic and sexual relationships (and sometimes other adult themes) in a thoughtful and complex way rock simply couldn't. Sonically, much of the impetus for soft rock came from California, which had spawned its own lush pop in the Sixties and, following the lead of the country, gotten back to its roots; the result was a sort of laid-back Americana that began to crop up on "lite" FM stations that rejected the earlier generation's standards-based pop outright.

A typical soft rock song would combine those folk, country and blues elements in a confessional style and then smooth them over with new state-of-the-art production techniques that sounded great in mom's car and soothing in, say, a dentist's waiting room. As a result, the genre got quite a bad name among hardcore rock fans, who saw it as "wimpy," yet it thrived, incorporating ever more shrill production and vocalese as '80s technology crept in and Broadway-pop sensibilities began to prevail. Today, listeners have many choices for quiet, reflective pop. However, soft rock has once again become the province of sensitive singer-songwriters and not bands or pop stars, while those looking for musical roots turn to Americana for comfort.

Also Known As: Singer-songwriter, Lite rock
  1. "Rhiannon," Fleetwood Mac (purchase/download)
  2. "Peg," Steely Dan (purchase/download)
  3. "Ride Like The Wind," Christopher Cross (purchase/download)
  4. "What A Fool Believes," The Doobie Brothers (purchase/download)
  5. "Daniel," Elton John (purchase/download)
  6. "Reminiscing," Little River Band (purchase/download)
  7. "Alone Again (Naturally)," Gilbert O'Sullivan (purchase/download)
  8. "Summer Breeze," Seals and Crofts (purchase/download)
  9. "The Guitar Man," Bread (purchase/download)
  10. "Lowdown," Boz Scaggs (purchase/download)
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  6. Soft Rock Music - Oldies Music Songs and Artists

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