Pop music

Origins of Pop Music

Music is a crucial part of Western culture and it is safe to say that we cannot go a day without encountering pop music given the rising trends of TikTok dances and Instagram reels. However, where did pop music originate? How did it get started? Popular music, often known as pop music, is a style of music that is well-liked by a wide range of listeners and is considered mainstream. Early pop music origins can be traced back to the 19th century when Edison discovered how to record sound using a metal cylinder that has tinfoil wrapped around it in 1877 making the first phonograph. This concept was used by Berliner to create the gramophone, which recorded music on flat discs. Since these discs were cheaper and easier to create than cylinders, a lot of music could be recorded and distributed. This greatly influenced the music industry and made it easier for more individuals to afford and enjoy music. 


Pop songs had straightforward melodies, tunes, structures, and patterns, and they rarely varied in speed or volume. The beginnings of pop music became noticeable in the late 1950s when factories and money were growing, and new technology was coming such as radio and television broadcasting. This gave people a distraction from the big war.


The emergence of pop music started to begin, but its advancement was slow and gradual yet promising. Radio and TV helped a lot by playing the first pop songs. The birth of popular music started in the United States and pop music roots slowly moved to Europe as it got popular on the radio and TV there too. In the 1960s, England had some bands that became important in pop music history. Around the same time, alongside rock music led by Elvis Presley, American teenagers were making songs with happy and lively beats. This is when pop music started to take shape. This is when the musicians who created pop music were born!


Pop music was developing at the time and gaining popularity thanks to some lyricists and composers who excelled at what they did. But it was between the late 1970s and the late 1990s that pop music got really big. The 1960s was a crucial period in pop music history, a time of ground-breaking achievements and cultural shifts. In the 1960s, the word “pop” wasn’t used much. People preferred to say “pop music” instead. Slowly, though, the word “pop” started to become common. Pop music gained refinement and more complex emotions with the rise of Motown and the soul music movement. The music of the decade was shaped by iconic bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and The Beach Boys. Rock ‘n’ roll, folk, and R&B were blended with pop music during the 1960s, resulting in a wide variety of sounds. Thanks to radio and television, pop music rose to global fame. It was well-liked by people and it resonated with their feelings and emotions. It could make them feel validated. Pop music became so successful and quickly drew a large audience primarily because artists like Elvis Presley used it to touch on themes like love, making pop music a commercial success. The 1960s pop music is still regarded as a peak era in pop music history due to its vibrant energy and significant cultural influence. 


In the 1970s, pop music changed significantly. Disco was popular, as were historical pop songs like “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.


Back then, real instruments were frequently used for pop music. However, the 1980s brought keyboards and drum machines to the spotlight, making pop music even more captivating for its audience. Yamaha DX7s and drums with lots of resonance became common. As time passed, disco elements transformed into dance music.


Pop music embraced electronics considerably more throughout the 1990s. Midway through the 1990s, it spread over the world. The origins of modern pop can be traced back to when bands like Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys rose to international fame. Hip-hop’s success in the 2000s led to a strong influence on the development and evolution of pop music.


Electronic dance music (EDM), which has its origins in Chicago house music,  R&B, and alternative rock served as an influence on pop music around the 2000s. Techno and soulful voices were mixed in this genre, which gained popularity at raves. Because of its traits, such as recurring choruses and straightforward lyrics, pop music is well-liked by a large audience. Modern pop music has changed significantly as a result of the pop music industry’s evolution.


Multiple generations of influential musicians who left a lasting impression on the Pop music genre history helped to develop pop music. Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Whitney Houston, Prince, Beyoncé, and Taylor Swift are a few well-known pop music pioneers who have contributed to the origins and history of pop music. These artists not only rose to great fame but also transformed pop music and contributed to its present-day success. 


Pop music has a significant number of subgenres that have developed over time. Pop rock, dance-pop, electro-pop, indie pop, R&B pop, Latin pop, and trap-pop are a few examples. At first, pop music was a mix of different popular styles. But what makes pop music special is how it combines in fusion with other types of music, like folk, rhythm and blues, jazz, soul, funk, classical, techno, music from different parts of the world, and even Latin music. These styles have inspired pop music in various ways, and their music and cultures have also influenced one another. These subgenres combined with pop music create unique sounds and styles that appeal to a variety of musical interests. Due to collaboration and experimentation among composers and songwriters from other genres, the distinctions between pop and other styles could become indistinct. This results in music that is difficult to categorize.


The evolution of pop music has been influenced by societal and cultural shifts. It depicts and responds to significant societal changes, expressing how people feel and what matters to them at various points in time. Numerous topics, including love, social issues, politics, and personal narratives are discussed in modern pop music. This enables artists to express themselves and forge powerful connections with their audience.