Pop music

Early Pop music (until 1940)

   The Charleston is a dance named for the harbor city of Charleston, South Carolina (US). The rhythm was popularized in mainstream dance music in the United States by a 1923 tune called "The Charleston". 


   Normally, this style used brass instruments within a piano, a double bass, without percussion section. 

Charleston can be danced solo, or with a partner. Its simple, flexible basic step makes it easy to concentrate on styling, improvisation, and musicality. Josephine Baker was the major artist in this style.

   Today Charleston is an important dance in Lindy Hop dance culture, danced in many permutations: alone (solo), with a partner, or in groups of couples or solo dancers. The basic step allows for a vast range of variations and improvisation. Both the 20s and Swinging Charleston styles are popular today, though swinging Charleston is more commonly integrated into Lindy Hop dancing.



 Sh-Boom - The Crew Cuts

    Doo-wop is a style of music that was developed in African-American communities of various U.S. cities as New York City or Los Angeles in the 1940s, achieving mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Its origins are related to swing music from the twenties. Built upon vocal harmony, doo-wop was one of the most mainstream pop styles of the time.

Doo-wop features vocal group harmony, nonsense syllables, a simple beat, sometimes little or no instrumentation, and simple music and lyrics.

Instruments are not important but they usually used a piano, a drum set, and a bass. Lyrics are about positive love and good feelings. 

   Doo-wop's influence continued in soul, pop, and rock groups of the 1960s. At various times in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the genre has seen revivals.

   Some artists of this style were The Platters and the Chordettes.


The Chordettes - Lollipop                                            The Chordettes - Mr. Sandman                                   The Platters - Only you

Book of Love - The monotones                                  MMMBop (cover) - Postmodern Jukebox

Pop music in the 50's

Rockabilly was a musical product taken from the rock'n roll success. Rock'n Roll was black music, and US society and US music industry tried to copy the success of this genre into a new genre. The name 'rockabilly' was taken from a 1940's music, influenced by blues and country music (folk american music). This new style used the same instruments than the rock'n roll, but normally included choir and sometimes a bow string orchestra. The lyrics were softer than R'nR, talking about youth, true love and friendship. Somehow, this music tried to attach a whole white generation to the principles of the former generations. Rhythm in this style was a secondary element, and usually used a slow-mid tempo. It was born in US, specially in Tennessee and and Memphis, around 1955. Initially, it was popularised by artists such as the Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins.



All you have to do is dream (The Everly Brothers)

"All I Have to Do Is Dream" is a popular song made famous by the Everly Brothers, written by Boudleaux Bryant of the husband and wife songwriting team Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, and published in 1958. The song is ranked No. 141 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is in AABA form.

By far the best-known version was recorded by The Everly Brothers and released as a single in April 1958. It had been recorded by The Everly Brothers live in just two takes on March 6, 1958, and features Chet Atkins on guitar.

It was developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1960s. Beat music is a fusion of rock and roll and rockabilly. It is said beat included the rock'n roll rhythm with the rockabilly fancy and lyrics. The genre provided many of the bands responsible for the British invasion of the American pop charts starting in 1964, and provided the model for many important developments in pop and rock music, including the format of the rock group around lead and rhythm guitar and bass with drums. They also took vocal harmonies from rockabilly style.


Lyrics were deep feeling, but simple and easy to remember. The music form used was the song form. The most important rock band was The Beatles, but not the only one: The Hollies, the Searches, the Animals


Pop music in the 60's


How do you do? (Gerry and the pacemakers)

Gerry and the Pacemakers was an English beat group prominent in the 1960s Merseybeat scene. In common with the Beatles, they came from Liverpool, were managed by Brian Epstein, and were recorded by George Martin.

They are most remembered for being the first act to reach number one in the UK Singles Chart with their first three single releases: "How Do You Do It?", "I Like It" and "You'll Never Walk Alone".

It is a musical genre combining elements of folk music and rock music. In its earliest and narrowest sense, the term referred to a genre that arose in the United States around the mid-1960s. The genre was pioneered by the Los Angeles band The Byrds, who began playing traditional folk music and Bob Dylan-penned material with rock instrumentation, in a style heavily influenced by The Beatles and other British bands.

In a broader sense, folk rock includes later similarly-inspired musical genres and movements in the English-speaking world (and its Celtic and Filipino fringes) and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in Europe. As with any genre, the borders are difficult to define. Folk rock may lean more toward folk or toward rock in its instrumentation, its playing and vocal style, or its choice of material; while the original genre draws on music of Europe and North America, there is no clear delineation of which folk cultures music might be included as influences.

Folk music tries to use non-electric instruments, but it can be perfectly normal to use them from time to time. The most important instrument is the acoustic guitar, but sometimes it can be a bass, drum set or another kind of instruments. The lyrics are usually about your own experience in life, spiritual issues or even political criticism.

This style was very close to the hippie movement and philosophy. Some rock bands and artist related with this style were Bob Dylan, The Animals, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Simon & Garfunkel or Donovan.



The Sound of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)

"The Sound of Silence", originally "The Sounds of Silence", is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. The song was written by Paul Simon over a period of several months in 1963 and 1964. Released in October 1964, the album was a commercial failure and led to the duo breaking apart, with Paul Simon returning to England and Art Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University. In the spring of 1965, the song began to attract airplay at radio stations in Boston, Massachusetts, and throughout Florida. 

The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending January 1, 1966, leading the duo to reunite and hastily record their second album, which Columbia titled Sounds of Silence in an attempt to capitalize on the song's success. 

 Country rock music is a genre of American popular music that originated in the United States in the 1960s. It takes its roots from the southeastern genre of American folk music called Country music and Bluegrass from jazz. 


   Country music often consists of ballads and dance tunes with generally simple forms and harmonies accompanied by mostly string instruments such as banjos, electric and acoustic guitars, dobros and fiddles as well as harmonicas. Drum sets put a rock taste in this music.


   The term country music is used today to describe many styles and subgenres. The origins of country music are the folk music of mostly white, working-class Americans, who blended popular songs, Irish and Celtic fiddle tunes, traditional ballads, and cowboy songs, and various musical traditions from European immigrant communities. 


Some artist are Johnny Cash, Charlie McCoy and Creedence Clearwater Revival



Walk the line (Johnny Cash)

"I Walk the Line" is a song written and recorded in 1956 by Johnny Cash. After three attempts with moderate chart ratings, it became Cash's first number one hit on the Billboard charts. It reached number 17 on the US pop charts. It remained on the record charts for over 43 weeks, and sold over 2 million copies.
Johnny Cash was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. Although primarily remembered as a country music icon, his genre-spanning songs and sound embraced rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel. 

Pop music in the 70's


It was an evolution of funky, more commercial and easy to dance. Funky was too complicated to dance or sing, and too close to black subculture, so disco music tried to transform that music into something more commercial and for all kinds of people.

The instruments commonly used in this style were piano, organ (during early years), electroacoustic keyboards and Synthesizers. The use of strings was common, and this is one of the main difference with the funky style. It had an enormous success, and created an own dressing fashion. The disco sound has soaring, often reverberated vocals over a steady "four-on-the-floor" beat.

Some artists were ABBA, Donna Summer, The Bee Gees, KC and the Sunshine Band, The Trammps, Van McCoy, Gloria Gaynor and The Village People.


                                                                                                                                                                                                  ABBA - Gimme gimme gimme

The Bee Gees - Stayin' alive       Dschinghis Khan - Moskau             Gloria Gaynor - I will survive              Donna Summer - She works hard for the money

ABBA - Dancing Queen                                   Bonie M - Daddy Cool                                    

Pop music in the 80's

New Wave

Cindy Lauper - Time after time

It was born with the punk style, but used any influence from other pop styles, specially beat and disco. They only used the punk style on the appearance.
They could use any instrument, specially the electronic devices like synthesizers and keyboards. The basic of the style was in the melody's attraction and the meaning of the lyrics. A little subgenre called Symphonic Pop appeared during the 80's, with a predominance of the piano, vocal power and string arrangement. It was the most successful style in the 80's.

New wave music is an umbrella term for several late-1970s to mid-1980s pop/rock musical styles with ties to 1970s punk rock. The wide range of bands categorized under this term has been a source of much confusion and controversy. The new wave sound of the late 1970s moved away from the smooth blues and rock & roll sounds to create music with a twitchy, agitated feel, choppy rhythm guitars and fast tempos. This style incorporated electronic/experimental music, mod, disco and pop. It subsequently engendered subgenres and fusions, including New Romantic and gothic rock.

New wave has been called one of the definitive genres of the 1980s, after it grew partially fixated on MTV (The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" music video was broadcast as the first music video to promote the channel's launch), and the popularity of several new wave artists, attributing the exposure that was given to them by the channel. In the mid-1980s, differences between new wave and other music genres began to blur. New wave has enjoyed resurgences since the 1990s, after a rising "nostalgia" for several new wave-influenced artists.

Culture Club - Karma Chameleon 

U2 -With or without you             Madonna - Like a prayer         Blondie - Heart of Glass       Michael Jackson - Man in the Mirror


Symphonic Pop

It was a subgenre of New wave, but softer than this one. It was similar to the relationship between RnR and Rockabily in the 50's. The main instrument is the piano, and it is common to find a group of strings instruments in this genre, as well as drum set, sometimes electric guitar.


Lyrics in this genre are very gentle and kind. They are about personal issues, romantic in the widest way. They always use a very tuned voice, and sometimes choir.


The origin of this genre is in the develope of the 70's symphonic Rock into a more commercial genre. They took away experimental techniques and became a softer music. It was developed under the influence of the 60's soul music and 50's rockabilly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Billy Joel - Lullabye

Mecano - Hijo de la luna                            Billy Joel - Piano Man                            Elton John - Your Song                                 Extreme - More than words


Power Pop

It was a style attached to the rock spirit. They took the influence of the rock of the 70's (specially hard and glam rock), but with a very passion and deep feeling on the lyrics. They used the song form, with a main role of the lead guitar. The lyrics were spicer than the new wave's ones. Same formation than rock, and sometimes they use keyboards.


The most important thing in this style are the lyrics: romantic, full of passion and a little spice and arrogant. The punk motto "No future" was changed to "Youth power". Guitar soloes (and sometime other instruments like keyboards) became a cliché, taking from the hard rock.


This style was very commercial, and tried to put an alternative to the mainstream new wave. New wave is more about dancing, Power pop is more about rocking and feeling.


                          Boston - More than a feeling

Europe - The final countdown                        Aerosmith - Crazy                          Roxette - How do you do?                           Poison - Talk dirty to me  

                              Pat Benatar - Hit me with your best shot                                                     Bon Jovi - Living on a player



Pop-rap is a genre of music which combines hip hop music with elements of pop music, which gained mainstream popularity during the 2000s, but its origin is in the late 80's. It tends to combine hip-hop beats with catchy hooks and choruses similar to what's heard in pop music. They use some techniques from hip-hop music like human beatbox, street dancing or scraching, linked to a commercial sense of music, reflected in some melodies in the background. Normally, artists and rock bands in this genre take a famous tune or melodie from other music genres, specially soul, RnB, or funky.


Instruments: Drum machine, keyboards, rapping, sampler, robotic voice effects, singing.

                            Vanilla Ice - Ice ice baby

MC Hammer - Can't touch it                Run-DMC - Walk this way            Vanilla Ice - Play that funky music     C&C Music Factory - Gonna make you sweat

                                         MC Hammer - Pray

Pop music in the 90's


Britpop is a subgenre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom. Britpop emerged from the British independent music scene of the early 1990s and was characterised by bands influenced by British guitar pop music of the 1960s and 1970s, taking as reference rock bands like The Beatles or the Rolling Stones. The movement developed as a reaction against the grunge phenomenon from the United States. They tried to reference British guitar music of the past and writing about uniquely British topics and concerns. They used acoustic guitar, as well as electric, drum set, elec. bass, and sometimes bow instruments, just like the violin and the cello.

Oasis - Wonderwall

Fool's garden - Lemon Tree

Blur - Song 2

Coldplay - Yellow

Vocal Bands

Vocal Bands were the main stream music in the 90's. It was created as a mixed-up from disco, new wave or even techno music. They were the first ones to use the autotune device, and the bands were formed by music industry through a casting. They used electronic instruments, and sometimes a drumset or electric guitar. Each member of the band had a explicit role, to draw the audience's attention. It was a music oriented to teen audience.

NKOTB - Tonight


Spice Girls - Wannabe


Backstreet Boys - I want it that way


Take that - Back for good


N'Sync - It's gonna be me

Pop music in the 2000's

Dance Pop

Dance-pop is dance-oriented pop music that got success in the late 1990's. Developing from post-disco and synthpop, it is generally up-tempo music intended for clubs with the intention of being danceable but also suitable for contemporary hit radio. Dance-pop music is generally characterised by strong beats with easy, uncomplicated song structures which are generally more similar to pop music than the more free-form dance genre, with an emphasis on melody as well as catchy tunes. The genre, on the whole, tends to be producer-driven, despite some notable exceptions. At the beginning of the 2000s, dance-pop music was still prominent, and highly electronic in style, influenced by genres such as house and techno. Nonetheless, as R&B and hip hop became extremely popular from the early part of the decade onwards, dance-pop often borrowed a lot of its influences from urban music.




Britney Spears - Baby, one more time


Christina Aguilera - Genie in a bottle

Justin Timberlake - Cry me a river


Kylie Minogue - Can't get you out of my head

Teen Pop

Teen pop is a subgenre of pop music that is created, marketed and oriented towards preteens and teenagers. Teen pop copies genres and styles such as pop, dance, R&B, hip hop, country and rock. Typical characteristics of teen pop music include auto-tuned vocals, choreographed dancing, emphasis on visual appeal (photogenic faces, unique body physiques, immaculately attended hair and designer clothes), lyrics focused on teenage issues such as (sexual/emotional) love/relationships, finding yourself, friendships, coming of age, fitting in, and growing up, regardless of the artists' age and repeated chorus lines along with a generally happy tune in the background. Since the mid 2000s, many teen stars have developed careers through their involvement with Disney, like singer-songwriters Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers, although some did many years before that. Other teen pop stars emerged by 2007, such as American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and Nickelodeon stars Victoria Justice and Miranda Cosgrove.

Hannah Montana - Nobody's perfect

Jonas Brothers - SOS


Avril Lavigne - Complicated


Tokio Hotel - World behind my wall


Latin Pop

Latin pop generally refers to pop music that has what may be perceived a Latin influence. Geographically, it could refer to pop music from Latin America or Latin Europe (Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Romania). It was a develop of the traditional music for these countries, mixed up with the urban music, specially techno music and hip-hop. Like new wave and dance pop, it's a high commercial music. In addition to the rock instruments, you can often find latin instruments, like spanish guitar, requinto, differents size of drums, tambourines, timpani and a lot of small percussion (triangle, claves, güiro). There are also brass instruments like trumpets and trombones. Normally, it's a very danceable music. This style uses other latin styles like tango, bachata, merengue, reggaeton or vallenato.


Shakira - Hips don't lie

Marc Anthony - I need to know

Ricky Martin - Pegate

Mana - Corazon Espinado

Alejandro Sanz & Shakira - La Tortura

Ricky Martin - Livin la vida loca

Santana - Maria Maria

Music in the 2010's


Lady Gaga - Bad romance


Dance Punk Dance is a subgenre close by definition to dance pop. It takes the punk spirit from the 70's, inspired in characters as Sid Vicious, Davie Bowie or Madonna. All the instruments are electronic, with a great influence of techno style. Lyrics are harsher than dance pop, talking about sex, drugs and a great criticism to life. Usually they treat religious issues in a very disrespectful way. They also use autotune devices, but look for a rudeness voice. 

Some artists of this style use controversy and provocation as a constant weapon to promote their music. The dresses of Lady Gaga or the statements of other artists like Katy Perry always get the attention of the media, with the sole purpose of creating a social commotion.


Lady Gaga - Poker Face


Ke$ha - Die Young


Miley Cyrus - We can't stop

Youtubers & TV Shows

With the development of TV shows from the 1990's, a lot of different music contest appeared. The Voice, X-factor, Britain got talent, are a few of those TV-shows. So a lot of common people got famous with real skills, as professional musicians showed a complete lack of skills. Thanks to those talent shows and specially to youtube, they can make their own albums and share them out easiy and freely.

Most artists were known through TV Talent Show, like 1D, or through social media, like Justin Bieber. Different styles can be used, from country to vocal or classical, but normally those artist go mainstream and use Dance-pop, teen pop or Dubstep.

Pentatonix - Daft Punk

1D - What makes you beatiful


Postmodern Jukebox - Call me maybe


Justin Bieber - Baby



Boyce Avenue - All of me


Lindsey Stirling

Roundtable Rival


Against the current - Counting stars


J-Pop & K-Pop

PSY - Gangnam Style

Momoiro Clover Z - Ikuze! Kaitou Syoujo

AKB 48 - Lucky Cookie

J-pop (Japanese Pop) and K-pop (Korean Pop), natively also known simply as pops, are musical genres that entered the musical mainstream of Japan in the 1990s, but got an international success in th 2010's. Modern J-pop has its roots in traditional Japanese music, but significantly in 1960s pop and rock music, such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys, which led to Japanese rock bands such as Happy End fusing rock with Japanese music in the early 1970s. J-pop was further defined by new wave groups in the late 1970s, particularly electronic synthpop band Yellow Magic Orchestra and pop rock band Southern All Stars. The term was coined by the Japanese media to distinguish Japanese music from foreign music, and now refers to most Japanese popular music. The musical genre has been immensely influential in many other music styles, and hence those of neighboring regions, where the style has been copied by neighboring Asian regions, who have also borrowed the name to form their own musical identities, like korean pop.


Most of this music is under the influence of Anime, cosplay and manga. Some Japanese pop artists are extremely popular in Japan, and some also have fanbases in other countries—especially in Asia, but also in Western countries. They influence not only music, but also fashion.




Girl's Generation - Dancing Queen

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