History of Alternative music
Alternative music was a phrase invented in early 80s describing bands which broke from the barrage of pop and hair metal and formed a new direction of more focused and honest rock. It includes many subcategories including but not limited to Grunge, Hard Rock, Rock, Experimental Rock, Progressive Rock, College Rock, Gothic Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk Rock, Power Pop, Hardcore Punk, New Wave. Their only real connection in terms of roots is the English punk movement. In the early eighties alternative music was limited to a few college radio stations. In the mid 80s as it became more popular It began to take over college radio throughout the country. In the late 80s commercial stations slowly began to embrace what up till then had been known as college rock. They never sold many albums but the influence on the music community would be felt in a big way soon when the format evolved to the next stage. Grunge.
The first alternative music was made in the late 60s with groups like The Velvet Underground, Iggy and the Stooges, MC5, and The Silver Apples. The trend continued through out the 70s with bands like David Bowie, T-Rex, Can, Neu, Kraftwerk, Television and The New York Dolls and combined intellectual lyrics with artistic expression. All of these groups would become building blocks in Punk rock in about 76-77. Punk rock was very important to the progression of Alternative music by returning it to a more basic and accessible format. By 80 Punk was transforming into New Wave and the tradition was passed on to a new generation.
In the early to mid 80's bands like REM and Echo & the Bunnymen were getting major airplay on the college radio stations as well as 120 Minutes on MTV and other TV venues. Soon major Alternative radio stations began appearing around the US. Independent or rock record labels were discovering a scene awash with untapped talent. In 1991 when Nirvana's album Nevermind hit the charts there were some changes in the genre. Alternative music was now a part of the mainstream. New releases who didn't belong were now being put into the Alternative category. Metallica, Gin Blossoms, Sonic Youth, Ani DiFranco, Alice in Chains, and Oasis were all now being marketed as alternative. Many people despise the term Alternative Music because everything under the sun is now labeled alternative music causing the term to actually become a term describing popular music. There are rock Record labels and artists who are true to the definition of Alternative music as a way to express ideas and songs which fall outside the pop genre. As long as these musicians and labels continue to make honest and artful music with intellectual sensibilities then the genre will continue to thrive.