Arena rock

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"Dad rock" redirects here. For the classic rock radio format, see Classic rock.

Arena rock (variously known as "pomp rock",[1] "stadium rock",[2] "anthem rock",[3] "corporate rock",[4] "melodic rock",[1] "dad rock",[1] or "album-oriented rock"[1]) is a style of rock music that originated in the mid 1970s. As hard rock and indie rock bands became increasingly popular, arena rock developed from their use of more commercially oriented and radio-friendly sounds, with highly-produced music that includes both rockers and power ballads, both often employing anthemic choruses.[5]


Queen during a live concert in Norway in 1982.
A Queen concert in Drammen, Norway in April 1982, showing the scale and lighting of an arena rock concert.

In the mid-1970s, increased power of amplification and sound systems allowed the use of larger and larger venues.[6] Smoke, fireworks and sophisticated lighting shows became staples of arena rock performances.[7] It has been argued that the rise of arena rock marked the end of the idealism of the 1960s, particularly in the disillusionment that followed the Altamont Free Concert of 1969, for a more commercial form of rock.[6]

The use of commercial sponsorship for the large-scale tours and concerts of this era began to lead to the music being branded, usually pejoratively, as corporate rock.[8] The popularity of stadium rock resulted in a number of reactions, including the pub rock[9] and punk rock movements in the 1970s.[10] In the 1980s, arena rock became dominated by glam metal bands, following the lead of Aerosmith[2] and including Mötley Crüe, Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P. and Ratt. Their popularity was challenged by the alternative rock bands who began to breakthrough to the mainstream, particularly after the success of Nirvana, from the early 1990s.[11]

List of artists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Crystal, David (2014). Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 220. ISBN 0-19-968047-7. 
  2. ^ a b Joyner 2008, p. 261.
  3. ^ Donaldson, Gary A. (2009). The Making of Modern America: the Nation from 1945 to the Present. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 248. ISBN 0-7425-4820-1. 
  4. ^ Smith, Chris (2006). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History: From Arenas to the Underground, 1974–1980. Greenwood Press. p. 74. ISBN 0-313-32937-0. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Pop/Rock » Hard Rock » Arena Rock". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Waksman 2009, pp. 21–31.
  7. ^ Shuker, Roy (2002). Popular Music: the Key Concepts (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. p. 158. ISBN 0-415-28425-2. 
  8. ^ Reynolds, William M; Webber, Julie A (2004). Expanding Curriculum Theory: Dis/positions and Lines of Flight. London: Routledge. p. 24. ISBN 0-8058-4664-6. 
  9. ^ Bennett, Andy (2006). "Even better than the real thing? Understanding the tribute band phenomenon". In Homan, Shane. Access All Eras: Tribute Bands and Global Pop Culture. Hill International. p. 26. ISBN 0-335-21690-0. 
  10. ^ Browne, Pat; Browne, Ray B. (2001). The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Popular Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-87972-821-3. 
  11. ^ "Pop/Rock » Heavy Metal » Hair Metal". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 6 July 2010. 
  12. ^ Stout, Gene (2 March 2006). "Bon Jovi will make a local band's day at Monday's KeyArena concert". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 10 April 2017. 
  13. ^ a b Shepherd 2003, p. 423.
  14. ^ Buckley, Peter (2003). The Rough Guide to Rock (3rd ed.). Rough Guides. p. 835. ISBN 1-84353-105-4.