The decade of the 1960s definitely saw the emergence of many top bands on the west coast, but there were also groups forming across the continent on the east coast. New York has always had a thriving rock scene and many bands have emerged from the city. One of the most iconic rock figures of the 1960s was Bob Dylan and he hailed from the New York music scene. Born in Minnesota he located in New York after dropping out from College playing mostly in Greenwich Village. He became known as the “voice of a generation” as his songs became anthems for the Civil Rights and anti-war movements. In his career he has sold more than 100 million records that included influences from country rock, gospel and blues.
The 1970s saw many bands emerge from the region with Blondie flying the flag for the new wave bands. Debbie Harry and her partner formed the band in 1974 and in the early years they were more popular in the UK than they were at home. Being seen as an underground band this image all changed when the album “Parallel Lines” was released in 1978. This was the turning point for the band as several of their singles went on to become nationwide hits.
Forming at the same time as Blondie, in Queens, New York were the Ramones. Although none of the band weren’t related they all adopted the surname Ramone. The group are cited as being one of the first punk rock bands. They were more influential in the States than they were in the UK and led the way for punk rock in the country. Their style was very quick, even for a punk band. Even though they never sold the amount of records that other bands have their influence on the American rock scene is constantly recognized.
A band that has sold many records are Bruce Springsteen and the E street band, who have sold more than 120 million records world-wide. Hailing from Freehold in New Jersey his music reflected the daily lives of working class people in the area. Having started performing in the 1960s it took many years before he made the break through with his 1975 album “Born to Run”. From this point the clever lyrics written by Springsteen, blended well with the traditional rock sounds that the groups music produced, and more best-selling music was produced.
Aerosmith are seen as one of the biggest groups associated with glam rock, and are the biggest selling hard rock group of all time. The band were formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1970 and really made their break through with their 1975 album “Toys in the Attic”. Their music was a mixture of blues-based hard rock, heavy metal and pop. Their image was controversial, and they were sometimes known as “the Bad Boys from Boston”. Despite drug addiction leading to the departure of founder members Joe Perry and Brad Whitford, the Band has sold more than 150 million records around the world.
The emergence of so many bands in the 1970s and 1980s on the east coast also included Patti Smith, the Talking Heads, Boston and the Cars. There was more of a new wave feel to these groups and perhaps they grew by exploring some of the social issues that were being experienced within the region as a result of de-industrialization.