Classic rock music is a musical genre that relies heavily on popular songs that were produced in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Typically, the term is used to refer to radio stations. Most cities in the United States and in many other countries have at least one radio station that is dedicated to playing music from these decades. However, the term "classic rock" can also apply to musical groups in general.
The earliest form of classic rock music radio station was called album-oriented rock, or AOR. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, these stations played current music as well as music from the past, but in the mid-1980s, most AOR stations stopped playing new music and began to focus exclusively on playing classic rock. The first radio station to call itself a classic rock music station was Philadelphia's WYSP, in 1981; by 1984, more than 40 stations in the United States were using this term.
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Some of the bands that are commonly associated with classic rock music are the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, Aerosmith, AC/DC, Queen, and the Eagles. Though some of the artists played on these stations are still actively recording music, only their earlier hits are represented on the airwaves. Some classic rock stations also include popular hard rock and metal bands from the 1980s, such as Guns 'n Roses and Metallica. Recently, some stations have also begun to incorporate 1990s bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains into their rotation.
Classic rock music is typically most popular among people who were young when the music first came out. Today, that group includes 50 year olds who listened to the Beatles when they were young, 40 year olds who listened to the Eagles, or even 30 year olds who listened to Nirvana in their teenage years. The audience is primarily male, and so are most of the DJs associated with classic rock radio stations. There are also several magazines devoted to this style of music, such as Relix and Uncut.