College rock

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College rock
Stylistic originsPunk rock, post-punk, new wave
Cultural originsLate 1970s and early 1980s; United States, United Kingdom and Australia
Typical instrumentsGuitar, bass, keyboard, drums
Derivative formsIndie rock, grunge, indie pop, alternative dance
Regional scenes
Massachusetts
Other topics
Alternative bandsCollege radioAlternative history120 MinutesBillboard Modern Rock TracksCMJ New Music Report
 
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College rock
Stylistic originsPunk rock, post-punk, new wave
Cultural originsLate 1970s and early 1980s; United States, United Kingdom and Australia
Typical instrumentsGuitar, bass, keyboard, drums
Derivative formsIndie rock, grunge, indie pop, alternative dance
Regional scenes
Massachusetts
Other topics
Alternative bandsCollege radioAlternative history120 MinutesBillboard Modern Rock TracksCMJ New Music Report

In the United States and Canada, college rock was the term for 1980's alternative rock. College rock was played on student-run university and college campus radio stations located in the United States and Canada in the 1980s. The stations' playlists were often created by students who avoided the mainstream rock played on commercial radio stations.[1][2]

Music[edit]

The bands of this category combined the experimentation of post-punk and New wave with a more melodic pop style and an underground sensibility. It is not necessarily a genre term, but there do exist some common aesthetics among college rock bands. Artists such as R.E.M., U2, The Cure, Camper Van Beethoven, The Smiths, XTC, and The Replacements became some of the better-known examples in the mid 1980s.

Overview[edit]

By 1988, some college rock artists had begun to gain mainstream recognition with several having singles reach Top 40 portion of the Billboard Hot 100. Among these were The Church, whose single "Under the Milky Way" peaked at #26,[3] Midnight Oil, who reached #17 with their single "Beds Are Burning"[4] and Love and Rockets, whose single "So Alive" peaked at #3 in 1989.[5] Also by 1988, R.E.M. had become popular on mainstream pop radio due to the success of their singles "The One I Love" and "Stand".[6]

The CMJ New Music Report was a publication that reported on the scene that created a chart which measured popularity of artists played on college radio. The journal's charts were used by Rolling Stone magazine and other media.[7] In September 1988, Billboard introduced the Modern Rock Tracks chart which monitored airplay on so-called "modern rock" and college radio stations. Several college rock artists were highly successful on the chart during its first few years in existence.

By the 1990s, the use of the term "college rock" for this style of music was largely replaced with the terms "alternative" and "indie rock". Many 1980s college radio music directors went on to have successful careers in the mainstream American music industry.[7]

References[edit]