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arena rock (or stadium rock) is a loosely defined term describing a generation of rock music. It was established by heavy metal, hard rock and progressive rock bands in the 1970s. Arena rock songs feature “slick productions”,an emphasis on vocal harmonies on the choruses and an “unnatural emphasis on large, anthemic hooks and choruses”, the last trait “setting it apart from its influences”.
Arena rock is defined by its loud audiences in concerts. It is music performed live in stadiums and arenas. Arena rock shows often feature “smoke bombs, laser light spectaculars, large amplifiers and video screens”,as well as “guitar pyrotechnics”.History
Arena rock’s origins can be traced to the 1960s and 1970s, with bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Who. Those bands “set the stage for huge live performances in stadiums and arenas around the globe.” Rolling Stone magazine, while reviewing The Who’s album Live at Leeds, wrote that “When the Who blew up Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” to Godzilla-like proportions, they invented Seventies arena rock.” The format was firmly established by bands such as Boston, Styx, Foreigner, Kiss, Journey, Queen, Kansas, Peter Frampton and Genesis. Those bands would go on to sell out the world’s largest venues throughout the 1970s and help make arena rock popular in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Arena rock’s popularity peaked in the 1980s with bands such as Heart, Reo Speedwagon, Journey and Styx.