It’s without a doubt that between 1960-1996 rock ‘n’ roll music dominated and influenced the world and generations to come. However, it’s clear that the take over of hip-hop as the modern day rock ‘n’ roll in today’s world started during the 1980s. As a result of the hip-hop take over, the children of today may never be exposed to rock ‘n’ roll greats such as Nirvana, The Beatles, or Led Zeppelin. Although hip-hop has created a whole new and beautiful era of culture for the world to embrace, it’s equally important to remember and honor rock ‘n’ roll for providing the world with what is considered as some of the best music in modern history. I’ve recently started to listen to rock ‘n’ roll again, of which I grew up on, and I can’t help but share the rediscovered love I have for this music. So I have compiled some rock ‘n’ roll ballads that I’ve been jamming out to lately for your listening pleasure:
Love Reign O’er Me- The Who
“Love Reign O’er Me” comes off of The Who’s classic 1974 rock opera Quadrophenia. This is one of my personal favorite rock ‘n’ roll albums that I’ve grown to love ever since my father gave me the album for Christmas years ago. “Love Reign O’er Me” is the last track on Quadrophenia which tells of a personal crisis of Jimmy, the main character on Quadrophenia. The enticement of “Love Reign O’er Me” stems from Roger Daltrey’s profound vocals as he so effortlessly laces through the powerful guitar, piano, and violin. The perfect combination of instrumentation and awe-inspiring vocals make this record infectious and one of my favorites.
Layla- Derek and the Dominoes
“Layla” is a rock classic written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon and originally released by their band Derek and the Dominoes on their album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs in November 1970. The song’s iconic guitar riff and piano coda defines the song and makes it one of rock’s most well known love songs. Interestingly enough, The Story of Layla and Majun, written by the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, heavily influenced the song. The story tells of a young man, Majun, falling in love with a beautiful woman, Layla. However, Layla can’t fall in love with Majun and it drives him to insanity. This story heavily influenced Clapton due to his secret romance with Patti Boyd who was George Harrison’s then wife during the 1960s. Nonetheless, the tasteful and eclectic tune is modern art, in rock ‘n’ roll form, at it’s finest.
Gimme Shelter- The Rolling Stones
Written during 1969, “Gimmer Shelter” appeared on The Rolling Stone’s 1969 album Let it Bleed, which reflects a bleak worldview during the Vietnam War. Merry Clayton provides the female vocals throughout the track of which are a prominent staple to the song. With Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, known as one of the best song writing duos of all time contributing to the record, it’s hard not to feel the raw emotion of this fiery track.
Angel- Jimi Hendrix
In my opinion, “Angel” is one of his most underrated and unknown tracks of Jimi Hendrix. The song was released on the posthumous release of Hendrix’s fourth studio album The Cry of Love in 1971. Interestingly enough, Hendrix had been working on the song for years dating back to 1967. In an interview in 1967 with Meatball Fulton, aka Thomas Lopez, Hendrix describes a dream he had about his mother, which influenced the song. It’s sweet release of love and rock ‘n’ roll gives me goose bumps each time I listen to it.
Love Her Madly- The Doors
“Love Her Madly” is the single of The Doors’ last studio album L.A. Woman, which was released in April 1971. The song presents the listener with an easy listening tune that anyone can sit and vibe out to. The song ended up being one of The Doors’ highest charting songs as it reached to number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. Combined with Morrison’s poetic lyrics and the band’s psychedelic and bluesy sound, “Love Her Madly” still has my head bobbing to this day.
These songs are a sturdy bridge for those who decide to walk over it into the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Hopefully, these bitchin’ records help you solidify yourself in the world of rock ‘n’ roll to enjoy and to cherish forever.