What is Classic Rock?

Today I watched an episode of Glee, in which the character of Rachel decides to sing a “classic rock” song, and then begins to sing One by U2. Ummmmmm…..what? Classic rock? I think not. Achtung Baby was released in 1991, which I know is 20 years ago, but does it fit into the classic rock genre?

All of this got me thinking – where is the line drawn as to when classic rock begins and ends? Or does it change with each passing generation?  Rachel mentions that she was born in 1994 (gulp, the year I graduated from high school), so is One a classic rock song for her generation, or should it just be in its own category, such as 90’s rock?

When I think of classic rock, I think of Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Who, Van Halen, Journey, to name a few… and I do not think that will ever change. Yet, I do remember the first time I was listening to a “classic rock” station and heard a Pearl Jam song from the album Ten being played. I think I yelled at the radio, “this is grunge, not classic rock!” And then I suddenly felt old. The music that was released while I was in high school was now classic rock.

So I am just throwing this question to the void – is classic rock an ever-changing definition that can be used once a song turns 20? Or should it stay true to where it began: the classic rock bands of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s?


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