Then and Now: Music from the 1950s and Today


Trishawna Lovato, Author

Music has evolved over the years in many ways. Some of the most memorable songs and artists were from the 1950s. From the 1950s to the 2000s there have been many changes. The only genres of popular music that were around then are R&B, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Pop, and Country — no hip hop, rap, techno, dubstep, etc.

Despite this, there were many good names that came out of the ‘50s. Most popular would be the “king” of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley. Many other memorable musicians of the time were Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Nat King Cole, Cab Calloway, etc.

Some of the movies that have 1950s music feature songs sung by these musicians, especially The Blues Brothers (1980), in which Cab Calloway sings one of his memorable songs, “Minnie the Moocher.” In Back to the Future, which came out in 1985, Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” is performed by the fictional character Marty McFly.

Many of these songs are still being played now and surpass the expectations of what most people today think of the music back then. For example, how did they do that without modern technology, such as Autotune, or other digital recording tools?

Today’s music doesn’t add up to what the 1950s gave us. According to an L.A Weekly writer, many bands today rely on lipsyncing, robotic drums, and autotune. According to SpectreSoundStudios (aka SMG Studios), a YouTuber who helps people mix, master, and record (as well as yells at stupid people who don’t know how to work in a band), some musicians today don’t know how to tune their guitars/basses or how to sing or play the drums. They also argue with the sound studios about the fees they charge or that they don’t perform certain mixing and mastering services for free.

Some bands back then did have some weaknesses, but not so bad as to be noticeable. But these problems now are very noticable. Many of SMG Studio’s friends, including Jen Majura from Evanescence and Nita Strauss from the Alice Cooper band, agree. They created a video of “stupid musician texts” called “YouTubers Read STUPID MUSICIAN TEXTS.”

Although there are only a handful of singers who don’t need Autotune (for example, Freddie Mercury, Billie Joe Armstrong, and Kurt Cobain, to name a few) or bands who bash on their bandmates on a regular basis, those people sound fantastic because they put a lot of work and dedication into what they’re doing. Those bands do it for the music and recognition while the other bands most likely just do it for the money.

Although there are these many differences from bands in the mid-1900s to the bands of today, there are still similar things that could be discovered if one looked hard enough to find them.