Eric Clapton’s revived interest in playing acoustic guitar led to his legendary “MTV Unplugged” performance and subsequent Grammy Award-winning recording. His popularity helped revive acoustic guitar sales nationwide in the mid-1980s.
Rock and roll transformed itself into a corporate product in the 1970s. With huge live tours and mass-marketed promotional items, the pop music industry made more money than ever. It failed, however, to drive much in the way of musical instrument sales.
A new recording product, cassette tapes, blasted out of portable “boom boxes” and the Sony Walkman™. Compact Disc technology made vinyl records obsolete, and rock videos, born in 1981 with MTV’s first broadcast, became the most influential pop art form of the decade.
If nothing else, rock was diverse. Mellow harmonies of California Rock contrasted with the angry loud reaction of Punk and New Wave. Progressive Rock put a synthesizer twist on classical motifs. The aggressive guitar riffs of Heavy Metal competed with glittery, Glamour rock soloists. Black and Latino music, too, offered diverse styles.
Listeners were left without a focus and music retailers without many customers until technology saved the day.
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