The Secret Influence of Blues On Popular Music

There’s a line from an old blues song that says, “the blues had a baby…and they called it rock n’ roll.”

Believe me, there is much truth in that statement You can listen to all the first rock n’ roll songs and hear the blues guitar riffs, chord progressions and scales being played, just in a less bluesy kinda way.

“Johnny B. Good” is a key example of a blues guitar progression being played with a rock drum beat and a vocal melody that is unusual from how a blues vocal melody would sound. It doesn’t finish there though. The influence on modern music is nonetheless very prevalent. We hear it in hip-hop, rock, emo, indie, reggae, r & b, funk, etc

The commonly used 1 – 4 – 5 chord progression (3 chords) that is used in blues is also used in almost EVERY type of music that exists. Even Beethovan uses this chord progression as well as many others from the classical period. Not only do blues guitar riffs and chord progressions gets played in modern music, but virtually all guitar solos also have blues overtones in country music as well as the other styles that I mentioned. It has been a Essential component in organizing the shape sound of modern music no matter how you look at it.

Discovering how to play the blues should be a top priority on any guitar players ‘to-do’ list. Once you learn the ins and outs of this genre, you can improvise it to create your own classic songs, riffs and/or solos. Many guitar players that I know improvize on the blues scale to make their main riffs and super spectacular leads as well as use the chord progressions to write radical, more modern music.

Don’t let anybody convince you that the blues is dead!

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