Pop music is a music genre that arose in the 50s as the evolution of a branch of rock’n’roll. Pop music is designed for popular and mass consumption: a set of music trends that are very catchy, have a simple language and uncommitted themes. The term comes from the English word ‘popular’ and it refers to artistic and cultural movements of different kind that had a mass diffusion starting from the 60s. The origin of pop is linked to a change in mentality that started after the end of WWII and continued during the Cold War: circumstances that instilled in the new generation a thirst for revenge and spiritual rebirth. The history of pop started in the United States, but the genre spread with the British Beatles, and the band became the idol of teenagers all around the world. The Beatles made some of the most famous pop songs, such as She Loves You, Yesterday and Hey Jude, among others.
In the following decade, the music industry focused on a younger audience: the goal was that of creating idols that would win teenagers over. It was the time of Abba, the Bee Gees (Stayin’ Alive), Elton John, David Bowie, Donna Summer. In the late 70s the last authentically pop commercial phenomenon started: disco-music, which arose in clubs. ‘Pop’ became a prefix or suffix to define genres that were very difficult to label, like pop-rock, bubblegum-pop, soul-pop, synth-pop, up to electro-pop. In the 80s, there was the rise of artists that were destined to mark the international music scene. With Madonna and Michael Jackson the phenomenon of ‘star worship’ achieved its maximum results, which were later picked up by artists like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, or by boy and girl bands like Take That and Spice Girls.
The improvement of living standards gave new generations a consumption capacity and an independence that were unknown before. Record companies saw in the emancipation of the youth a fertile soil for new products. The market was bound not only to the artist’s music, but also to their image. That is why pop deeply affects the music scene, customs and fashion.