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20 Ways Classic Rock Changed Forever in the Past Five Years

You say it’s your birthday? Well, It’s our birthday too, yeah! Ultimate Classic Rock first launched on May 16, 2011. The anniversary got us thinking about all the ways classic rock changed forever in the past five years, as you’ll see in this list of the era’s innovations, losses and beginnings.

Sure, we’ve seen bands make surprising reunions, while others broke apart. We’ve seen legends pass on too. But all of it happened against a background of dizzying change in music, as downloads overtook physical project – only to begin yielding to streaming technology. At the same time, cellphones changed the concert experience like nothing since fans first held a lit Bic lighter aloft at their favorite venue.

Even as Axl Rose got back together with Slash – and Fleetwood Mac got back together with Christine McVie, and bands like AC/DC, the Grateful Dead and Queen found intriguing ways to move forward in the 21st century’s second decade – bands were forced to take a look at how tours did business. With sales of compact discs plummeting, every possible revenue stream had to be explored while they were out on the road. That gave rise to VIP packages and meet-and-greet opportunities often costing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

As classic rock moves into its golden years, many legends fell. The deaths of Lemmy Kilmister and then Glenn Frey brought to an end two of music’s best-known bands, for example, within weeks of one another. But for every ending, it seemed like there was another new start. Billy Gibbons and Steven Tyler explored sounds well outside what might have been expected from fans of ZZ Top and Aerosmith, respectively.

As seen in this list of 20 ways classic rock changed forever in the past five years, it’s been quite a ride.

Next: AC/DC Albums Ranked Worst to Best

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