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17 Rock Stars Who Claimed Rock Is Dead

The above gallery of Rock Stars Who Have Claimed Rock is Dead shows just how pervasive the sentiment is in the streaming age.

Gene Simmons has been perhaps the most consistently vocal figure to discuss the genre’s purported demise, but he was far from the first. In fact, the idea goes at least as far back as the late ’60s, when the Doors recorded “Rock Is Dead.” Into the early ’70s, as the music became more commercialized, the Who joined the discussion. But the bulk of worry over what might become of the original soundtrack for teen rebellion really ramped up more recently, as physical sales plummeted.

At the same time, radio stations began turning away from the rock format, as younger audiences focused on other genres. At the same time, the window for what is often considered “classic rock” recedes further into history with each passing year. Eventually, the DJ culture seemed to have definitively usurped guitar-oriented music in the youth consciousness.

Old-guard, label-based acts fought back hard against the online trend, but ultimately to no avail. By early 2017, streaming had overtaken physical sales. The beneficiaries of this technological realignment were rarely rockers, but rather acts like Drake – who led all artists in 2016 with more than 5.4 billion streams.

Along the way, some notables pushed back against the idea that the times had passed them by, including AC/DC, Slash, Ringo Starr and Styx, among others. Still, there was no denying how the paradigm had shifted. New albums from rock stars became fewer and farther between, as they increasingly focused on touring and – with legacy acts – lavish reissue campaigns.

So, who has already stuck a fork in this cherished music – and why? Click through the above gallery as we discuss Rock Stars Who Have Claimed Rock is Dead.

Next: Top 100 Classic Rock Artists

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