Pop & Rock in Switzerland - From the Beginnings until 1985 (2)

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Rock: Self-Realisation before Popular Art CD anthology Vol.2/5 swissinfo in collaboration with SUISA Foundation

This content was published on April 5, 2002 minutes

Musical identity

By the end of the sixties many young Swiss rock musicians were trying to find their personal musical identity and to establish their music as an independent art form. The "super group" Krokodil was tinkering on a unique, consciously noncommercial sound, a mixture of Alp groove, LSD hallucinations, folk and blues. They were driven by the drive for self-realization rather than winning over audiences. International stars such as Vanilla Fudge or Pink Floyd were important models for them. Stylistic boundaries were broken; jazz and classical music became important influences in the rock music of the early seventies.

From a progressive sound to hard rock

Although some of the "progressive" Swiss rock bands from the seventies such as Toad, Brainticket and Shiver earned international recognition with their complex, epic works, their music was conceived primarily for a small circle of young nonconformists and dropouts, perhaps even more so than the insider beat sound of the sixties. This style of rock music finally began to reach larger audiences due to a growing hard rock movement in provincial towns such as Solothurn: The most successfull representative of the Swiss hard rock sound and perhaps the most successful Swiss band on an international level was Krokus. Their driving songs and riff style won over large audiences even in the United States, the home of rock.

More successful abroad

Strangely enough, hard rock made in Switzerland generally had a more difficult time at home than in other countries where the precise Swiss were always welcome guests. The hard rock groups in Switzerland gradually faded into the shadows of dialect rock and new wave music at the beginning of the eighties. Nevertheless, a good number of hard rock fanatics have survived up to this day. A new movement began to form around two bands from Geneva, The Needles and The Maniacs, during the mid-eighties. They heralded in the revival of the electric guitar, orienting themselves on classic rock'n'roll and beat from the sixties.

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