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Before the birth of rock
Since the early 1940s, in spite of the German Occupation (1940-1944) and the following Civil War (1944-1948), young people have parties and dance tango and swing. In early 1950s, a portion of the youth develops a new kind of culture opposing the social conservatism and political corruption of the time. They declare their devotion to art and love and they socialize and entertain themselves in unconventional ways, adopting what we call today a rock culture and lifestyle.
Greece discovers rock 'n' roll
This tendency was advanced by the...American naval base of Elliniko, in 1957. Every Sunday morning, American sailors had their own party at Zappeio, playing swing songs and the latest hits of Bill Halley and Elvis on a small platform, while teaching young Greek women how to dance rock 'n' roll songs. People flooded the area. Cinemas assumed a part in this change by projecting movies like "Blackboard jungle", "Jailhouse Rock" with Elvis Presley, etc.
Vinyl records, which replaced the gramophone records, prevailed in the early 1960s and facilitated the wider spread of rock 'n' roll.
However, it would take three to four more years for Greek youth to start experimenting with this new kind of music.
The early days
After 1960, the first "modern" bands, according to the terminology of that time, made their appearance. The more commercial and pop oriented FORMINX, who introduced the legendary yianka, set off a band-frenzy with young people from every neighborhood creating their own band, changing their guitar sounds to electric. The IDOLS, the JUNIORS and the CHARMS follow, using English and later on Greek lyrics. The first to implement Greek lyrics into their songs were the OLYMPIANS.
A secondary tendency, less commercial, inspired by Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and generally a more ideological side of rock, would give birth to "To fortigo" (The lorry) by Dionysis Savopoulos and the "In concert and in the studio" by Giorgos Romanos, accompanied by the members of the group APHRODITE'S CHILD.
Greek psychedelic rock emerges in 1967 and coincides with the Greek military junta. It's represented by the "English-speaking" SOCRATES DRANK THE CONIUM, APHRODITE'S CHILD, M.G.C., who don't make their own music but play songs of the American and English pioneers and the "Greek-speaking" PELOMA BOKIOU, POLL, NOSTRADAMOS, EXADACTYLOS, DAMON AND FIDIAS, BOURBOULIA, and others. During the same time Savopoulos publishes "To perivoli" (The orchard) in 1969, "Ballos" in 1970 and "Vromiko psomi" (Foul bread) in 1972.
The rebel and political song (see relevant chapter) abates rock songs in the time period between 1973-1976.
The Exarchia square in Athens became the centre of rock revival in 1976. Dimitris Poulikakos recorded the "Metaforai-Ekdromai o Mitsos" (Mitsos's transit- excursions) in 1976. Pavlos Sidiropoulos with "Spyridoula" created the "Flou" (vague) and the "En Leuko" (in white) with the APROSARMOSTOI, while SOCRATES recorded "Phos" (light).
In 1981, SHARP TIES reinstate the use of English lyrics and for a time become very popular. At the same time there is an evident satirical mood represented by Tzimis Panousis and the "Mousikes Taxiarchies" (Music Brigades), as well as Zorz Pilali. Vangelis Germanos, Lakis Papadopoulos, Xaris and Panos Katsimichas, Fatme and Termites express more romantic ideas, while Pavlos Sidiropoulos continues in his own style with the "Aprosarmostoi".
Punk rock music flourishes in this decade as well, with its most significant representatives being PANX ROMANA, GENIA TOU CHAOUS (The chaos generation), and others.
This period was very important and very productive for the Greek rock scene, which had now matured. The bands were many. Some of them started in the 1980s like TRYPES, VILLA 21, LAST DRIVE, MAGIC DE SPELL, while others were just starting like CLOSER, XAXAKES, XILINA SPATHIA, PIX LAX, YPOGIA REVMATA, DIAFANA KRINA, BLE, ECHO TATOO, DEUS EX MACHINA, ENDELECHIA, LOST BODIES, and the AERA PATERA.
In this period the heavy metal scene presents ROTTING CHRIST, while electronic rock appears with STEREO NOVA.