乡村流行 Country Pop



早期: 纳什维尔之声
乡村音乐第一次融合流行榜可能性是在1960年代,由Owen Bradley 和 Chet Atkins 创立,并称自己作纳什维尔之音(Nashville Sound)。
这是故意让乡村音乐歌手在流行音乐里能够取得更大的成功,以便销售他们的专辑。第一位成为这个新起的音乐类型男歌手是Jim Reeves和Eddy Arnold,两位均被广泛承认在乡村音乐和流行音乐。第一位成为这个新起的音乐类型女歌手是1960年代早期的Patsy Cline。她培育很多例如Crystal Gayle和仙妮亚·唐恩等在后期成为杰出的歌手。即使Patsy Cline被普遍承认在乡村音乐和流行音乐里,纳什维尔之声走红的时间不是很长,由开始被Bakersfield Sound投诉,之后引至Outlaw Country风暴(Outlaw country)。

乡村流行音乐在1970年代因为多位流行歌手如 Glen Campbell, John Denver, Olivia Newton-John和Anne Murray,都有热门歌曲在乡村音乐榜,因而开始被广泛接受。像Glen Campbell 的歌曲《Rhinestone Cowboy》,曾是在乡村音乐史上,在流行音乐界和乡村音乐界均极受欢迎的歌曲之一。这些以流行音乐为主的歌手为了增加销售量和赢取更多歌迷源,而纷纷跨足至乡村音乐界。
在云云未被欣赏的乡村流行乐歌手当中,Olivia Newton-John就是其中一位,她在1970年中期在澳大利亚显露出来。当她的作品《Let Me Be There》成为1974年横跨流行音乐和乡村音乐两边的名曲时,尤其在Olivia Newton-John凭此曲赢得格莱美奖“最佳乡村女歌手”和乡村女歌手最梦寐以求的奖项──CMA“年度最佳乡村女歌手”后,事情变得更具争议性。
一群因当时的趋势而感到不安的歌手们,在1974年成为组成了一个名为“Association of Country Entertainers ”的组织。事情在1975年开始白热化,延伸至该年的美国年度乡村音乐奖(CMA),而当前任“最佳艺人”Charlie Rich负责把奖项颁发给得奖者─约翰·丹佛时把事件推至顶峰。当Charlie Rich正读出约翰·丹佛的名字之前,用打火机把信封烧着。Charlie Rich的这个行为被视为对对乡村音乐加入更多流行元素提出抗议。
在1977年,肯尼·罗杰斯(Kenny Rogers)推出了单曲《Lucille》令他成为乡村流行乐最成功的人士,《Lucille》几乎在国际间各大大小小的排行榜都名列前矛,把乡村流行乐推至极盛时期。期后,肯尼·罗杰斯推出了一系列,包括全由Larry Butler制作的《Daytime Friends》、《 The Gambler》和《Coward of the County》,均在全球的流行榜和乡村榜榜上有名。肯尼·罗杰斯把他在乡村音乐的影响力扩大至流行音乐里,演唱由The Bee Gees、Lionel Richie、David Foster和George Martin制作的歌曲,全部都在乡村音乐和流行音乐的市场里取得成功。
但是在1980年代中期,更多传统乡村音乐的歌迷得不到持续地焦躁不安。接下来的几年,即使很多乡村流行歌手继续制作很多热门歌曲,乡村电台仍被Neotraditional Country的歌手控制。

乡村流行音乐在1990年代复苏,最初是因为 Garth Brooks。 仙妮亚·唐恩(Shania Twain)期后取得成功。近代的乡村音乐歌手黎安·莱姆丝(LeAnn Rimes)证明她有能力唱乡村流行音乐歌曲,例如《How Do I Live》(在告示牌热门100榜连续69周,比在历史上任何歌留停得更久,包括她的热门歌曲《Can't Fight the Moonlight》)。
在乡村流行音乐里受欢迎的歌手包括Alabama, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, 黎安·莱姆丝, 约翰·丹佛, Lila McCann, 菲丝·希尔, 提姆·麦克罗, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, 卡丽·安德伍, Big and Rich, Trace Adkins, Ronnie Milsap, Rascal Flatts, Eddie Rabbitt, 肯尼·罗杰斯(Kenny Rogers), 仙妮亚·唐恩, Glen Campbell, 和 泰勒·斯威夫特.
近年来,有很多流行音乐歌手把事业跨至乡村音乐。至2003年, Sheryl Crow, Michelle Branch (The Wreckers), Los Lonely Boys, MercyMe 和 Kid Rock都有歌曲在热门乡村单曲及歌曲榜上 。Jimmy Buffett, 艾尔顿·约翰, Uncle Kracker, John Mellencamp, 和 Bret Michaels 各自都有与乡村音乐歌手合唱,那些歌手也被列入为乡村流行乐。
当乡村流行乐的支持者声称已经有很多新的歌迷喜爱这种音乐类型,其他人(特别是旧式乡村音乐歌手和歌迷)比较接受传统模式,批评乡村流行乐。他们主要批评乡村流行乐太过商业化,特别是那些自1990年代制作的歌曲太过主流流行音乐──即使缺少了像 pop-sounding的下属类型。肯尼·罗杰斯回应双方争论时说:“For Country music, I'm not Country enough. Everywhere else I'm too Country”。

Prior to the rise of rock & roll, country music was rarely heard outside of its intended market, effectively isolating it from any concerns about wide accessibility. When rockabilly took off, however, country musicians were forced to consider whether their true affinities lay with traditional country or with this popular new style, which allowed artists to reach crossover audiences for the first time. This flirtation with the mainstream marked the beginnings of country-pop, which grew out of the realization that country-influenced music (as opposed to straight-ahead honky tonk) could be hybridized and smoothed out for mass consumption. RCA Records producer Chet Atkins was the most important figure in the initial cross-breeding of country and pop, creating a sound that was dubbed "countrypolitan" for its blend of rural sensibility and urban sophistication. Because the melodies and song structures of country music were usually very simple and catchy, they worked well when placed in a pop-oriented format; Atkins' productions often placed the songs in orchestral arrangements heavy on the strings, which sometimes blended with country instrumentation and sometimes stood alone. This approach resulted in a bevy of pop crossover hits for singers who could make the transition to Atkins' smooth, polished style, most notably Jim Reeves. Decca Records producer Owen Bradley crafted an even lusher sound for his artists, most importantly providing the sympathetic sonic environment that best showcased the angelic voice of Patsy Cline, and making her a star in the process. Countrypolitan pop eventually came to be tagged "the Nashville Sound," since nearly all of its records were produced there. But even as its practitioners racked up hit after hit, the first of many backlashes against country-pop began to form in the 1960s among artists frustrated at not fitting into the Nashville mold; the biggest came in the form of the Bakersfield sound, with its hard-driving beat, electric instrumentation, and love of old-style honky tonk. Nevertheless, the Nashville sound continued to prosper among fans of mainstream-oriented country. In fact, it became more popular than ever during the '70s thanks to producer Billy Sherrill, whose orchestrations and recordings were even more grandiose and detailed, and owed as much to "Wall of Sound" rock producer Phil Spector as they did to Atkins and Bradley; George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich, and Conway Twitty all benefited immensely from his touch. A simpler country-pop sound, which more closely resembled pop/rock with country trappings, also made inroads on non-country radio during the decade, thanks in part to country-rock fusion efforts by Bob Dylan, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers; this sound was spearheaded by artists like Glen Campbell, John Denver and B.J. Thomas. The mid-'70s saw another rebellion in the edgier, more eclectic form of outlaw country, but by the end of the decade, the film Urban Cowboy had popularized a new variation on country-pop (named after the film), which smoothed the music out even more by blending it with soft-rock influences. During the mid- to late '80s, the new traditionalist movement sought to return country to its honky tonk roots, but its polished (yet not elaborate) production helped lay the groundwork for a new breed of country-pop that was informed by rock & roll, both in its driving beat and its big-sounding production techniques. This sound made Garth Brooks a superstar during the '90s and brought pop crossover success to Billy Ray Cyrus; toward the end of the decade, the emphasis had shifted to female vocalists like Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes, and Faith Hill, whose brands of country-pop could encompass soft-rock covers, roots-rock, or arena-rock-style production.

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