You’re sitting, playing trivia, and the question is, "Name any five rock bands of India," but you’re just sitting there, racking your brain but coming up with nothing. And we won’t blame you; the rock band or even any band scene in India is almost non-existent to people who aren’t deeply involved or interested in the area. But, it is important to know about your country’s pop culture and appreciate its uniqueness.
However, before getting into the names and stories of various bands, we must understand what rock music in India is and what its significance is. Indian Rock is a genre that incorporates both typical Indian music and rock music, and of course, is India-centric. You would typically relate Indian music to classical, filmi indie-pop, Bollywood, and Bhangra, while rock music is typically related to bands and artists producing their music.
In the 50s and 60s, rock music was first introduced to the Indian audience by the Gramophone Company of India. The president of the Firm, Bhaskar Menon, took the centre stage by playing an essential role in introducing rock to the Indian audience. Now that you've got a quick history lesson, it is time to move on to that million-dollar trivia question.
Formed in 1988 in Delhi by medical student Dr. Palash Sen and his friends, Euphoria may be one of the oldest still existing rock bands. Due to the struggle involved in breaking into the musical industry, the band didn't get their big break till ten years after their inception, when they released their first studio album named Dhoom, leading to commercial success and critical acclaim. After the release, Euphoria became the pioneer of Hindi rock in India.
Euphoria has released seven albums, becoming one of the highest-selling artists and the highest-selling band ever in India. Additionally, they have released sixteen singles by self-producing. They were featured in the Hall of Fame in 2012 by the Indian Recording Arts Academy at the Palm Expo in Mumbai.
Parikrama is a rock and roll band that came into being in Delhi, in 1991. The band is mainly known for their powerful live performances and original numbers. The name Parikrama means orbital revolutions in Sanskrit, which is in line with the music they produce.
They are yet to release a full-length album as they prefer to give out their music for free and don’t see it as a commodity for buying. They have millions of downloads through their websites and other related links. Anyone is free to use their songs as the music is not copyrighted; the band doesn’t have any policy against the distribution of their music and at the same time, is easily accessible.
They do not record their songs in studios: rather, they record the live performances and it is these songs that are then distributed. They also do not believe in the idea of compiling their music into an album. They just provide the songs and leave it to their listeners to curate an album according to their personal preferences.
3. The Local Train
The Local Train was formed in Chandigarh in 2008 and has been based in Delhi since 2015. The band started their journey into music with a stream of singles. The band’s debut album was released in 2015 and was named Alas Ka Ped. Their second album, Vaaqif, was released in 2018. Both albums were included in the top 5 streamed rock music albums on Apple Music.
The band is known for their Hindi and Urdu lyrics, often touching sensitive subjects like communism and faith, resulting in popularity amongst the younger audience of India. The Local Train often performs live at music festivals and live events across the country.
4. Them Clones
Them Clones is an Indian Rock Band formed in 2000 in Delhi. The band started by recording covers of popular rock and grunge classics, which subsequently led them to release their singles. They began their road to success by touring the University of Delhi and taking part in various music festivals and competitions, which helped them establish themselves. They released their debut album Love-Hate Heroes with Counter Culture Records/EMI Records.
The Band members were proclaimed as the ‘Chosen Ones’ at the Channel [V] Launchpad in 2005 and were also voted as the ‘Best Band’ at the Jack Daniel’s Rock Awards in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, they were the 2nd Runner up at the Channel [V] AMP Big Break All Asia. They continued this winning streak at the Jack Daniel’s Awards winning ‘Best Song’, ‘Best Vocalist’, and ‘Best Drummer’ Awards in 2009.
5. Indus Creed
Indus Creed is a Rock band based in Mumbai. It was founded in 1984 by the name of Rock Machine and then was renamed Indus Creed in 1993. It was also disbanded in 1997, only to regroup in 2010. Rock Machine was initially a cover band playing a mix of straight-ahead rock and hard rock. Rock Machine was one of the first rock bands to tour the country extensively. The band soon started composing their songs, which gained spectacular popularity.
In 1988, the band released its first album, Rock'n'Roll Renegade. Due to its high distribution, the album was proclaimed a huge success. Their energetic performance made them highly popular amongst the youth of the country. Their second album, The Second Coming, was released in 1990, and included songs that attracted a high number of listeners. Some songs weren’t as popular as others but their later popularity helped the band push themselves to the centre stage a few years later.
The inception of UTV and music videos helped the band propel itself into the mainstream and it continued to gain popularity in the 90s as well.
These are just a few of the Indian rock bands that have established a global name. Do explore other bands too, and expand your knowledge of the world of music.
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