Which is better rock or pop music

Pop music - attempt to clarify musical terms

The derivation of the term is easy to explain: "Pop music" stands for "popular music". However, almost nobody would think of calling the music of the baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach "pop music", although the works of the Thomaskantor were already very popular during his lifetime. After all, he has been given the title of "First Jazz Player in Music History". The reason: "Because he could improvise so wonderfully".

If you leaf through the DW online pages, you will discover the article "Martin Luther - the Church's first pop musician". Who would have thought, the great reformer of the church loved music and composed around 40 songs and chorales, which he also used to spread his new understanding of theology.

A look at the lexicon

Before we land in paradise with Adam and Eve when looking at pop history, we'd better take a look at the reference work "Wikipedia". There the definition looks like this: "Pop music (from English popular music) describes a form of music that has emerged mainly from rock 'n' roll, beat music and folk since the 1950s, continued by the Beatles and by the Swedish band ABBA has been popularized since the early 1970s. " That sounds very plausible. The Beatles and ABBA know and worship several generations around the world. Even the youngest music fans might have heard the names of these two bands before.

Chuck Berry - one of the first pop stars

Popularity as a key criterion

Below, the online encyclopedia explains that "in the broader sense, every type of popular music distributed through the mass media, such as hits, film scores, operettas, musicals, dance music and popular adaptations from classical music and folklore, counts as pop music".
Then Bach, Luther and certainly Paganini and Mozart were pop stars after all. Just like Germany's hit queen Helene Fischer. Does that also apply to musical stars like the German Angelika Milster or only to world stars like Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly from Hollywood?

The term pop star

The British star violinist Nigel Kennedy is definitely a pop star in the classical music scene. He crosses the genre boundaries of classical and jazz. The virtuoso music rebel can be seen and heard on December 31 at our "Pop24" theme day on DW's German TV program. We are showing a concert from the Jazzfest Bonn 2015 with a "Jimi Hendrix" project.

The German violinist David Garrett is also often referred to as a pop star. His albums are selling extremely well. He is relatively young and looks cool and even manages to sit out private embarrassments. These are clearly important qualities of a pop star.

David Garrett - pop star from Germany

Even years after his death, Michael Jackson is considered the undisputed "King of Pop". So he's something like the greatest pop star of all. Many other pop stars and starlets, however, often end up in the drawer of oblivion after a short time. Just think of the participants in the many music casting shows.


The term "pop music" first appeared in the 1950s. Rock 'n' Roll, which was still young, became very popular in a very short time thanks to the record, radio and television. Then the beat music and the rock music followed. All later styles of music such as hip-hop, electronics or metal are pop music. Pop singer Heino is also so well known and successful that almost every fan of German songs should know him. He's also a pop star. Diversity is the main characteristic of pop music.

If you would like to know how much fun pop music can make music fans of all kinds, then take a look at the program for our "Pop24" theme day on the German-language TV channel on December 31st (start: 10.15 am CET, 9.15 am UTC). There we show concerts by Nena, Faithless, Sarah Connor, Culture Club, Jeff Beck, Milow and Emeli Sandé, among others.