Inside AOR, the most under-appreciated sub-genre of all time

Dee Yonker

Rock’s historians have conveniently sidelined the Adult (some prefer Album) Orientated Rock scene of the 1970s. Today it seems that many critics traditionally mock the progenitors of melodic rock for shaggy perms, tight satin strides and excessive use of keyboards – or completely ignore them. Which is a shame, as the chart domination of Journey, Boston, Styx, Foreigner et al is often erroneously seen as an irrelevant footnote of the decade’s music.

And yet the statistics speak for themselves. It was unfashionable Styx that became the first group to enjoy four consecutive triple-platinum albums (1977’s The Grand Illusion through Paradise Theater in 1980). It was Journey and Styx that flew between shows in private jets. It was Boston whose self-titled debut went on to sell over 16 million copies in the US alone. And despite being snubbed by every talent scout in America, Foreigner burst out of the box with their own quadruple-platinum debut. 

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