Nothing stays popular forever, and by the ’90s, rock had in turn been supplanted by hip-hop as America’s top-selling pop-music genre. But the splintering of our common culture prevented hip-hop from developing into the new lingua franca. Instead, we now have many popular musics, none of which has anything remotely approaching the cultural dominance that was enjoyed by rock and roll for more than a quarter-century.
I was 14 when Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" was released. I routinely turned on Bandstand when I came home from school (I watched it before Dick Clark became its host). So I think it fair to consider myself as having been present at the creation of rock music. And I certainly listened to enough of it. But I find, now that I am an old man, that it is the music I heard before rock came along — music that I heard when I was very young, the music of the '40s and early '50s — that I listen to more and more. Go figure.