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Classic rock was originally conceived as a radio station programming format which evolved from the album oriented rock (AOR) format in the early-1980s. In the United States, this rock music format now features a large playlist of songs ranging from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, with some stations including a limited number of current releases.

The classic rock stations recreate the sound of Album Oriented Rock (AOR) stations of the 60s-90s (although usually with a much more limited playlist) and appeal mainly to adults, rather than teenagers. Some classic-rock stations also play a limited number of current releases which are stylistically consistent with the station's sound, such as fitting the vibe of the other rock music.

Unfortunately, the Classic Rock Format tends to play more of a top 40 Classic rock format rather than allowing for pop music, such as early Beatles i.e. She Loves You, I Wanna Hold Your Hand etc. (songs that made radio in the 60s) or deep cuts from 60s and 70s albums, again sticking mainly with the songs that made the top 40 charts, depending on the band - Led Zeppelin being an example of a band that gets more deep cuts than most, but try to find early Floyd or Genesis or J. Geils, for that matter, and you will be hard pressed. This is an old argument - if it wasn't for the Fabs, early Stones, Beach Boys, and Dylan going electric etc. would rock have gone the way it did and would we be having this discussion about where the dividing line is between Top 40 pop and Classic rock fall. .

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