Several artists have been influential in the development of trop rock or by increasing the style’s popularity. The musical influences, fashions, instrumentation and lyrics have changed with the times, but the characteristics of trop rock remain firmly in place. Artists continue to create laid back music, which takes listeners away from where they are, to the beach. There they can experience the sensations of wind, the smell of coconuts and drinks by the water.
Important Artists for the Development of Trop Rock
The most influential artist in the early development of the style is Jimmy Buffet. He created a beach persona to go with the easy-going combination of sounds he was playing, including rock, pop, and country, developed around Key West in the 1970s. He has certainly been prolific, and has performed live gigs, written books and even appeared in films. His look has always been a laid back one, and he often wears flip flops and colourful shirts when he appears on stage or in public. A tropical subculture was created with his Coral Reefer Band in the 1980s.
Bertie Higgins had a huge hit called ‘Key Largo’ in the 1980s, which cemented him as a well-established artist. He played alongside the Beach Boys but developed a style which was quite distinctive, and could be described as more Florida sounding than California, where the Beach Boys were from. The California sound was all about fast cars, beaches and romance by the waves. However, Bertie Higgins’ music was more about moonlit nights, lapping water and palm trees, which reflected Florida.
Other Artists Who Have Made Trop Rock Famous Throughout the World
Jack Johnson has been responsible for bringing his easy-going acoustic sounds to audiences across the world. His style could be considered soft rock or surf rock, and many of the themes of his songs cross over into the form of trop rock. His songs about togetherness, the environment, beaches and a general laid back sound, resonate with trop rock listeners.
Hard-working touring bands, such as the Boat Drunks, continue to play to audiences all over the coast. Their distinctive harmonica and acoustic sound continue to keep the trop rock genre alive all over the US, just like other touring bands.
Trop rock requires all kinds of artists with distinctive styles to broaden its audiences in the US and all over the world. Hard-working touring bands and mainstream artists will make sure that the early contributions of the style by Bertie Higgins and Jimmy Buffet will not be wasted.