"Rock and Roll Is Dead" is the first single released from the 1995 Lenny Kravitz album Circus. The song reached #75 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #22 on the UK Singles Chart. The music video was directed by Ruven Afanador. The video shows Kravitz performing the song with his band, as well as Kravitz with visual artistic related backgrounds.
"Rock and Roll Is Dead" is an uptempo rock song.
The guitar riffs in this song are very similar to the ones in "Heartbreaker" by Led Zeppelin.
Kravitz said about the meaning of "Rock and Roll Is Dead": "That song was completely misunderstood. A lot of people don't take [the song] that one layer deeper--they hear the title and chorus and take it at face value. They think I'm being serious when actually I'm a very big clown. But you have to know me to see that. I'm constantly cracking up and cracking everybody else around me up. People see my photos and think I labor over my image and I'm this cool, brooding artist. But I'm just having fun with it."
The same year that "Rock and Roll Is Dead" was released, Prince released a B-side called "Rock 'N' Roll Is Alive (And It Lives In Minneapolis)" for the single "Gold" from The Gold Experience album.
The song was covered by Mitsuki Aira on her debut album Copy.
Following its release, other artists have released songs of similar titles criticizing the demise of specific musical genres led by reckless artists, namely Marilyn Manson's 1999 "Rock Is Dead" and Nas' 2006 single "Hip-Hop Is Dead".
However, a song with same title in Russian (Рок-н-ролл мёртв) was issued on 1982 album Radio Africa by Aquarium.