Rock History

June 22, 2012 | In: Music History


Rock music is a genre specific to the second half of the 20th century and the first half of the 21st. There are two main instruments needed to play rock music: the guitar (6 string guitar and bass guitar) and drums.

Rock music first appeared in the 50s, when country and blues merged, creating rock n roll. Subsequent, elements of rhythm and blues were added.

Until the 70s, rock and roll ruled over everyone’s stereo player and could be heard in every club in the US. After the 70s, punk, heavy metal, alternative rock and other subgenres appeared and started new musical eras.

Initially, rock and roll was played mostly by black people, like Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard and so on. After that, white rock and roll singers took the stage and were later accused of stealing black music and turning it in to a white one. Singers like Bill Haley, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash became rock and roll idols over night.

Elvis Presley’s music crossed the ocean and the first country to hear it was Great Britain. In the 60s, many bands from Britain got to know world fame, including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Animals or The Yardbirds. These bands played what was known as British Rock.

In the USA, folk music merged with rock and roll, resulting Folk Rock. Its main representatives were Bob Dylan, The Mammas and the Pappas, Neil Young, The Birds, etc.

The next big thing in terms of rock music was the subgenre Psychedelic Rock. It appeared as a reaction to the spiritual crisis of communist societies. This kind of rock was a more complex one, with major influences, represented by bands like The Doors, The Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, The Who, The Velvet Underground and so on.

Rock music is one of the most influential genres of all times and that is a fact. But its influence skyrocketed after the 1969 festival, Woodstock.

After Woodstock, the psychedelic rock splits into many other subgenres. Its parts change their orientation to a more specialized public, developing more profound lyrics than the psychedelic ones, making way for the progressive rock, a subgenre that resorted to elements of cult and classical music. We must mention here band like: Genesis (with Phil Collins on drums), Yes, King Crimson, Emerson, Frank Zappa, Kansas, Rush and many more.

In the mid 60s, in Britain, a new genre lurks from the underground: hard rock, the mother of heavy metal. It soon separated from all other rock subspecies, becoming an individual culture. Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, Van Halen, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Whitesnake, Scorpions are just a few hard rock bands. In the 80, many subgenres emerge from hard rock, including heavy metal, glam metal, power metal, speed metal, doom metal, gothic metal, death metal, thrash metal and black metal.

Another subgenre of hard rock is punk rock, appearing in the mid 70s. I’m sure you all heard about Sex Pistols, Ramones, The Clash and Patti Smith. Even today, punk is associated to anarchism.

After that, rock music split into many, many subgenres, numbering more than 150 today.


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