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Rock Music

Updated on February 27, 2008


Rock music is a form of popular music with a prominent vocal melody accompanied by guitar, drums and bass. Many styles of rock music also use keyboard instruments such as organ piano or synthesizers. Rock music usually has a strong back beat, and often revolves around guitar, either electric or acoustic.

Rock music has its roots in 1950s-era rock and roll and rockabilly. In the late 1960s, rock music was blended with folk music to create folk rock, and with jazz, to create jazz-rock fusion. In the 1970s, rock incorporated influences from soul, funk, and latin music. Also in the 1970s, rock developed a number of subgenres, such as soft rock, blues rock, hard rock, progressive rock, heavy metal and punk rock. Rock subgenres from the 1980s included glam metal, synth-rock and alternative rock. In the 1990s, rock subgenres included grunge-style rock, Britpop, Indie rock, sufi rock and nu metal.


Rock 'n' roll came from rhythm & blues, country, and in turn its influence fed back to these cultures, a process of borrowings, influences that continue to develop rock music. Rock 'n' roll had runaway success in the U.S. and brought rhythm and blues-influenced music to an international audience. Its success led to a dilution of the meaning of the term "rock and roll", as promoters were quick to attach the label to other commercial pop.

Rock 'n' roll started off in the early-to-mid 1950s in the United States. African-American artists such as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, and Fats Domino played predominantly to African American crowds. While these key early rockers were indisposed to racism, local authorities and dance halls were very much divided upon racial lines.

Mainstream acceptance of rock and roll came in the mid-1950s when what Bo Diddley describes as 'ofay dudes' (or Caucasians) signed to major labels and started covering their material. Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and the Comets, Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash often toured and played together in dance halls and clubs across the US and Britain.

Towards the end of the 1950s "chessboard" crowds (both black and white patrons) would emerge at Rock and Roll concerts as fans discovered the original artists of the songs they knew from television and the radio, such as Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti". The genre ignited British enthusiasm for rhythm and blues and the development of British rock.

Early British Rock Music

In the United Kingdom the traditional jazz movement brought visiting blues music artists to Britain. Lonnie Donegan's 1955 hit "Rock Island Line" was a major influence, and helped to develop the trend of skiffle music groups throughout the country, including John Lennon's The Quarry Men, the 1957 precursor to The Beatles. Britain developed a major rock and roll scene, without the race barriers which kept "race records" or rhythm and blues separate in the U.S.

Cliff Richard had the first British rock 'n' roll hit with "Move It", effectively ushering in the sound of British rock. At the start of the 1960s, his backing group The Shadows was one of a number of groups having success with surf music instrumentals. And while rock 'n' roll was fading into lightweight pop and schmaltzy ballads, at clubs and local dances British rock groups, heavily influenced by blues-rock pioneers like Alexis Korner, were starting to play with an intensity and drive seldom found in white American acts.

By the end of 1962, the British rock scene had started, with groups drawing on a wide range of American influences including soul music, rhythm and blues and surf music. Initially, they reinterpreted standard American tunes, playing for dancers doing the Twist, for example. These groups eventually infused their original rock compositions with increasingly complex musical ideas.

The Beatles brought together an appealing mix of image, songwriting and personality, and achieved an unprecedented level of worldwide popularity. In mid-1962 the Rolling Stones started as one of a number of groups increasingly showing blues influence, along with The Animals and The Yardbirds. In late 1964, The Kinks, The Who and The Pretty Things represented the new Mod style. Towards the end of the decade, British rock groups began to explore psychedelic musical styles that made reference to the drug subculture and hallucinogenic experiences.

After their initial success in the UK, The Beatles launched a large-scale US tour to a frenzy of fan interest known as Beatlemania, which spread worldwide with the Beatles' first visit to the US in 1964 including their debut on the Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 1964. In the wake of Beatlemania, other British bands headed to the US, notably the Rolling Stones, The Animals, and The Yardbirds.

1960's Garage Rock

The British Invasion spawned a wave of imitators that played mainly to local audiences and made inexpensive recordings, a movement later called garage rock. Some music from this trend is included in the compilation album Nuggets. Some of the better known bands of this genre include The Sonics, & the Mysterians, and The Standells.

1960's Surf Music

The rockabilly sound influenced a wild, mostly instrumental sound called surf music, though surf culture saw itself as a competing youth culture to rock and roll. This style, exemplified by Dick Dale and The Surfaris, featured faster tempos, innovative percussion, and reverb- and echo-drenched electric guitar sounds. In the UK, British groups included The Shadows. Other West Coast bands, such as The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean slowed the tempos down and added lush harmony vocals to create what became known as the "California Sound".

Folk Rock

The folk scene was made up of folk music lovers who liked acoustic instruments, traditional songs, and blues music with a socially progressive message. The folk genre was pioneered by Woody Guthrie. Bob Dylan came to the fore in this movement, and his hits with Blowin' in the Wind and Masters of War brought "protest songs" to a wider public.

The Byrds, who playing Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, helped to start the trend of folk rock, and helped to stimulate the development of psychedelic rock. Dylan continued, with his "Like a Rolling Stone" becoming a US hit single. Neil Young's lyrical inventiveness and wailing electric guitar attack created a variation of folk rock. Other folk rock artists include Simon & Garfunkel, The Mamas & the Papas, Joni Mitchell and The Band.

In Britain, Fairport Convention began applying rock techniques to traditional British folk songs, followed by groups such as Steeleye Span, Lindisfarne, Pentangle, and Trees. The same approach was done in Brittany by Alan Stivell .

Ramones - Seal CD Case
Ramones - Seal CD Case

The Ramones seal - with band members names - is on the front of this cool CD case. Band name embroidered in purple on the bottom and in white on the side. White stitching accenting and heavy duty zipper for security--


Psychedelic Rock Music

Psychedelia began in the folk scene, with the Holy Modal Rounders introducing the term in 1964. With a background including folk and jug band music, The Grateful Dead fell in with Ken Kesey's LSD fuelled Merry Pranksters, playing at their Acid Tests then providing an electric acid rock soundtrack to their Trips Festival of January 1966, together with Big Brother & the Holding Company.

The Fillmore was a regular venue for groups like another former jug band, Country Joe and the Fish, and Jefferson Airplane. Elsewhere, The Byrds had a hit with Eight Miles High. This song was also the breakthrough for Dutch band Golden Earring on their first tour of the USA in 1969, when they also were regulars at The Fillmore and stretched their version of "Eight Miles High" to over 40 minutes filled with jams and solos. The 13th Floor Elevators titled their album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. The music increasingly became associated with opposition to the Vietnam War.

In England, Pink Floyd had been developing psychedelic rock since 1965 in the underground culture scene. In 1966 the band Soft Machine was formed. Donovan had a folk music-influenced hit with Sunshine Superman, one of the early psychedelic pop records. In August 1966 The Beatles released their Revolver album, which featured psychedelia in Tomorrow Never Knows and in Yellow Submarine. The Beach Boys responded in the U.S. with Pet Sounds. From a blues rock background, the British supergroup Cream debuted in December, and Jimi Hendrix became popular in Britain before returning to the US.

January 1967 brought the first album from The Doors. As the year went by many other pioneering groups got records out, with Pink Floyd's Arnold Layne in March only hinting at their live sound. The Beatles' groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in June, and by the end of the year Pink Floyd's The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Cream's Disraeli Gears.

The culmination of rock and roll as a socially-unifying force was seen in the rock festivals of the late '60s, the most famous of which was Woodstock in 1969 which began as a three-day arts and music festival and turned into a "happening", as hundreds of thousands of youthful fans converged on the site.

Progressive Rock

Progressive rock bands went beyond the established rock music formulas by experimenting with different instruments, song types, and musical forms. Some bands such as Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues, Procol Harum, and Golden Earring experimented with new instruments including wind sections, string sections, and full orchestras. Many of these bands moved well beyond the formulaic three-minute rock songs into longer, increasingly sophisticated songs and chord structures. A good example is Golden Earring's "Radar Love". With inspiration from these earlier artists, referred to as "proto-prog", it flowered into its own genre, initially based in the UK, after King Crimson's 1969 genre-defining debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King. Progressive rock bands borrowed musical ideas from classical, jazz, electronic, and experimental music. Progressive rock songs ranged from lush, beautiful songs to atonal, dissonant, and complex songs. Few achieved major mainstream success, but large cults followed many of the groups. Pink Floyd, Yes, Jethro Tull, and a few less notable others were able to work in hit singles to their otherwise complex and untraditional albums to garner a larger audience.

More Progressive Rock

By the late-1960s, German audiences began listening to progressive rock bands from Britain and the United States. During this period, avant-garde musicians in Germany were playing electronic classical music. These German avant-garde musicians adapted their electronic instruments for a style of music that blended progressive rock and psychedelic rock sounds. By the early 1970s, German progressive rock (later called krautrock) bands were blending jazz (Can) and Asian music (Popol Vuh). The music by these bands influenced the development of techno and other related genres.

Soft Rock

Rock music had a short-lived "bubble gum pop" era, of soft rock, including groups such as The Partridge Family, The Cowsills, The Osmonds, and The Archies. Other bands or artists added more orchestration and created a popular genre known as soft rock. Performers included Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Olivia Newton-John, and Eric Carmen, and groups such as Bread, The Carpenters, Electric Light Orchestra, England Dan & John Ford Coley, and Tina Turner.

Mid to late 1970's Rock

A second wave of British rock bands became popular during the 70s, with groups that were more steeped in American blues music than their more pop-oriented predecessors. Bands such as Cream, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Judas Priest, Queen and Black Sabbath played highly amplified, guitar-driven blues-rock. These bands laid the foundations for the heavy metal rock sound.

Heavy metal languished into obscurity in the mid 1970s. A few bands including Queen, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith maintained large followings and there were occasional mainstream hits such as Blue Ãyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) the Reaper". Music critics overwhelmingly disliked the genre. This began to change in 1978 following the release of Van Halen's eponymous debut. The album helped to usher in an era of high-energy rock and roll, based out of Los Angeles, California.

Arena Rock

The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Grand Funk Railroad and The Who began the practice of live performances for large audiences in stadiums and arenas. The growing popularity of metal and progressive rock led to more bands selling out large venues. Entertainment companies marketed a series of arena rock bands, such as: Journey, Boston, Styx and Foreigner in the late 70s.

Punk Rock

Punk rock started off as a reaction to the lush, producer-driven sounds of disco, and against the perceived commercialism of progressive rock that had become arena rock. Early punk borrowed heavily from the garage band ethic: played by bands for which expert musicianship was not a requirement, punk was stripped-down, three-chord music that could be played easily. Many of these bands also intended to shock mainstream society, rejecting the "peace and love" image of the prior musical rebellion of the 1960s which had degenerated, punks thought, into mellow disco culture. Ramones drummer Tommy Ramone stated, "In its initial form, a lot of [1960s] stuff was innovative and exciting. Unfortunately, what happens is that people who could not hold a candle to the likes of Hendrix started noodling away. Soon you had endless solos that went nowhere. By 1973, I knew that what was needed was some pure, stripped down, no bullshit rock 'n' roll".

While the Ramones were often regarded as the first punk band, they had many contemporaries from the same era in the New York scene. Artists like Patti Smith, The Heartbreakers, and Television, played the same fast paced, stripped-down, style of rock, and often played shows along with the Ramones at burgeoning club CBGB's.

In 1976 the Ramones, along with British punk band the Sex Pistols, went on a tour of the United Kingdom. The tour was widely credited for inspiring the first wave of English punk bands such as, The Clash, The Damned, and the Buzzcocks. In England, the music became a more violent and political form of expression, represented with the Sex Pistols first two singles "Anarchy in the U.K." and "God Save the Queen". Despite an airplay ban on the BBC, the records rose to the top chart position in the UK. Other bands, like the Clash, were less nihilistic but more overtly political and idealistic.

As the Sex Pistols toured America, they spread their music to the West Coast. Before, punk was mostly an East Coast phenomenon in the US, with scenes in New York and Washington D.C.. In the late 70s California punk bands such as the Dead Kennedys, X and Black Flag, gained greater exposure.

New Wave

Punk rock attracted devotees from the art and collegiate world and soon bands sporting a more literate, arty approach, such as the Talking Heads, and Devo began to infiltrate the punk scene; in some quarters the description New Wave began to be used to differentiate these less overtly punk bands.

If punk rock was a social and musical phenomenon, it garnered little in the way of record sales (small specialty labels such as Stiff Records had released much of the punk music to date) or American radio airplay, as the radio scene continued to be dominated by mainstream formats such as disco and album-oriented rock. Record executives, who had been mostly mystified by the punk movement, recognized the potential of the more accessible New Wave acts and began aggressively signing and marketing any band that could claim a remote connection to punk or New Wave. Many of these bands, such as The Cars and The Go-Go's were essentially pop bands dressed up in New Wave regalia; others, including The Police and The Pretenders managed to parlay the boost of the New Wave movement into long-lived and artistically lauded careers.

Between 1982 and 1985, influenced by Kraftwerk and Gary Numan, New Wave went in the direction of such New Romantics as Duran Duran, A Flock of Seagulls, Psychedelic Furs, Talk Talk and the Eurythmics, sometimes using the synthesizer entirely in place of other instruments. This period coincided with the rise of MTV and led to a great deal of exposure for this brand of synth-pop. Some rockbands reinvented themselves and profited too from MTV's airplay, for instance Golden Earring, who had a second round of success with Twilight Zone, but in general the times of guitar-oriented rock were over. Although many "Greatest of New Wave" collections feature popular songs from this era, New Wave more properly refers to the earlier "skinny tie" rock bands such as The Knack or Blondie.

Post Punk

Alongside New Wave, post-punk developed as an outgrowth of punk rock. Sometimes thought of as interchangeable with New Wave, post-punk was typically more challenging, arty, and abrasive. The movement was effectively started by the debut of Public Image Ltd. in 1978, formed by former Sex Pistols singer John Lydon (formerly Johnny Rotten), and was soon joined by bands such as Joy Division, Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Fall, Gang of Four, and Echo & the Bunnymen. Predominantly a British phenomenon, the genre continued into the 1980s with some commercial exposure domestically and overseas, but the most successful band to emerge from post-punk was Ireland's U2, which by the 1980s had become one of the biggest bands in the world

1980's Rock

In the 1980s, popular rock diversified. This period also saw the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The early part of the decade saw Eddie Van Halen achieve musical innovations in rock guitar, while vocalists David Lee Roth (of Van Halen) and Freddie Mercury (of Queen as he had been doing throughout the 1970s) raised the role of frontman to near performance art standards. Bono of U2 would continue this trend. Concurrently, pop-New Wave bands remained popular, with performers like Billy Idol and The Go-Go's gaining fame. American heartland rock gained a strong following, exemplified by Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Donnie Iris, John (Cougar) Mellencamp and others. Led by the American folk singer-songwriter Paul Simon and the British former prog rock star Peter Gabriel, rock and roll fused with a variety of folk music styles from around the world; this fusion came to be known as "world music", and included fusions like aboriginal rock.

Glam Metal

One genre that grew in popularity in the 1980s (c.1983) was glam metal. Taking influence from various artists such as Aerosmith, Alice Cooper (though they were not glam bands themselves), Sweet and the New York Dolls. The earliest glam metal bands to gain notability included: Mötley Crüe, W.A.S.P. and Ratt. They became known for their debauched lifestyles, teased hair and use of make-up and clothing. Their songs were bombastic, aggressive, and often defiantly macho, with lyrics focused on sex, drinking, drugs, and the occult.

By the mid 1980s, a formula developed in which a glam metal band had two hits -- one a "power ballad" (slow-dance tempo, but is just as loud and driving as anything else by the group), and the other a hard-rocking anthem. In 1987 a second wave of glam metal acts, sometimes referred to as sleaze rock, emerged including: Guns N' Roses, L.A. Guns and Faster Pussycat. Guns N' Roses' debut album, Appetite for Destruction, became a huge seller. The band would continue its success into the early 90s, with the release of Use Your Illusion I & II.

Instrumental Rock

Instrumental rock was also popularised during this period with Joe Satriani's release of Surfing with the Alien. With many heavy metal guitarists being virtuosos, many of them felt constrained by their bands and were releasing solo albums. Guitarists such as George Lynch, Steve Vai, Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Morse have all greatly contributed to the genre.


The term alternative music (also often known as alternative rock) was coined in the early 1980s to describe bands which didn't fit into the mainstream genres of the time. Bands dubbed "alternative" could be most any style not typically heard on the radio; however, most alternative bands were unified by their collective debt to punk. Important bands of the '80s alternative movement included R.E.M., Sonic Youth, The Smiths, Pixies, Hüsker Dü, The Cure, and countless others. Artists largely were confined to indie record labels, building an extensive underground music scene based around college radio, fanzines, touring, and word-of-mouth. Although these groups never generated spectacular album sales, they exerted a considerable influence on the generation of musicians who came of age in the 80s and ended up breaking through to mainstream success in the 1990s. Notable styles of alternative rock during the 80s include jangle pop, gothic rock, college rock, and indie rock. The next decade would see the success of grunge in the US and Britpop in the UK, bringing alternative rock into the mainstream.


By the 1980s, rock was dominated by slick and commercial glam metal, hair metal and arena rock artists. MTV had arrived and promoted this excessive focus on image and style. Disaffected by this, in the mid-1980s, bands in Washington state (particularly in the Seattle area) formed a new style of rock music which sharply contrasted the mainstream rock of the time.

The developing genre came to be known as "grunge", a term meaning "dirt" or "filth". The term was perhaps seen as appropriate due to the dirty sound of the music and the unkempt appearance of most musicians. Grunge fused elements of hardcore punk and heavy metal into a single sound, and made heavy use of guitar distortion, fuzz and feedback. The lyrics were typically apathetic and angst-filled, and often concerned themes such as social alienation and entrapment. Although it was also known for its dark humour and parodies of commercial rock.

Bands such as Green River, Soundgarden, the Melvins and Skin Yard pioneered the genre, with Mudhoney becoming the most successful by the end of the decade. However grunge remained largely a local phenomenon until 1991, when Nirvana's album Nevermind broke into the mainstream. Pearl Jam also contributed to this with their album Ten. Both bands were more melodic than their predecessors and were instant sensations worldwide, but they refused to buy in to corporate promotion and marketing mechanisms. During 1991 and 1992, other grunge bands such as Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and L7 gained a wider audience. Commercial rock and metal faded almost completely from the mainstream.

While grunge itself can be seen as somewhat limited in range, its influence was felt across many geographic and musical boundaries; many artists who were similarly disaffected with commercial rock music suddenly found record companies and audiences willing to listen, and dozens of disparate acts positioned themselves as alternatives to mainstream music; thus alternative rock emerged from the underground.

In early April 1994, grunge took a sudden shift in popularity with the death of Nirvana's frontman Kurt Cobain. Although grunge bands continued to release albums, the genre was rapidly declining in popularity, and by the mid- to late-1990s, many grunge bands had split up, stopped touring, or had changed their musical direction.


While America was full of grunge, post-grunge, and hip hop, Britain launched a 1960s revival in the mid-90s, often called Britpop, with bands like Suede, Oasis, Supergrass, The Verve, Radiohead, Pulp and Blur (pictured). These bands drew on myriad styles from the 80s British rock underground, including twee pop, shoegazing and space rock as well as traditional British guitar influences like the Beatles and glam rock. For a time, the Oasis-Blur rivalry was similar to the Beatles-Rolling Stones rivalry. While bands like Blur tended to follow on from the Small Faces and The Kinks, Oasis mixed the attitude of the Rolling Stones with the melody of the Beatles. The Verve and Radiohead took inspiration from performers like Elvis Costello, Pink Floyd and R.E.M. with their progressive rock music, manifested in Radiohead's most famous album, OK Computer. These bands became very successful, and for a time Oasis was given the title "the biggest band in the world" thanks to an album selling some 19 million copies worldwide but slowed down after band breakups, publicity disasters in the United States and slightly less popular support. The Verve disbanded after on-going turmoil in the band, but on the other hand Radiohead threw themselves into electronic experimentation in their latest records and have stood the test of time in both the U.K and the USA as a major act.

Indie Rock

By the mid-90s, the term "alternative music" had lost much of its original meaning as rock radio and record buyers embraced increasingly slick, commercialized, and highly marketed forms of the genre. At the end of the decade, hip hop music had pushed much of alternative rock out of the mainstream, and most of what was left played pop-punk and highly polished versions of a grunge/rock mishmash.

Many acts that, by choice or fate, remained outside the commercial mainstream became part of the indie rock movement. Indie rock acts placed a premium on maintaining complete control of their music and careers, often releasing albums on their own independent record labels and relying on touring, word-of-mouth, and airplay on independent or college radio stations for promotion. Linked by an ethos more than a musical approach, the indie rock movement encompasses a wide range of styles, from hard-edged, grunge influenced bands like Superchunk (pictured) to do-it-yourself experimental bands like Pavement to punk-folk singers such as Ani DiFranco.

Currently, many countries have an extensive local indie scene, flourishing with bands with much less popularity than commercial bands, just enough of it to survive inside the respective country, but virtually unknown outside them.

Stoner Rock

Influenced by psychedelic blues-rock, the riff-oriented structure of early heavy metal, and the raw and dirty sound of grunge, stoner rock and stoner metal (known collectively as "stoner music") emerged in the early 1990s. Stoner music is characterised by its low-tuned, heavily distorted and bassy guitar sound. It often contains significant repetition with variation, and attempts to simulate the effects of marijuana or LSD.

Bands from southern California's Palm Desert Scene, particularly Kyuss, (pictured) are often regarded as the pioneers of stoner music. Their sound has been continued on by descendant bands such as Queens of the Stone Age and Fu Manchu. However, stoner music has since spread across the globe, with bands such as Acid King in San Francisco, Acrimony in the United Kingdom, and Wolfmother in Australia. Although stoner music remains the cornerstone of the independent recording industry, there are few mainstream exceptions; most notably Queens of the Stone Age and Wolfmother.

Rock 1994-1999

With the death of Kurt Cobain, rock and roll music searched for a new face, sound, and trend. A second wave of alternative rock bands began to become popular, with grunge declining in the mid-90s. A fusion of pop music and punk rock, known as pop punk had been around since the 80s. In 1994 pop punk bands like Green Day and The Offspring brought the genre, to the mainstream with their multi-platinum selling albums Dookie and Smash respectively. As the 90s progressed other pop punk bands like NOFX and blink-182 also experienced success. Many pop-punk bands are known to go against society and government. In 2002 the album Rock Against Bush was introduced.there are many different punk bands on it including: Anti-Flag, NOFX, Sum 41, and The Offspring. Avril Lavigne (pictured) is now called "Pop-Punk princess".

Post Grunge

Also in the wake of Cobain's death, many considered grunge to have died with him. A new style of music called post-grunge evolved. Much like the case of pop punk and punk rock, post-grunge differed from grunge in its more mainstraim sound such as being more radio friendly. Bands like the Foo Fighters, (pictured) Creed, Razerhunger,Everclear, and Live spearheaded rock radio by playing this style of music.

Female solo artist Alanis Morissette also found success while being labeled under the post-grunge tag. In 1995 her album Jagged Little Pill became a major hit by featuring blunt, revealing songs such as "You Oughta Know". Combining the confessional, female-centered lyrics of artists such as Tori Amos with a post-grunge, guitar-based sound created by producer Glen Ballard, it succeeded in moving the introspection that had become so common in grunge to the mainstream. The success of Jagged Little Pill influenced successful more pop-oriented female artists during the late 90s including Fiona Apple and Jewel.

Rapcore and Nu-Metal

In the early 90s bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers (in photo), Rage Against the Machine, P.O.D. and later Deftones and Korn had brought a fresh sound by combining rap and rock with much success. Later in the decade this style, which contained a mix of grunge, metal, and hip-hop, became known as rapcore and spawned a wave of successful bands like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. Many of these bands also considered themselves a part of the similar genre nu metal.

2000 - Now

In the early 2000s the entire music industry was shaken by claims of massive theft of music rights using file-sharing tools such as Napster, resulting in lawsuits against private file-sharers by the recording industry group the RIAA.

During much of the 2000s, rock has not featured as prominently in album sales in the US as in other countries such as the UK and Australia. By contrast to those countries, hip hop music has dominated the US single charts, with artists such as The Game, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Nelly, Eminem and Jay-Z. According to a recent study by Teenage Research Unlimited, hip hop is the most popular format of music among adults from ages 18-34 in the United States. R&B acts like Mariah Carey , Usher and Alicia Keys are very popular on the pop charts, although with the exception of Carey, none of these acts, rap or R&B, sell as many albums as rock did. Nearly all of the best selling albums of all time are still rock.

The biggest factor that has contributed to the resurgence of rock music is the rise of paid digital downloads in the 2000s. During the 90s, the importance of the buyable music single faded when Billboard allowed singles without buyable, album-separate versions to enter its Hot 100 chart (charting only with radio airplay). The vast majority of songs bought on paid download sites are singles bought from their albums; songs that are bought on a song-by-song basis off artist's albums are considered sales of singles, even though they have no official buyable single.

Garage Rock Revival

After existing in the musical underground, garage rock saw a resurgence of popularity in the early 2000s, with the garage rock revival. Bands like The White Stripes, (In photo) The Strokes, Jet, The Vines, and The Hives all released successful singles and albums. This wave is often referred to as back-to-basics rock because of its raw sound.


A current rock trend is a style of punk that is referred to as emo and also 'screamo' music. It draws its style from softer punk and alternative rock styles from the 1980s. Many new bands have become well-known since 2001, including Hawthorne Heights, Mayday Parade, Something Corporate, My Chemical Romance, (In photo) Dashboard Confessional, Amelie, Thursday, and The Used. Green Day has been called emo among other bands, however, this subgenre has come to be frequently maligned by many rock enthusiasts. And many of the bands who are viewed to belong to the genre attempt to avoid being referred to as Emo.

Post Punk Revival

Additionally, the retro trend has led to a post-punk revival. Bands like Hot Hot Heat, The Libertines, The Killers, Bloc party, Franz Ferdinand,(pictured) Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, and The Bravery mix post-punk sensibilities with electronic beats, and are among the UK's biggest selling artists

Some Rock Trivia.......

The first record released in Britain to feature the words Rock and Roll was "Bloodnock's Rock And Roll Call", a 1956 record from The Goon Show.

There have been many songs with the title "Rock and Roll" from The Treniers in the 1950s to Led Zeppelin, (pictured) The Velvet Underground and Gary Glitter in the 1970s as well as Rainbow, The Rolling Stones and Daft Punk in the late 1990s. However, Trixie Smith is possibly the first artist to incorporate the words in the 1922 record "My Man Rocks Me with One Steady Roll".

Approximately from the same time (during the 1920s or 30s), there is an early use of the term "rock and roll": There is a song from The Boswell Sisters which is called "Rock and Roll": "The name of their song "Rock and Roll" is an early use of the term (though far from the first). It is not one of the sisters' hotter numbers; it refers to "the rolling rocking rhythm of the sea". The Boswell Sisters recorded songs only from 1925 to 1936, so this must be one of the first songs, if not the first, to be called "Rock and Roll".

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