Influenced by blues and country music, rock music first rose to prominence in the 1950s and remains one of the most recognisable and influential genres. At its simplest, rock music is based around the use of electric amplified instruments and is characterised by the use of 4/4 time signatures and verse-chorus forms. Some of the earliest pioneers of rock music include Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard. Rock music’s popularity is such that there are still new rock bands emerging all over the world today.
Subgenres of Rock Music
Over more than 60 years, new rock bands have diverged significantly from the genre’s origins and have given birth to a plethora of distinctive subgenres. Some of these include:
- Hard Rock – Characterised by aggressive vocals and distorted electric guitars. Artists include Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Van Halen, and Australian rock bands such as AC/DC.
- Progressive Rock – Characterised by complex time signatures, experimental compositional structures, and more prominent instrumentation. Artists include King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and Genesis.
- Psychedelic Rock – Characterised by the use of exotic instrumentation to replicate the effects of hallucinogenic drugs. Artists include the Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
- Punk Rock – Characterised by fast-paced songs and anti-establishment lyrics. Artists include the Sex Pistols, Green Day, and Blink-182.
- Alternative Rock – Characterised by its rejection of mainstream culture and socially relevant lyrics. Artists include Nirvana, Coldplay, and Radiohead.
Australian Rock Bands
Australian rock bands have enjoyed national and occasionally international recognition. Chief among these is AC/DC, formed in the early 1970s and one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time. Other prominent rock artists from Australia include Crowded House, INXS, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, and John Farnham. The latter is often considered the most successful solo artist in Australian history.
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