1947/48 - Hank Williams, Arthur Crudup, Roy Brown, John Lee Hooker, Goree Carter
ROCK MUSIC IN THE 1940s
The first tracks of rock music were recorded in the USA in 1947-49 as outspreads from blues, country-music, swing-jazz and boogie-woogie. While three of those carry in them the obvious seeds of Bill Haley’s future hit 'Rock around the clock' (1955), four other tracks are precursors of both rockabilly and rythm'n'blues (RnB).
AMERICAN ROCK IN THE 1950s
At the end of the 50s, it was the rockabilly genre that had established itself as the symbol of rock'n'roll with the advent of Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and their likes. RnB also took off in the 1950s and also delivered huge rock hits including by superstars Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and James Brown & the Famous Flames.
AMERICAN ROCK IN THE 1960s
While Elvis Presley's 17-hit streak ended in 1962, "Let's Twist Again" (1962, Chubby Checker) and "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964, Roy Orbison) were the two iconic rockabilly songs of the 60s. Hailing from the West Coast, surf rock reached world fame in 1963 with the Beach Boys and Dick Dale. But the frenzy for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones gripped the United States in early 1964 and sparked both the "British Invasion" of the US charts and the influence of British beat on American rock.
Progressive rock started in the mid-60s and quickly became mainstream. Although folk singer Bob Dylan came under heavy criticism when he turned to electric rock in 1965, the following years spawned wide acceptance of many new styles of progressive rock. These include art rock (the Byrds, Grateful Dead), underground rock (the Mothers of Invention, the Velvet Underground), psychedelic rock (Jefferson Airplane, the Doors, Jimmy Hendrix, Iron Butterfly), hard rock (Steppenwolf, Rare Earth), jazz rock (Chicago Transit Authority, Blood Sweat & Tears), latin rock (Santana) as well as innovative forms of country rock (Buffalo Springfield, Creedence Clearwater Revival), soul rock (Janis Joplin, Tommy James & the Shondells) and blues rock (Canned Heat).
AMERICAN ROCK IN THE 1970s
Along with soul RnB, rock dominated the American music scene in the 70s. Punk rock and new wave also took hold during the decade notably with the advent of Patti Smith, Iggy & the Stogges and the Ramones for the earlier, the Talking Heads and B-52's for the latter.
AMERICAN ROCK IN THE 1980s
Traditional rock and hard rock gained maturity and momentum in the 80s, delivering stunning evergreen anthems. New wave rock developed and reached its peak notably with Prince, the Motels and the Cars while new forms of alternative rock emerged over the decade under the leadership of R.E.M. and the Pixies.
AMERICAN ROCK IN THE 1990s
The worldwide success of Nirvana and the grunge genre from the end of 1991 changed the world of rock music forever. During the 1990s, countless new forms of alternative rock reached mainstream audiences and spawned the indie rock wave, along with new genres of metal music. Trip-hop matured and achieved mass-popularity. The decade was also marked by the success of Red Hot Chili Peppers as well as superb rock productions by female musicians.