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Folk rock is a hybrid
music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in practice these terms are some ...
combining elements of
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
and
rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no ...
, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock emerged from the folk music revival and the influence that
the Beatles The Beatles were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compou ...

the Beatles
and other
British Invasion The British Invasion was a cultural phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' ...
bands had on members of that movement. Performers such as
Bob Dylan Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in for more than 50 years. Much of ...

Bob Dylan
and
the Byrds The Byrds () were an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compoun ...
—several of whose members had earlier played in folk ensembles—attempted to blend the sounds of rock with their pre-existing folk repertoire, adopting the use of electric instrumentation and drums in a way previously discouraged in the U.S. folk community. The term "folk rock" was initially used in the U.S.
music press Music is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition of what ...
in June 1965 to describe the Byrds' music. The commercial success of the Byrds'
cover version In popular music, a cover version, cover song, remake, revival, or simply cover, is a new performance or Sound recording and reproduction, recording by a musician other than the original performer or composer of the song. History The term "cover ...
of Dylan's " Mr. Tambourine Man" and their debut
album An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), Phonograph record, vinyl, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded sound were developed in the early 20th century as individual Phonograph rec ...

album
of the same name, along with Dylan's own recordings with rock instrumentation—on the albums ''
Bringing It All Back Home ''Bringing It All Back Home'' (known as ''Subterranean Homesick Blues'' in some European countries) is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It was released on March 22, 1965, by Columbia Records. The album features an ...
'' (1965), ''
Highway 61 Revisited ''Highway 61 Revisited'' is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965 by Columbia Records. Having until then recorded mostly acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every tr ...
'' (1965), and ''
Blonde on Blonde ''Blonde on Blonde'' is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan Robert Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the great ...
'' (1966)—encouraged other folk acts, such as
Simon & Garfunkel Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the best-selling music groups of the 1960s, and their biggest hits—including "The Sound of Silence" (1965), " ...
, to use electric backing on their records and new groups, such as
Buffalo Springfield Buffalo Springfield was an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California ...
, to form. Dylan's controversial appearance at the
Newport Folk Festival Newport Folk Festival is an annual American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as ...

Newport Folk Festival
on 25 July 1965, where he was backed by an electric band, was also a pivotal moment in the development of the genre. During the late 1960s in Britain and Europe, a distinct, eclectic
British folk rock British folk rock is a form of folk rock which developed in the United Kingdom from the mid 1960s, and was at its most significant in the 1970s. Though the merging of folk and rock music came from several sources, it is widely regarded that the ...
style was created by Pentangle,
Fairport Convention Fairport Convention are a British folk rock band, formed in 1967 by Richard Thompson (guitar, vocals), Simon Nicol (guitar, vocals), Ashley Hutchings (bass guitar) and Shaun Frater (drums, percussion), with Frater replaced by Martin Lamble a ...

Fairport Convention
and
Alan Stivell Alan Stivell (born Alan Cochevelou on 6 January 1944) is a French, Breton and Celtic music Celtic music is a broad grouping of music genres that evolved out of the folk music Folk music includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk mu ...
. Inspired by British
psychedelic folk Psychedelic folk (sometimes acid folk or freak folk) is a loosely defined form of psychedelic music, psychedelia that originated in the 1960s. It retains the largely acoustic instrumentation of contemporary folk music, folk, but adds musical eleme ...
and the North American style of folk rock, British folk rock bands began to incorporate elements of traditional British folk music into their repertoire, leading to other variants, including the overtly English folk rock of
the Albion Band The Albion Band, also known as The Albion Country Band, The Albion Dance Band, and The Albion Christmas Band, were a British folk rock band, originally brought together and led by musician Ashley Hutchings. Generally considered one of the mo ...
and
Celtic rock#REDIRECT Celtic rock Celtic rock is a genre of folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk ro ...
.


Definition and etymology

In its earliest and narrowest sense, the term "folk rock" refers to the blending of elements of
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
and
rock music Rock music is a broad genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no ...
, which arose in the U.S. and UK in the mid-1960s. The genre was pioneered by
the Byrds The Byrds () were an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compoun ...
, who began playing
traditional A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the wo ...

traditional
folk music and songs by
Bob Dylan Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in for more than 50 years. Much of ...

Bob Dylan
with rock instrumentation, in a style heavily influenced by
the Beatles The Beatles were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compou ...

the Beatles
and other
British Invasion The British Invasion was a cultural phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' ...
bands. The term "folk rock" was initially coined by the U.S.
music press Music is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition of what ...
to describe the Byrds' music in June 1965, the month in which the band's debut album was issued. Dylan also contributed to the creation of the genre, with his recordings utilizing rock instrumentation on the albums ''
Bringing It All Back Home ''Bringing It All Back Home'' (known as ''Subterranean Homesick Blues'' in some European countries) is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It was released on March 22, 1965, by Columbia Records. The album features an ...
'', ''
Highway 61 Revisited ''Highway 61 Revisited'' is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965 by Columbia Records. Having until then recorded mostly acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every tr ...
'', and ''
Blonde on Blonde ''Blonde on Blonde'' is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan Robert Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the great ...
''. In a broader sense, folk rock encompasses similarly inspired musical genres and movements in different regions of the world. Folk rock may lean more towards either folk or rock in instrumentation, playing and vocal style, and choice of material. While the original genre draws on music of Europe and North America, there is no clear delineation of which other culture's music might be included as influences.


Antecedents


Folk revival

The American folk-music revival began during the 1940s; building on the interest in protest folk singers such as
Woody Guthrie Woodrow Wilson Guthrie (; July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967) was an American singer-songwriter, who is considered to be one of the most significant figures in American folk music. His music, including songs such as " This Land Is Your Land" ...

Woody Guthrie
and
Pete Seeger Peter Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014) was an American folk singer and social activist Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, direct, or intervene in social, political, economic, or environmental reform with the d ...

Pete Seeger
, it reached a peak in popularity in the mid-1960s with artists such as
Bob Dylan Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in for more than 50 years. Much of ...

Bob Dylan
and
Joan Baez Joan Chandos Baez (; born January 9, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and activist. Her contemporary folk music often includes songs of protest and social justice. Baez has performed publicly for over 60 years, releasing over ...

Joan Baez
. In 1948, Seeger formed
the Weavers The Weavers were an American folk music Folk music includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditiona ...

the Weavers
, whose mainstream popularity set the stage for the folk revival of the 1950s and early 1960s and also served to bridge the gap between folk, popular music, and topical song. The Weavers' sound and repertoire of traditional folk material and topical songs directly inspired
the Kingston Trio The Kingston Trio is an American folk and pop music Pop is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. The terms ''popular music'' and ''pop music'' are often u ...
, a three-piece folk group who came to prominence in 1958 with their hit recording of " Tom Dooley". The Kingston Trio provided the template for a flood of "collegiate folk" groups between 1958 and 1962. At roughly the same time as these "collegiate folk" vocal groups came to national prominence, a second group of urban folk revivalists, influenced by the music and
guitar picking Guitar picking is a group of hand and finger techniques a guitarist A guitarist (or a guitar player) is a person who plays the guitar The guitar is a fret (in the background, coloured white) and first four frets A fret is a space betwee ...
styles of folk and blues artist such as Woody Guthrie,
Lead Belly Huddie William Ledbetter (; January 23, 1888 – December 6, 1949), better known by the stage name Lead Belly, was an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly ...

Lead Belly
,
Brownie McGhee Walter Brown "Brownie" McGhee (November 30, 1915 – February 16, 1996) was an American folk music Folk music includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival ...
, and
Josh White Joshua Daniel White (February 11, 1914 – September 5, 1969) was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, actor and civil rights activist. He also recorded under the names Pinewood Tom and Tippy Barton in the 1930s. White grew up in the South ...
, also came to the fore. Many of these urban revivalists were influenced by recordings of traditional American music from the 1920s and 1930s, which had been reissued by
Folkways Records Folkways Records was a record label founded by Moses Asch that documented folk, world, and children's music. It was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1987 and is now part of Smithsonian Folkways. History The Folkways Records & Service C ...
; Harry Smith's ''
Anthology of American Folk Music The ''Anthology of American Folk Music'' is a six- compilation released in 1952 by (catalogue FP 251, FP 252, and FP 253), comprising eighty-four American , and recordings that were originally issued from 1926 to 1933. Experimental film maker ...
'' was particularly influential. While this urban folk revival flourished in many cities, New York City, with its burgeoning
Greenwich Village Greenwich Village ( , , ) is a neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan Lower Manhattan, also known as Downtown Manhattan or Downtown New York, is the southernmost part of , the central for business, culture, and in . Lower Manh ...

Greenwich Village
coffeehouse A coffeehouse, coffee shop, or café is an establishment that primarily serves coffee of various types, e.g. espresso, latte, and cappuccino. Some coffeehouses may serve cold drinks, such as iced coffee, iced tea, and other non-caffeinated be ...

coffeehouse
scene and population of topical folk singers, was widely regarded as the centre of the movement. Out of this fertile environment came such folk-protest luminaries as
Bob Dylan Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in for more than 50 years. Much of ...

Bob Dylan
,
Tom Paxton Thomas Richard Paxton (born October 31, 1937) is an American folk Folk or Folks may refer to: Sociology *Nation *People * Folklore ** Folk art ** Folk dance ** Folk hero ** Folk music *** Folk metal *** Folk punk *** Folk rock *** British folk ...
,
Phil Ochs Philip David Ochs (; December 19, 1940 – April 9, 1976) was an American songwriter and protest song, protest singer (or, as he preferred, a topical singer). Ochs was known for his sharp wit, sardonic humor, political activism, often alliterati ...
, and
Peter, Paul and Mary Peter, Paul and Mary were an American Contemporary folk music, folk group formed in New York City in 1961, during the American folk music revival phenomenon. The trio was composed of tenor Peter Yarrow, baritone Paul Stookey, Noel Paul Stookey an ...
, many of whom would transition into folk rock performers as the 1960s progressed. The vast majority of the urban folk revivalists shared a disdain for the values of mainstream American mass culture and led many folk singers to begin composing their own "protest" material. The influence of this folk-protest movement would later manifest itself in the sociopolitical lyrics and mildly
anti-establishment An anti-establishment view or belief is one which stands in opposition to the conventional social, political, and economic principles of a society. The term was first used in the modern sense in 1958, by the UK, British magazine ''New Statesm ...
sentiments of many folk rock songs, including
hit single A hit song, also known as a hit record, hit single or simply a hit, is a recorded song A song is a musical composition Musical composition can refer to an piece or work of , either or , the of a musical piece or to the process of ...
s such as " Eve of Destruction", "
Like a Rolling Stone#REDIRECT Like a Rolling Stone "Like a Rolling Stone" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on July 20, 1965 by Columbia Records. Its confrontational lyrics originated in an extended piece of verse Dylan wrote in June 1965, wh ...
", "
For What It's Worth "For What It's Worth (Stop, Hey What's That Sound)" (often referred to as simply "For What It's Worth") is a song written by Stephen Stills Stephen Arthur Stills (born January 3, 1945) is an American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumental ...
", and " Let's Live for Today". During the 1950s and early 1960s in the UK, a parallel folk revival referred to as the second British folk revival, was led by folk singers
Ewan MacColl James Henry Miller (25 January 1915 – 22 October 1989), better known by his stage name Ewan MacColl, was a folk Folk or Folks may refer to: Sociology *Nation *People * Folklore ** Folk art ** Folk dance ** Folk hero ** Folk music *** Folk meta ...
and Bert Lloyd. Both viewed British folk music as a vehicle for
leftist Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought within political philosophy that builds from the concept of social equality, prioritizing it for all people. ...
political concepts and an antidote to the American-dominated popular music of the time. However, it wasn't until 1956 and the advent of the
skiffle Skiffle is a music genre, genre of folk music with influences from blues music, blues, jazz, and American folk music, generally performed with a mixture of manufactured and homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a form in the United Sta ...
craze that the British folk revival crossed over into the mainstream and connected with British youth culture. Skiffle renewed popularity of folk music forms in Britain and led directly to the
progressive folk Progressive folk was originally a type of American folk music that pursued a progressivism, progressive political agenda. More recently, the term has also been applied to a style of contemporary folk that draws from post-Bob Dylan folk music and ...
movement and the attendant British folk club scene. Among the leading lights of the progressive folk movement were
Bert Jansch Herbert Jansch (3 November 1943 – 5 October 2011) was a Scottish folk music Folk music includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk ...
and
John Renbourn John Renbourn (8 August 1944 – 26 March 2015) was an English guitarist and songwriter. He was best known for his collaboration with guitarist Bert Jansch as well as his work with the folk group Pentangle, although he maintained a solo ca ...
, who would later form the folk rock band Pentangle in the late 1960s. Other notable folk rock artists with roots in the progressive folk scene were
Donovan Donovan Phillips Leitch (born 10 May 1946) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist. He developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities ...

Donovan
,
Al Stewart Alastair Ian Stewart (born 5 September 1945) is a Scottish singer-songwriter and folk rock, folk-rock musician who rose to prominence as part of the British folk revival in the 1960s in music, 1960s and 1970s in music, 1970s. He developed a uni ...

Al Stewart
,
John Martyn Iain David McGeachy (11 September 1948 – 29 January 2009), known professionally as John Martyn, was a British singer-songwriter and guitarist. Over a 40-year career, he released 23 studio albums, and received frequent critical acclaim. ...
and
Paul Simon Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and actor whose career has spanned six decades. He is one of the most acclaimed songwriters in popular music. Simon was born in Newark, New Jersey, and gr ...

Paul Simon
.


The Beatles and the British Invasion

Beginning in 1964 and lasting until roughly 1966, a wave of British
beat Beat, beats or beating may refer to: Common meanings Assigned activity or area * Patrol, an area (usually geographic) that one is responsible to monitor, including: ** Beat (police), the territory and time that a police officer patrols ** Beat ...
groups, including
the Beatles The Beatles were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compou ...

the Beatles
,
the Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones are an English band formed in London in 1962. Active for almost six decades, they are one of the most popular and enduring bands of the rock era. In the early 1960s, the Rolling Stones pioneered the gritty, heavier-drive ...

the Rolling Stones
,
the Dave Clark Five The Dave Clark Five, often called The DC5, were an English rock and roll band formed in Tottenham in 1958. In January 1964 they had their first UK top ten single, "Glad All Over", which knocked the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" off the top ...
,
Gerry & the Pacemakers Gerry and the Pacemakers were a British beat music, beat group prominent in the 1960s Beat music, Merseybeat scene. In common with the Beatles, they came from Liverpool, were managed by Brian Epstein, and were recorded by George Martin. They we ...
,
the Kinks The Kinks were an English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compound, ...
, and
Herman's Hermits Herman's Hermits are an English beat rock Beat music, British beat, or Merseybeat (after bands from Liverpool and nearby areas beside the River Mersey) is a popular music genre, influenced by rock and roll, skiffle, and traditional pop mu ...

Herman's Hermits
amongst others, dominated the U.S. music charts. These groups were all heavily influenced by American
rock 'n' roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and sty ...

rock 'n' roll
,
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
, and
R&B Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African ...
—musical genres they had been introduced to via homegrown British rock 'n' roll singers, imported American
records A record, recording or records may refer to: An item or collection of data Computing * Record (computer science) In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures ...
, and the music of the
skiffle Skiffle is a music genre, genre of folk music with influences from blues music, blues, jazz, and American folk music, generally performed with a mixture of manufactured and homemade or improvised instruments. Originating as a form in the United Sta ...
craze. These UK groups, known collectively as the
British Invasion The British Invasion was a cultural phenomenon A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' ...
, reintroduced American youth culture to the broad potential of rock and
pop music Pop is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed by people with little or no musical tra ...
as a creative medium and to the wealth of musical culture to be found within the United States. Of particular importance to the development of folk rock by the British Invasion were the subtle folk influences evident in such Beatles' compositions as " I'll Be Back", " Things We Said Today", and "
I'm a Loser "I'm a Loser" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Rin ...
", with the latter song being directly inspired by folk singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. In the opinion of
Roger McGuinn James Roger McGuinn (born James Joseph McGuinn III; July 13, 1942) is an American musician. He is best known for being the frontman and leader of the Byrds. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ( ...

Roger McGuinn
of the Byrds, writers who attempt to define the origins of folk rock "don't realise that the Beatles were responsible as far back as 1963". He cites "
She Loves You "She Loves You" is a song written by John Lennon John Winston Ono Lennon (born John Winston Lennon; 9 October 19408 December 1980) was an English singer, songwriter, musician and peace activist A peace movement is a social movement Soc ...
" as one of the first examples where the Beatles introduced folk chord changes into rock music and so initiated the new genre. These songs were all influential in providing a template for successfully assimilating folk-based
chord progression In a musical composition Musical composition can refer to an Originality, original piece or work of music, either Human voice, vocal or Musical instrument, instrumental, the musical form, structure of a musical piece or to the process of cr ...

chord progression
s and
melodies A melody (from Greek μελῳδία, ''melōidía'', "singing, chanting"), also tune, voice or line, is a linear Linearity is the property of a mathematical relationship ('' function'') that can be graphically represented as a straight ...
into pop music. This melding of folk and rock 'n' roll in the Beatles' music became even more explicit during 1965, with the release of "
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Geor ...
", a folk-derived song with introspective lyrics, again influenced by Dylan. Although the Beatles themselves utilized folk as just one of many styles evident in their music, the underlying folk influences in a number of their songs would prove to be important to folk rock musicians attempting to blend their own folk influences with
beat music Beat music, British beat, or Merseybeat (after bands from Liverpool Liverpool is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, England. With a population of in 2019, it is the List of English dist ...
. The effect that the music of these British bands, and the Beatles in particular, had on young Americans was immediate; almost overnight, folk—along with many other forms of homegrown music—became passé for a large proportion of America's youth, who instead turned their attention to the influx of British acts. The influence of these acts also impacted on the collegiate folk and urban folk communities, with many young musicians quickly losing interest in folk music and instead embracing the rock 'n' roll derived repertoire of the British Invasion. Future members of many folk rock acts, including the Byrds,
Jefferson Airplane Jefferson Airplane was an American Rock music, rock band based in San Francisco, California, that became one of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock. Formed in 1965, the group defined the San Francisco Sound and was the first from the Bay Ar ...

Jefferson Airplane
,
the Lovin' Spoonful The Lovin' Spoonful is an American rock band which was popular during the mid- to late-1960s. Founded in New York City in 1965 by lead singer/songwriter John Sebastian and guitarist Zal Yanovsky, it is best known for a number of hits which in ...
,
the Mamas & the Papas The Mamas & the Papas were an American folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock eme ...
, and Buffalo Springfield, all turned their backs on traditional folk music during 1964 and 1965 as a direct result of the influence of the Beatles and the other British Invasion bands. Author and music historian
Richie Unterberger Richie Unterberger (born 19 January 1962) is an American author and journalist whose focus is popular music and travel writing. Life and writing Unterberger attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrote for the university newspaper ''Th ...
has noted that the Beatles' impact on American popular culture effectively sounded the death knell for the
American folk music revival The American folk music revival began during the 1940s and peaked in popularity in the mid-1960s. Its roots went earlier, and performers like Josh White, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy, Billie Holiday, Richard Dyer-Benn ...
. In addition to The Beatles, the two British groups that were arguably the most influential on the development of folk rock were
the Animals The Animals (also billed as Eric Burdon and the Animals) are an English rhythm-and-blues Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was ori ...
and
the Searchers ''The Searchers'' is a 1956 American Technicolor VistaVision Western (genre), Western film directed by John Ford, based on the 1954 novel by Alan Le May, set during the Texas–Indian wars, and starring John Wayne as a middle-aged American Civi ...
. The Animals released a rock interpretation of the traditional folk song "
The House of the Rising Sun "The House of the Rising Sun" is a traditional folk song Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk ...
" in the U.S. in August 1964. The song reached number 1 on the ''Billboard'' Hot 100 singles chart and stayed there for three weeks, selling over a million copies in just five weeks in the U.S. The band's
arrangement In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated c ...

arrangement
of "The House of the Rising Sun", which transmuted the song from an
acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicole EP) * Acoustic (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album), ''Acoustic'' (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album), 2004 * Aco ...

acoustic
folk lament to a full-bore
electric Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...
rock song, would go on to influence many folk rock acts but none more so than Dylan himself, who cited it as a key factor in his decision to record and perform with an electric rock band in 1965.


Electric Twelve-String Guitar in Folk Music

The Searchers were influential in popularizing the jangly sound of the
electric Electricity is the set of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Physical (Olivia Newton-John song), "Physi ...

electric
twelve-string guitar #redirect Twelve-string guitar #redirect Twelve-string guitar The 12-string guitar is a steel-string guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's bod ...
. Many musicians in the collegiate and urban folk movements were already familiar with acoustic twelve-string guitars via the music of folk and blues singer Lead Belly. However, the Searchers' use of amplified twelve-strings provided another example of how conventional folk elements could be incorporated into rock music to produce new and exciting sounds. The Beatles'
lead guitar Lead guitar, also known as solo guitar, is a musical part for a guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked ...
ist,
George Harrison George Harrison (25 February 1943 – 29 November 2001) was an English musician, singer-songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles The Beatles were an English Ro ...

George Harrison
, also influenced this trend towards jangly guitars in folk rock with his use of a
Rickenbacker Rickenbacker International Corporation is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some m ...

Rickenbacker
twelve-string guitar on the Beatles' mid-1960s recordings. This relatively clean, jangly sound—without
distortion Distortion is the alteration of the original shape (or other characteristic) of something. In communications Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful di ...
or other
guitar effects An effects unit or effects pedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument or other audio source through audio signal processing. Common effects include distortion (music), distortion/overdrive, often used with el ...
—became a cornerstone of folk rock instrumentation and was used in many American folk rock
records A record, recording or records may refer to: An item or collection of data Computing * Record (computer science) In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures ...
made during 1965 and 1966.


Other precursors

Although folk rock mainly grew out of a mix of American folk revival and British Invasion influences, there were also a few examples of proto-folk rock that were important in the development of the genre. Of these secondary influences, Unterberger has cited the self-penned, folk-influenced material of San Francisco's
the Beau Brummels The Beau Brummels were an American rock band. Formed in San Francisco in 1964, the band's original lineup included Sal Valentino (lead vocals), Ron Elliott (lead guitar), Ron Meagher (bass guitar), Declan Mulligan (rhythm guitar, bass, harmonic ...
as arguably the most important. Despite their
Beatlesque "Beatlesque" () or "Beatles-esque" describes a musical resemblance to the English rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categoriz ...
image, the band's use of
minor chord __NOTOC__ In music theory Music theory is the study of the practices and possibilities of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. ...
s, haunting harmonies, and folky acoustic guitar playing—as heard on their debut single "
Laugh, Laugh "Laugh, Laugh" is a song by American rock music, rock group The Beau Brummels, written by guitarist Ron Elliott (musician), Ron Elliott and produced by Sylvester Stewart, later known as Sly Stone. Released in December 1964 as the band's debut sing ...
"—was stylistically very similar to the later folk rock of the Byrds. Released in December 1964, "Laugh, Laugh" peaked at number 15 on the ''Billboard'' Hot 100 in early 1965, while its similarly folk-flavored follow-up, " Just a Little", did even better, reaching number 8 on the U.S. singles chart. The high-profile success of the Beau Brummels' music was important in demonstrating that a hybrid of folk and rock could potentially be translated into mainstream commercial success. Pre-dating the Beau Brummels' commercial breakthrough by almost two years, singer-songwriter
Jackie DeShannon Jackie DeShannon (born Sharon Lee Myers, August 21, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter with a string of hit song A hit song, also known as a hit record, hit single or simply a hit, is a recorded song A song is a musical composition i ...
's April 1963 single " Needles and Pins" marked, according to Unterberger, the earliest appearance of the ringing guitar sound that would become a mainstay of early folk rock. This use of cyclical, chiming guitar riffs was repeated on DeShannon's late 1963 recording of her own composition "When You Walk in the Room". The following year, both songs would become hits for the Liverpudlian band the Searchers, who chose to place even greater emphasis on the jangly guitar playing in the songs. In addition, a number of DeShannon's songs from the period, including "When You Walk in the Room", displayed a greater degree of lyrical maturity and sensuality than was usual for pop songs of the time. This heightened degree of emotional introspection was inspired by her love of Bob Dylan's folk songwriting and represents one of the first attempts by an American artist to absorb folk sensibilities into rock music. In the UK, the folk group the Springfields (featuring Dusty Springfield) had been releasing folk-oriented material featuring full band arrangements since the early 1960s, including renditions of "Lonesome Traveler (song), Lonesome Traveler", "Allentown Jail", and "Silver Threads and Golden Needles". Although these records owed more to orchestral pop than rock, they were nonetheless influential on up-and-coming folk rock musicians on both sides of the Atlantic. In mid-1965, folk singer-songwriter
Donovan Donovan Phillips Leitch (born 10 May 1946) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist. He developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities ...

Donovan
was also experimenting with adding electrified instrumentation to some of his folk and blues-styled material, as evidenced by songs such as "You'll Need Somebody on Your Bond, You're Gonna Need Somebody on Your Bond" and "Sunny Goodge Street". In spite of his folky persona and repertoire, Donovan himself had always considered himself a pop star, rather than a folk singer. As a result, he had been thinking of a way in which to introduce folk styled acoustic guitars and socially conscious lyrics into pop music for several years prior to his 1965 breakthrough as a recording artist. By January 1966, he had recorded the self-penned hit "Sunshine Superman (song), Sunshine Superman" with a full electric backing band. Other bands and solo artists who were blurring the boundaries between folk and rock in the early 1960s include Judy Henske, Richard Fariña, Richard and Mimi Fariña, and The Mugwumps (band), the Mugwumps, the latter of which were a New York band featuring future members of the Lovin' Spoonful and the Mamas & the Papas. Also of note are the Australian band the Seekers, who had relocated to England in 1964 and reached number 1 on the UK Singles Chart with "I'll Never Find Another You" in February 1965. Unterberger has noted that, although it was not strictly a folk song, "I'll Never Find Another You" was heavily influenced by
Peter, Paul and Mary Peter, Paul and Mary were an American Contemporary folk music, folk group formed in New York City in 1961, during the American folk music revival phenomenon. The trio was composed of tenor Peter Yarrow, baritone Paul Stookey, Noel Paul Stookey an ...
and featured a cyclical, twelve-string guitar part that sounded similar to the guitar style that Roger McGuinn, Jim McGuinn of the Byrds would popularize later that same year. There are also a few antecedents to folk rock present in pre-British Invasion American rock 'n' roll, including Elvis Presley's 1954 cover of the Bill Monroe Bluegrass music, bluegrass Standard (music), standard "Blue Moon of Kentucky"; Buddy Holly's self-penned material, which strongly influenced both Dylan and the Byrds; Ritchie Valens' recording of the Mexican folk song "La Bamba (song), La Bamba"; Lloyd Price's rock 'n' roll adaptation of the African-American folk song "Stagger Lee (song), Stagger Lee" (originally recorded by Mississippi John Hurt in 1928); Jimmie Rodgers (pop singer), Jimmie Rodgers' rock 'n' roll flavored renditions of traditional folk songs; and the folk and country music, country-influenced recordings featured on the Everly Brothers' 1959 album ''Songs Our Daddy Taught Us''.


1960s


The Byrds

The moment when all of the separate influences that served to make up folk rock finally coalesced into an identifiable whole was with the release of
the Byrds The Byrds () were an American rock Rock most often refers to: * Rock (geology) A rock is any naturally occurring solid mass or aggregate of minerals or mineraloid matter. It is categorized by the minerals included, its Chemical compoun ...
' recording of
Bob Dylan Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in for more than 50 years. Much of ...

Bob Dylan
's " Mr. Tambourine Man". The term "folk rock" was coined by the U.S.
music press Music is the art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities involving creative imagination to express technical proficiency, beauty, emotional power, or conceptual ideas. There is no generally agreed definition of what ...
to describe the band's sound in June 1965, at roughly the same time as "Mr. Tambourine Man" peaked at number 1 on the ''Billboard'' chart. Within three months it had become the first folk rock smash hit, reaching number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100, ''Billboard'' Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. The single's success initiated the folk rock boom of 1965 and 1966, during which a profusion of Byrds-influenced acts flooded the American and British charts. In particular, the Byrds' influence can be discerned in mid-1960s recordings by acts such as
the Lovin' Spoonful The Lovin' Spoonful is an American rock band which was popular during the mid- to late-1960s. Founded in New York City in 1965 by lead singer/songwriter John Sebastian and guitarist Zal Yanovsky, it is best known for a number of hits which in ...
, Barry McGuire,
the Mamas & the Papas The Mamas & the Papas were an American folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock eme ...
,
Simon & Garfunkel Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the best-selling music groups of the 1960s, and their biggest hits—including "The Sound of Silence" (1965), " ...
,
Jefferson Airplane Jefferson Airplane was an American Rock music, rock band based in San Francisco, California, that became one of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock. Formed in 1965, the group defined the San Francisco Sound and was the first from the Bay Ar ...

Jefferson Airplane
, the Turtles, We Five, Love (band), Love, and Sonny & Cher. It was during the rehearsals at World Pacific that the band began to develop the blend of
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
and Beatles-style Pop music, pop that would characterize their sound. However, this hybrid was not deliberately created; it evolved organically out of some of the band members' own folk music roots and their desire to emulate the Beatles. The band's folk influences, lack of experience with rock music forms, and Beatleseque instrumentation all combined to color both their self-penned material and their folk derived repertoire. The band themselves soon realized that there was something unique about their music and, with Dickson's encouragement, they began to actively attempt to bridge the gap between folk and rock. Mr. Tambourine Man's blend of abstract lyrics, folk-influenced melody, complex Vocal harmony, harmonies, jangly Twelve-string guitar, 12-string
Rickenbacker Rickenbacker International Corporation is a string instrument String instruments, stringed instruments, or chordophones are musical instruments that produce sound from vibrating strings when a performer plays or sounds the strings in some m ...

Rickenbacker
guitar playing, and Beatles-influenced beat, resulted in a synthesis that effectively created the subgenre of folk rock. The song's lyrics alone took rock and pop songwriting to new heights; never before had such intellectual and literary lyrics been combined with rock instrumentation by a popular music group. Dylan's material would provide much of the original grist for the folk rock mill, not only in the U.S. but in the UK as well, with many pop and rock acts covering his material in a style reminiscent of the Byrds. Their reworking of "Mr. Tambourine Man", along with
the Animals The Animals (also billed as Eric Burdon and the Animals) are an English rhythm-and-blues Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was ori ...
' rock interpretation of "
The House of the Rising Sun "The House of the Rising Sun" is a traditional folk song Folk music includes traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditional folk ...
" (itself based on Dylan's earlier cover), helped to give Dylan the impetus to start recording with an electric backing band. As the 1970s dawned, folk rock evolved away from the jangly template pioneered by the Byrds, but their influence could still be heard in the music of bands like
Fairport Convention Fairport Convention are a British folk rock band, formed in 1967 by Richard Thompson (guitar, vocals), Simon Nicol (guitar, vocals), Ashley Hutchings (bass guitar) and Shaun Frater (drums, percussion), with Frater replaced by Martin Lamble a ...

Fairport Convention
and Pentangle. The Byrds themselves continued to enjoy commercial success with their brand of folk rock throughout 1965, most notably with their number 1 single "Turn! Turn! Turn!". By the start of 1966, however, the group had begun to move away from folk rock and into the new musical frontier of psychedelic rock. The folk rock sound of the Byrds has continued to influence many bands over the years, including Big Star, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, R.E.M., the Long Ryders, the Smiths, the Bangles, the Stone Roses, and Teenage Fanclub, among others.


Bob Dylan

Five days before the Byrds entered Columbia Studios in Hollywood to record his song "Mr. Tambourine Man", Bob Dylan completed the recording sessions for his fifth album, ''
Bringing It All Back Home ''Bringing It All Back Home'' (known as ''Subterranean Homesick Blues'' in some European countries) is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It was released on March 22, 1965, by Columbia Records. The album features an ...
''. Of the eleven tracks on the album, seven featured Dylan backed by a full electric rock band, in stark contrast to his earlier acoustic folk albums. Dylan's decision to record with an electric backing band had been influenced by a number of factors, including the Beatles' coupling of folk derived chord progressions and beat music, the Byrds' rock adaptation of "Mr. Tambourine Man", and the Animals hit cover of "The House of the Rising Sun". ''Bringing It All Back Home'' was released on 22 March 1965, peaking at number 6 on the Billboard 200, ''Billboard'' Top LPs chart and #1 on the UK Album Chart. The album's blend of rhythm and blues-derived rock and abstract, poetic lyrics was immediately influential in demonstrating that intelligent lyrical content could be wedded with rock 'n' roll. The songs on the album saw Dylan leaving folk music far behind. Even with this folkier, acoustic material, Dylan's biting, apocalyptical, and often humorous lyrics went far beyond those of contemporary folk music, particularly the folk-protest music with which he had been previously associated. On 20 July 1965, Dylan released the groundbreaking "
Like a Rolling Stone#REDIRECT Like a Rolling Stone "Like a Rolling Stone" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on July 20, 1965 by Columbia Records. Its confrontational lyrics originated in an extended piece of verse Dylan wrote in June 1965, wh ...
", a six-minute-long scathing put-down, directed at a down-and-out society girl, which again featured Dylan backed by an electric rock band. Released just as the Byrds' cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man" topped the charts in the United States, the song was instrumental in defining the burgeoning folk rock scene and in establishing Dylan as a bona fide rock star, rather than a folksinger. "Like a Rolling Stone" managed to reach the Top 5 on both sides of the Atlantic. Five days after the release of "Like a Rolling Stone", on 25 July 1965, Dylan made Electric Dylan controversy, a controversial appearance at the
Newport Folk Festival Newport Folk Festival is an annual American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as ...

Newport Folk Festival
, performing three songs with a full band. He was met with derisive booing and jeering from the festival's purist folk music crowd, but in the years since the incident, Dylan's 1965 Newport Folk Festival appearance has become widely regarded as a pivotal moment in the synthesis of folk and rock. Dylan followed "Like a Rolling Stone" with the wholly electric album ''
Highway 61 Revisited ''Highway 61 Revisited'' is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965 by Columbia Records. Having until then recorded mostly acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every tr ...
'' and the non-album single "Positively 4th Street", which itself has been widely interpreted as a rebuke to the folk purists who had rejected his new electric music. Throughout 1965 and 1966, hit singles like "Subterranean Homesick Blues", "Like a Rolling Stone", "Positively 4th Street", and "I Want You (Bob Dylan song), I Want You" among others, along with the ''Bringing It All Back Home'', ''Highway 61 Revisited'' and ''
Blonde on Blonde ''Blonde on Blonde'' is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan Robert Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the great ...
'' albums, proved to be hugely influential on the development and popularity of folk rock. Although Dylan's move away from acoustic folk music served to outrage and alienate much of his original fanbase, his new folk rock sound gained him legions of new fans during the mid-1960s. The popularity and commercial success of the Byrds and Bob Dylan's blend of folk and rock music influenced a wave of imitators and emulators that retroactively became known as the folk rock boom.


Tom Wilson

Although he started out as a jazz musician, the young, African-American Columbia Records producer Tom Wilson became known as the "mid-wife of folk-rock" for his seminal work behind the scenes. As Bob Dylan's producer during the key transitional albums ''The Times They Are A-Changin'', ''Another Side of Bob Dylan'', and ''Bringing It All Back Home'', he was a key architect of Dylan's electric sound. He is perhaps even better known, however, for first discovering
Simon & Garfunkel Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the best-selling music groups of the 1960s, and their biggest hits—including "The Sound of Silence" (1965), " ...
at the tail end of the folk movement and then transforming them into folk-rock superstars with the unauthorized rock remix that made a number one hit out of their previously underappreciated song, "The Sound of Silence".


Other musicians

Music critic Richie Unterberger has noted that the commercial success of the Byrds'
cover version In popular music, a cover version, cover song, remake, revival, or simply cover, is a new performance or Sound recording and reproduction, recording by a musician other than the original performer or composer of the song. History The term "cover ...
of Dylan's " Mr. Tambourine Man", along with Dylan's own contributions to the genre on the albums ''
Bringing It All Back Home ''Bringing It All Back Home'' (known as ''Subterranean Homesick Blues'' in some European countries) is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It was released on March 22, 1965, by Columbia Records. The album features an ...
'', ''
Highway 61 Revisited ''Highway 61 Revisited'' is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 30, 1965 by Columbia Records. Having until then recorded mostly acoustic music, Dylan used rock musicians as his backing band on every tr ...
'', and ''
Blonde on Blonde ''Blonde on Blonde'' is the seventh studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan Robert Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the great ...
'', initiated an explosion of emulators and imitators. Their success led record producer Tom Wilson (producer), Tom Wilson to add electric guitar, bass, and drums overdubs to "The Sounds of Silence", a song which had been recorded by the folk duo
Simon & Garfunkel Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the best-selling music groups of the 1960s, and their biggest hits—including "The Sound of Silence" (1965), " ...
in 1964 and first released on their album ''Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.''. The reissued single rose to number 1 on the ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'' pop chart in late 1965, became a hit around the world, and set the duo on one of the most successful careers in pop and rock music. Simon and Garfunkel have been described as "folk-rock's greatest duo, and one whose fame and influence would persist well beyond folk-rock's heyday." One of the first bands to craft a distinctly American sound in response to the British Invasion was the Beach Boys; while not a folk rock band themselves, they directly influenced the genre and at the height of the folk rock boom in 1966 had a hit with a cover of the 1920s West Indies, West Indian folk song "Sloop John B", which they had learned from
the Kingston Trio The Kingston Trio is an American folk and pop music Pop is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. The terms ''popular music'' and ''pop music'' are often u ...
, who had learned it from
the Weavers The Weavers were an American folk music Folk music includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk music and the genre that evolved from it during the 20th-century folk revival. Some types of folk music may be called world music. Traditiona ...

the Weavers
. Much of the early folk-rock music emerged during a time of general global upheaval, the Vietnam War, and new concerns for the world by young people. In the United States, the heyday of folk rock was arguably between the mid-sixties and the mid-seventies, when it aligned itself with the hippie movement and became an important medium for expressing radical ideas. Cities such as San Francisco, Denver, New York City and Phoenix, Arizona, Phoenix became centers for the folk rock culture, playing on their central locations among the original folk circuits. The "unplugged" and simplified sound of the music reflected the genre's connection to a critical view of a technological and consumerist society. Unlike pop music's escapist lyrics, arguably a fantasy distraction from the problems in life, folk artists attempted to communicate concerns for peace, global awareness, and other touchstones of the era. Bands whose music was significantly folk rock in sound during the mid-to-late 1960s included
Donovan Donovan Phillips Leitch (born 10 May 1946) is a Scottish singer, songwriter and guitarist. He developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities ...

Donovan
,
the Lovin' Spoonful The Lovin' Spoonful is an American rock band which was popular during the mid- to late-1960s. Founded in New York City in 1965 by lead singer/songwriter John Sebastian and guitarist Zal Yanovsky, it is best known for a number of hits which in ...
,
the Mamas & the Papas The Mamas & the Papas were an American folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk rock eme ...
, the Youngbloods, Love (band), Love, and, in their early years,
Jefferson Airplane Jefferson Airplane was an American Rock music, rock band based in San Francisco, California, that became one of the pioneering bands of psychedelic rock. Formed in 1965, the group defined the San Francisco Sound and was the first from the Bay Ar ...

Jefferson Airplane
. In the mid-1960s, singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot began moving his folk songs into a folk-rock direction with recordings such as the percussion-driven "Black Day in July" about the 1967 Detroit riot. He would rise to top the charts in the 1970s with a number of his folk-rock recordings such as "Sundown (Gordon Lightfoot song), Sundown" and "Carefree Highway" and eventually become known as a folk-rock legend. Some artists who originally produced with a harder edged rock sound found the ability to communicate more easily and felt more genuine in this method of delivery. In this category was Cat Stevens, who began in London much like the Byrds did in the United States but toned down the sound more frequently with acoustic instruments. He performed songs that contained concern for the environment, war, and the future of the world in general. The Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell won many Grammy Awards with her folk rock/pop songs.


Related movements


British folk rock

British folk rock developed in Britain during the mid to late 1960s by the bands
Fairport Convention Fairport Convention are a British folk rock band, formed in 1967 by Richard Thompson (guitar, vocals), Simon Nicol (guitar, vocals), Ashley Hutchings (bass guitar) and Shaun Frater (drums, percussion), with Frater replaced by Martin Lamble a ...

Fairport Convention
, and Pentangle. It uses traditional British music and self-penned compositions in a traditional style, and is played on a combination of traditional and rock instruments. This incorporation of traditional British folk music influences gives British folk rock its distinctly British character and flavour. It evolved out of the Psychedelic rock, psychedelia-influenced folk rock of British acts such as Donovan, the Incredible String Band, and T. Rex (band), Tyrannosaurus Rex, but was also heavily influenced by such American folk rock bands as the Byrds, Love (band), Love, and Buffalo Springfield. British folk rock was at its most significant and popular during the late 1960s and 1970s, when, in addition to Fairport and Pentangle, it was taken up by groups such as Steeleye Span and The Albion Country Band, the Albion Band. Steeleye Span, founded by Fairport Convention Bassist, bass player Ashley Hutchings, was made up of traditionalist folk musicians who wished to incorporate electrical amplification, and later overt rock elements, into their music. This, in turn, spawned the conspicuously English folk rock music of the Albion Band, a group that also included Hutchings. In Brittany folk rock was developed by
Alan Stivell Alan Stivell (born Alan Cochevelou on 6 January 1944) is a French, Breton and Celtic music Celtic music is a broad grouping of music genres that evolved out of the folk music Folk music includes #Traditional folk music, traditional folk mu ...
(who began to mix his Breton, Irish, and Scottish roots with rock music) and later by French bands like Malicorne (band), Malicorne. During this same period, folk rock was adopted and developed in the surrounding Celtic cultures of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, and Cornwall, to produce
Celtic rock#REDIRECT Celtic rock Celtic rock is a genre of folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk ro ...
and its derivatives.


Country folk

A subgenre originally arising from the early 1960s folk and country-influenced music of singer-songwriter artists such as Bob Dylan and Bobby Bare, as well as from folk revivalist vocal groups like the Kingston Trio. During the late 1960s, many folk rock artists including Dylan, Ian and Sylvia, and the Byrds began to incorporate a strong Country music, country influence into their music, drawing heavily on Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, and Buck Owens amongst others, resulting in the concurrent offshoot of country rock. This successful blending of country, folk and rock styles led to pioneering country folk records by folk-influenced singer-songwriters such as John Denver and Neil Young during the 1970s. Country folk music usually displays a softer, more "laid-back" feel than the majority of country music and is often complemented by introspective lyrics, thus preserving its folk singer-songwriter roots. Since the 1970s, the country folk subgenre has been perpetuated by artists including John Prine, Nanci Griffith, Kathy Mattea, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Iris DeMent.


Celtic rock

A subgenre of folk rock that combines traditional Celtic instrumentation with rock rhythms, often influenced by a wide variety of Pop music, pop and rock music styles. It emerged from the electric folk music of the late 1960s and was pioneered by bands such as Horslips, who blended Irish mythology, Gaelic mythology, Folk music of Ireland, traditional Irish music and rock. The British singer-songwriter Donovan was also influential in developing Celtic rock during the late 1960s, with his albums ''The Hurdy Gurdy Man'', ''Barabajagal'', and ''Open Road (Donovan album), Open Road'', the latter of which actually featured a song entitled "Celtic Rock". The subgenre was further popularised in 1973 by Thin Lizzy, who had a Hit single, hit with "Whiskey in the Jar", a traditional Irish song performed entirely in the rock idiom. Throughout the 1970s, Celtic rock held close to its folk roots, drawing heavily on traditional Celtic nations, Celtic fiddle, Pipe (instrument), pipe, and harp tunes, as well as traditional vocal styles, but making use of rock band levels of amplification and percussion. In the 1980s and beyond, Celtic rock was perpetuated by bands such as the Pogues, the Waterboys, Runrig, Black 47, and the Prodigals. A more recent folk rock band based in England is the BibleCode Sundays. Celtic rock is also popular in Spain where bands such as Celtas Cortos have had a large following since the early 1990s.


Medieval folk rock

Medieval folk rock developed as a subgenre of electric folk from about 1970 as performers, particularly in England, Germany and Brittany, adopted Medieval music, medieval and renaissance music as a basis for their music, in contrast to the early modern and nineteenth century ballads that dominated the output of Fairport Convention. This followed the trend explored by Steeleye Span, and exemplified by their 1972 album ''Below the Salt''. Acts in this area included Gryphon (band), Gryphon, Gentle Giant and Third Ear Band. In Germany Ougenweide, originally formed in 1970 as an acoustic folk group, opted to draw exclusively on High German medieval music when they electrified, setting the agenda for future German electric folk. In Brittany, as part of the
Celtic rock#REDIRECT Celtic rock Celtic rock is a genre of folk rock Folk rock is a hybrid music genre combining elements of folk music and rock music, which arose in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom in the mid-1960s. In the U.S., folk ro ...
movement, medieval music was focused on by bands like Ripaille from 1977 and Saga de Ragnar Lodbrock from 1979. However, by the end of the 1970s almost all of these performers had either disbanded or moved, like Gentle Giant and Gryphon, into the developing area of progressive rock. In the 1990s, as part of the wider resurgence of folk music in general, new medieval folk rock acts began to appear, including the Ritchie Blackmore project Blackmore's Night, German bands such as In Extremo, Subway to Sally or Schandmaul and English bands like Circulus (band), Circulus.


Progressive folk rock

In Britain the tendency to electrify brought several progressive folk acts into rock. This includes the acoustic duo Tyrannosaurus Rex, who became the electric combo T. Rex (band), T. Rex. Others, probably influenced by the electric folk pioneered by Fairport Convention from 1969, moved towards more traditional material, a category including Dando Shaft, Amazing Blondel, and Jack the Lad, an offshoot of northern progressive folk group Lindisfarne (band), Lindisfarne, who were one of the most successful UK bands of the early 1970s. Examples of bands that remained firmly on the border between progressive folk and progressive rock were the short lived (but later reunited) Comus (band), Comus and, more successfully, Renaissance (band), Renaissance, who combined folk and rock with elements of classical music.Renaissance biography
Allmusic.com. Retrieved 28 January 2014


Folk metal

Folk metal is a fusion genre of heavy metal music and traditional
folk music Folk music is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, althoug ...

folk music
that developed in Europe during the 1990s. It is characterised by the widespread use of folk instruments and, to a lesser extent, traditional singing styles (for example, Dutch Heidevolk, Danish Sylvatica and Spanish Stone of Erech). It also sometimes features soft instrumentation influenced by folk rock. The earliest folk metal bands were Skyclad (band), Skyclad from England, Cruachan (band), Cruachan from Ireland and Mago de Oz from Spain. Skyclad's debut album ''The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth'' was released in 1991 and would be considered a thrash metal album with some folk influences, unlike Cruachan's early work which embraced the folk element as a defining part of their sound. It was not until 1994 and 1995 that other early contributors in the genre began to emerge from different regions of Europe and beyond. Among these early groups, the German band Subway to Sally spearheaded a different regional variation that over time became known as medieval metal. Despite their contributions, folk metal remained little known with few representatives during the 1990s. It was not until the early 2000s when the genre exploded into prominence, particularly in Finland with the efforts of such groups as Finntroll, Ensiferum, Korpiklaani, Turisas, and Moonsorrow. The music of folk metal is characterised by its diversity with bands known to perform different styles of both heavy metal music and folk music. A large variety of folk instruments are used in the genre with many bands consequently featuring six or more members in their regular line-ups. A few bands are also known to rely on Keyboard instrument, keyboards to simulate the sound of folk instruments. Lyrics in the genre commonly deal with fantasy, mythology, paganism, history and nature.


See also

* List of folk rock artists * Rockabilly * Bluegrass music * Folk metal * Pagan rock


Notes


References

Sources * Brocken, Michael, (2003) ''The British Folk Revival, 1944–2002''. Ashgate * Einarson, John, (2005) ''Mr. Tambourine Man''. Backbeat Books * * Sweers, Britta (2004) '' Electric Folk: The Changing Face of English Traditional Music''. Oxford University Press * Unterberger, Richie (2003) ''Eight Miles High: Folk-Rock's Flight from Haight-Ashbury to Woodstock''. Backbeat Books * Unterberger, Richie (2002) ''Turn! Turn! Turn!: the '60s Folk-Rock revolution''. Backbeat Books * Walker, Michael (2006) ''Laurel Canyon''. Macmillan


Further reading

* Cohen, Ronald D., (2006) ''Folk Music: The Basics''. Routledge * Friedlander, Paul, (2006) ''Rock And Roll: A Social History''. Westview Press * Frith, Simon, ''The Rock Era'', Routledge, 2004 * Laing, Dave, et al. (1975) ''The Electric Muse: the story of folk into rock''. London: Eyre Methuen * Pohle, Horst (1987) ''The Folk Record Source Book: England / Ireland / Scotland / Wales''; 2nd ed. Berlin: Horst Pohle (1st ed.: 1984) (discography of ca. 10,000 LP & EP records by ca. 2500 groups / musicians 1950s to 1987; a few audiotapes where no vinyl discs available) * Shelton, Robert (2003) ''No Direction Home: the life and music of Bob Dylan''. Da Capo Press * Woodstra, Chris, et al. (2002) ''All Music Guide to Rock (Byrds)''. Backbeat Books * Zak, Albin (2001) ''The Poetics of Rock''. University of California Press {{DEFAULTSORT:Folk Rock Folk rock, Crossover (music) Folk music genres, Rock