The basic definition of rock is music with a strong beat, played and sung, usually loudly, by a small group of people called rock bands with electric guitars and drums. Rock music is characterized by a heavy drum style, which provides a base for other other musicians to play against, usually with aggressive, riff-based guitar playing.
The main musical instrument of rock is usually the electric guitar. Rock musicians vary the sound of the guitar by amplifying it and playing it with feedback and other various electronic distortions. Other instruments commonly used in rock music include electric bass guitar, keyboard, and the drum.
Most rock music is played loudly, often with the help of electronic technology. Rock concerts are usually attended by a large audience, and often feature high-tech theatrical stage effects and gimmicks (such as synchronized lighting) and spontaneous aggression.
Rock music emerged in the mid-1960's against the backdrop of America's military action in Vietnam, politically-involved students, civil rights and feminism. The youth was experimenting with psychedelic drugs, and the psychedelic Eastern-tinged, heavily rhythmic sounds enhanced their acid-drenched experience. These youths were also into sponteneity and collective living. The high point of this period is the so-called Summer of Love in 1967 when thousands of youth, called the hippies, flock to experience the culture.
In the late 60's, their attitude turns to cynicism, as typified by the vocal histrionics of Janis Joplin and Joe Cocker, as well as the the blues-rock of Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Alice Cooper and David Bowie then added theatricality and innovative psychedelia, giving rise to Glam Rock.
In the 70's rock developed a number of subgenres, such as Progressive Rock, Hard Rock, Soft Rock, Southern Rock, Arena Rock, and Heavy Metal.
Between 1976 and 1978, the British punks took the level of aggression up and adopted a devil-may-care attitude, railing against authority, middle class values, and one another. Their music was called punk rock with subgenres Proto-punk, British punk, and American punk.
The 80's brought Speed & Thrash Metal, Doom Metal, Black Metal, Goth Rock, US Underground & Garage Rock, Progressive Metal, as well as Melodic Rock.
Combining dissonant early 70's heavy metal guitars with hostile lyrics, and in-your-face punk music, bands created grunge. It reached its high point with the more melodic approach of Nirvana and Pearl Jam in the first half of the 1990's. Other subgenres that developed in the 90's are Britpop, Madchester, Indie Rock, Nu metal, Jam Bands, Shoegazing, Funk Metal, Riot Grrrl, Death Metal & Grindcore.
"Time" by Pink Floyd from The Dark Side of The Moon
Below are the top rock albums of the last century:
- The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
- The Bends - Radiohead
- OK Computer - Radiohead
- Automatic for the People - R.E.M.
- The Queen Is Dead - The Smiths
- The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
- The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground
- Nevermind - Nirvana
- What's the Story Morning Glory? - Oasis
- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - David Bowie
- Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols - Sex Pistols
- The Wall - Pink Floyd
- Electric Ladyland - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- London Calling - The Clash
- Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd
- Dummy - Portishead
- Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin
- Definitely Maybe - Oasis
- Who's Next - The Who
- Out of Time - R.E.M.
- Tommy - The Who
- Marquee Moon - Television
- Odelay - Beck
- The Smiths - The Smiths
- Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
- Are You Experienced - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
- Loveless - My Bloody Valentine
- Ten - Pearl Jam
- Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness - The Smashing Pumpkins
- Debut - Bjork
- Led Zeppelin II - Led Zeppelin
- Metallica - Metallica
- Synchronicity - The Police
- Disintegration - The Cure
- Parklife - Blur
- A Night at the Opera - Queen
- American Beauty - Grateful Dead
- Van Halen - Van Halen
- Master of Puppets - Metallica
- Back in Black - AC/DC
- Houses of the Holy - Led Zeppelin
- Hysteria - Def Leppard
- Appetite for Destruction - Guns N'Roses
- Americana - The Offspring
- Siamese Dream - The Smashing Pumpkins
- August and Everything After - Counting Crows
- Garbage - Garbage
- Doolittle - The Pixies
- Bat Out of Hell - Meat Loaf
- Close to the Edge - Yes