Blues Rock & Roots Rock

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Created on: 9 Mar 2008
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Blues-rock is a hybrid musical genre combining elements of the blues with rock and roll, with an emphasis on the electric guitar. It began to develop as a particular style in the mid-1960s in...

While rock and blues have historically always been closely linked, blues-rock as a distinctly recognizable genre did not arise until the late 1960s. American guitarist Lonnie Mack has been credited with recording the earliest blues-rock guitar instrumentals, beginning in 1963 with hit singles "Memphis", "Wham!" and "Chicken-Pickin'". However, the genre in its more complete, ensemble form first took shape in Britain, when several noted artists, including Alexis Korner and John Mayall formed blues-oriented groups that acted as a training ground for future stars of the blues-rock genre such as Free, Savoy Brown and the earliest incarnations of Fleetwood Mac. American players like Johnny Winter, Paul Butterfield and the group Canned Heat were also pioneers.

The revolutionary electric guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix (a veteran of many American rhythm & blues and soul groups from the early-mid 1960s) and his power trios, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsys, has had broad and lasting influence on the development of blues-rock, especially for guitarists.

Eric Clapton was another guitarist with a lasting influence on the genre; his work in the 1960s and 1970s with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, The Yardbirds, supergroups Blind Faith, Cream and Derek and the Dominos, and an extensive solo career has been seminal in bringing blues-rock into the mainstream.

In the late '60s Jeff Beck a former member of The Yardbirds, revolutionised blues rock into a form of heavy rock, taking the UK and the USA by storm with his band, The Jeff Beck Group. Jimmy Page, a third alumnus of The Yardbirds, went out to form The New Yardbirds which would soon become known as Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin was a huge force in the early 70s blues-rock scene. Other blues-rock musicians influential on the English scene of the 1970s included Rory Gallagher and Robin Trower.

Beginning in the early 1970s, American bands such as Aerosmith fused blues and heavy metal in a similar way that Led Zeppelin had just a few years earlier. Blues-rock grew to include Southern rock and hard rock bands like the Allman Brothers Band, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd while - except for the advent of groups such as Foghat (founded by former Savoy Brown members) - the British scene became focused on heavy metal innovation. Blues-rock had a re-birth in the early 1990s and continues to have lasting influence today, with many artists such as John Mayer, The Black Crowes, The Black Keys, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Silvertide, and Joe Bonamassa performing and releasing albums to enthusiastic fans.


[edit] Sample artists
Allman Brothers Band
Mike Bloomfield
Joe Bonamassa
Canned Heat
Eric Clapton
Cream
Fleetwood Mac
Rory Gallagher
Jimi Hendrix
Led Zeppelin
Jeff Beck Group
Lonnie Mack
John Mayall
Gary Moore
The Rolling Stones
George Thorogood
Robin Trower
Status Quo
Stevie Ray Vaughan
Ten Years After
David Wilcox
Johnny Winter
ZZ Top
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