Rock music is a form of popular music with a prominent vocal melody, accompanied by electric guitar, bass guitar, and drums. Many styles of rock music also use keyboard instruments such as organ, piano, mellotron, and synthesizers. Other instruments sometimes utilized in rock include saxophone, harmonica, violin, flute, French horn, banjo, melodica, and timpani. Also, less common stringed instruments such as mandolin and sitar are used. Rock music usually has a strong back beat, and often revolves around the guitar, either solid electric, hollow electric, or acoustic.
Rock music has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll and rockabilly, which evolved from blues, country music and other influences. According to Allmusic, "In its purest form, Rock & Roll has three chords, a strong, insistent back beat, and a catchy melody. Early rock & roll drew from a variety of sources, primarily blues, R&B, and country, but also gospel, traditional pop, jazz, and folk. All of these influences combined in a simple, blues-based song structure that was fast, danceable, and catchy."
In the late 1960s, rock music was blended with folk music to create folk rock, blues to create blues-rock and with jazz, to create jazz-rock fusion, and without a time signature to create psychedelic rock. In the 1970s, rock incorporated influences from soul, funk, and latin music. Also in the 1970s, rock developed a number of subgenres, such as soft rock, heavy metal, hard rock, progressive rock, and punk rock. Rock subgenres that emerged in the 1980s included synthpop, hardcore punk and alternative rock. In the 1990s, rock subgenres included grunge, Britpop, indie rock, and nu metal.
A group of musicians specializing in rock music is called a rock band or rock group. Many rock groups consist of a guitarist, lead singer, bass guitarist, and drummer, forming a quartet. Some groups omit one or more of these roles and/or utilize a lead singer who plays an instrument while singing, sometimes forming a trio or duo; others include additional musicians such as one or two rhythm guitarists and/or a keyboardist. More rarely, groups also utilize stringed instruments such as violins or cellos, and/or horns like saxophones, trumpets or trombones.
The Beatles were a pop and rock group from Liverpool, England formed in 1960. Primarily consisting of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals) throughout their career, The Beatles are recognised for leading the mid-1960s musical "British Invasion" into the United States. Although their initial musical style was rooted in 1950s rock and roll and homegrown skiffle, the group explored genres ranging from Tin Pan Alley to psychedelic rock. Their clothes, styles, and statements made them trend-setters, while their growing social awareness saw their influence extend into the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s. After the band broke up in 1970, all four members embarked upon solo careers.
The Beatles are one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed bands in the history of popular music. The Beatles are the best-selling musical group in history. In the United Kingdom, The Beatles released more than 40 different singles, albums, and EPs that reached number one, earning more number one albums (15) than any other group in UK chart history. This commercial success was repeated in many other countries; their record company, EMI, estimated that by 1985 they had sold over one billion records worldwide. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, The Beatles have sold more albums in the United States than any other band. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked The Beatles number one on its list of 100 Greatest Rock & Roll Artists of All Time. According to that same magazine, The Beatles' innovative music and cultural impact helped define the 1960s, and their influence on pop culture is still evident today.
The Cure live in Singapore in 2007. Left to right: Porl Thompson, Jason Cooper (back), Robert Smith, Simon Gallup
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, The Rolling Stones
, The Who
, Black Sabbath
, Led Zeppelin
, Pink Floyd
, Lynyrd Skynyrd