Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew heavily on the African-American genres of blues and rhythm and blues, and from country music. Rock music also drew strongly on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, and incorporated influences from jazz, classical and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar, usually as part of a rock group with electric bass and drums and one or more singers. Typically, rock is song-based music usually with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become extremely diverse. Like pop music, lyrics often stress romantic love but also address a wide variety of other themes that are frequently social or political.
By the late 1960s "classic rock" period, a number of distinct rock music subgenres had emerged, including hybrids like blues rock, folk rock, country rock, raga rock, and jazz-rock, many of which contributed to the development of psychedelic rock, which was influenced by the countercultural psychedelic and hippie scene. New genres that emerged included progressive rock, which extended the artistic elements; glam rock, which highlighted showmanship and visual style; and the diverse and enduring subgenre of heavy metal, which emphasized volume, power, and speed. In the second half of the 1970s, punk rock reacted by producing stripped-down, energetic social and political critiques. Punk was an influence in the 1980s on new wave, post-punk and eventually alternative rock. From the 1990s alternative rock began to dominate rock music and break into the mainstream in the form of grunge, Britpop, and indie rock. Further fusion subgenres have since emerged, including pop punk, electronic rock, rap rock, and rap metal, as well as conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk and techno-pop revivals at the beginning of the 2000s.
Soundgarden was an American rock band formed in 1984 in Seattle by lead singer and drummer Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron became the band's permanent drummer in 1986 and bassist Ben Shepherd became a permanent replacement for Yamamoto in 1990.
Soundgarden was one of the key bands in the creation of grunge, a style of alternative rock that developed in Seattle and was based around the band's record label Sub Pop. Soundgarden was the first grunge band to sign to a major label, but Soundgarden did not achieve commercial success until Seattle contemporaries Nirvana and Pearl Jam popularized grunge in the early 1990s.
Soundgarden achieved its biggest success with the 1994 album Superunknown which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and yielded the Grammy Award–winning singles "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman". In 1997, the band broke up due to internal strife over its creative direction. Soundgarden has sold 8 million records in the U.S., and an estimated 20 million albums worldwide.
From left to right: Tim Commerford, Chris Cornell, Brad Wilk and Tom Morello, performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival, 2005.
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Did you know...
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- ...that Nirvana recorded "You Know You're Right" in 1994, but didn't release it until 2002 due to legal entanglements with Courtney Love?
- ...that both R.E.M. and the Pixies chose their names at random from a dictionary?
- ...that bassist Kim Deal was credited as "Mrs. John Murphy" on the Pixies' Come on Pilgrim and Surfer Rosa?
- ...that Dinosaur Jr's second album You're Living All Over Me was named after a phrase frontman J Mascis uttered while on tour with the band?