Popular rock styles

Despite the fact that Elvis Presley is considered the “king of rock and roll”, he was not at all the pioneer of this genre. The first person to make the electric guitar make strange, distorted, but incredibly incendiary sounds was Chuck Berry. Actually, it was this African American who released the first single in 1955, who is the ancestor of rock and roll.

It is also worth noting a musician named Jerry Lee Lewis, whose main instrument, although the piano was, his wild stage behavior became the basis for all future rock and roll players.


In the early 1960s a new genre of music with its roots in black rhythm and blues, rockabilly and country has made its way to the UK. It was there that two of the most popular and commercially successful rock bands in the world, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, appeared.

In the wake of the success of the Beatles and Rolling Stones in the USA, England and other countries, hundreds of amateur bands began to appear, trying to play fashionable youth music. However, due to the lack of proper professionalism, high-quality equipment and sound recording capabilities, all these ensembles were called “garage rock”, because they were often forced to play and sing in places poorly adapted for this activity. The most famous bands of this subgenre are The Monkees, The Mamas & The Papas, The Sonics, The Troggs.

In 1967, the American group Velvet Underground released their debut album, which revolutionized the genre. Before the Velvets, rock was all about love, parties and other optimistic things, and after that this music began to talk about the “dark sides of life.” In fact, VU came up with all the world’s “alternative” music.

Their own work had modest merit from a musical point of view, so groups quickly arose that were able to more effectively develop and present the ideas of the founders. The most influential rock bands of the late 1960s are: The Doors, Iggy & The Stooges and Jimi Henrdix Experience. It is they who stand at the origins of psychedelic and hard rock.

Hard rock

In the early 1970s such bands as AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath gained worldwide fame. They all had one thing in common – they played hard rock or hard rock. New technologies in the field of sound formation and recording made it possible for these guys to play the most powerful and heavy music at that time. The emphasis in hard rock was on the sound, and only secondarily on the content of the songs.

It should be noted that in the 2000s classic heavy rock has evolved into “stoner rock” – an even more low-frequency, viscous and louder kind of music than ever before. Stoner’s main stars are Electric Wizard, Queens of The Stone Age and Acid King.

Art rock

Tired of “dumb” rock, some intelligent and educated musicians decided to take electric guitars and show everyone what real art is. Thus, in the mid-1970s, art rock, aka progressive rock, gained popularity.

The main difference between art rock and all previous forms of this music is the desire to move away from the root African American blues to the traditions of European academic music. Therefore, the abundant use of synthesizers, violins and other uncharacteristic instruments in art rock was considered natural. The most important bands of this style are Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Yes and Genesis, as well as David Bowie.


Punk rock arose because the public was tired of highbrow art rock and demanded something simple and fun. Thus, in the late 1970s, punk rock emerged, which was essentially the same as the garage rock of the 1960s: fast, primitive, dirty-sounding music about the pleasures of a wild lifestyle. The most popular punk band is the Sex Pistols, but the Exploited and The Dead Kennedys have also had success. All of them come from the UK, and in the US the most important punks were The Ramones and Dead Boys.


The founder of the post-punk style is the group Joy Division, which existed from 1978 to 1980. and recorded only two full-length albums. Nevertheless, the work of this group marked the beginning of a whole gothic subculture, since all their songs were devoted to the themes of death, chaos, decay and oblivion. Cult bands such as The Cure, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees and others arose on the wave of the new style. Musically, post-punk differs from other rock styles in a strong emphasis on the rhythm section and a more “ghostly” sound.


Metal, which had great popularity during the 1980s, is a natural development of the ideas of hard rock. The characteristic features of metal rock are an extremely hard, heavy and aggressive sound, as well as the exploitation of such topics as war, violence, mysticism, religion, etc.

There are a large number of sub-genres – heavy metal, black metal, speed metal, symphonic metal, industrial metal, etc. The differences between them lie in the methods of sound formation and composition (somewhere harder and faster, somewhere more melodic and slower), as well as in technicality. The vast majority of metal compositions are endowed with complex and lengthy guitar solos.

The most popular metal bands: Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Motorhead, Burzum, Cannibal Corpse, Rammstein, Ministry.

Nu metal

The first ever nu-metal album was released in 1994. It was recorded by the band Korn, successfully combining heavy rock, hip-hop and post-punk.

Thus, the last style of rock music to date was born, which had unique techniques. Characteristic features of nu metal are syncopated rhythm, the frequent absence of guitar solos, recitative instead of traditional singing, and song structure borrowed from pop music. The general mood of songs in this style is angry, aggressive.

The most popular nu metal bands besides Korn are Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Linkin Park, Rage Against The Machine, Static X, Coal Chamber.

Rock is an extremely diverse musical genre in which every music lover can find something to their liking.