Rock music first grew out of the rock'n'roll movement of the 1940s and 50s and was inspired by country, jump blues, jazz, and other music from the '20s and '30s.
It has always been a vibrant art form and spawns numerous sub-genres every decade. Today, we can see rock influences in the music of every country in the world.
Before we dive into how rock music evolved per decade, the best way to fully immerse yourself in its history is to watch bands and artists perform live. You can get tickets via online resellers like TickPick.
1950s Rock and Roll
It's difficult to say who made the first rock song because it was developed by many musicians over 20 years. People used rock n' roll to describe music in the 1930s, and the term became more popular over time.
In the mid-1950's Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, and Chuck Berry were able to take their sounds mainstream. 1950s rock has strong country and jump blues elements but showed a lot of experimentation.
1960s Rock and Roll
In the early 20th century, high-quality music was mostly in dance halls and jazz clubs, but by the 1960s, high-quality microphones, stereos, and radios had changed the scene. Records became more important, and country genres came to the cities.
In the 1950s, youth culture was heavily influenced by the privations of total war, but by the 1960s, a new generation was rejecting society, and anarchy was back in vogue.
Bands like The Beatles and Rolling Stones continued to develop the genre, and folk and hippie sounds started to become popular. Rock developed a social message that was very different from its dance-hall roots.
1970's Rock and Roll
Rock and roll exited the 60's as a mature art form, but bands continued to experiment. The most significant development was the introduction of high-quality synth keyboards and harder rock sounds.
Punk acts like The Sex Pistols continued to push social messages while Pink Floyde reflected wide-spread drug culture. As the decade went on, harder sounds continued to develop, resulting in heavy metal sounds like Black Sabbath.
1980s Rock and Roll
1980s rock sounded a lot like 70s rock, but there was an increasing reliance on melody and singing to push many songs. This developed into the power ballads that many people remember.
There's a sense that the youthful angst of 1960s rebellions had matured into 1980s Wallstreet. Pop culture generally showed music and culture of the 80s as the pinnacle of human experience.
The 1990s Until Today
Grunge was the big story of 1990's rock. Nirvana was a unique sound, but the early 90s were the end of mainstream rock and roll. It continuously faded into the background as newer sounds found more success.
Older acts continued to play, and occasionally a group with a hard sound would have commercial success. But generally, Hip-Hop was seen as more modern and edgier.
Rock and roll acts continue to find success today. Still, it's not the vibrant and experimental scene that probably peaked in the late 1960s.