Although Bill Haley pioneered the rock'n'roll genre with "Rock Around the Clock" in 1955, it was Elvis Presley had the greatest influence on its development as a popular music genre. Artists like Gene Vincent and Chuck Berry also contributed to its development.

British band The Beatles were highly influential with their experiment of new unique musical styles. The Rolling Stones gave rock'n'roll something of a sexual image. The band was also blues-influenced, like Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page who founded the heavy metal genre. Further experimentation came with The Who's rock-opera Tommy. Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan were both notable, with Dylan found the folk-rock genre.

David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd were among the stars of the 1970s. The Sex Pistols lead the highly-controversial punk music genre from 1976 and the Damned and the Clash were other stars of the genre. With developments in recording technology more artists entered the scene during the 1980s. Talking Heads and Kraftwerk were among those who experimented mixed styles.

The pop star of the decade, however, was Michael Jackson, influenced by the soul music he sang in the Jackson Five. By this time bands like Nirvana attempted to bring back the original rock'n'roll music style, setting off the modern rock genre.


Rock music is a group of related music styles that have dominated Western popular music since the mid-1950s. Rock music began in the United States, but has been influenced and been shaped by many different cultures.

During the 1950s, the term "rock and roll" was actually a synonym for black rhythm and blues music. Rock and roll was first released by small, independent record companies and promoted by radio disc jockeys like Alan Freed, who used the term rock 'n' roll to help attract white audiences unfamiliar with black R&B. ndeed, the appeal of rock and roll to white middle-class teenagers was immediate and caught the major record companies by surprise. The most successful rock-and-roll artists wrote and performed songs about love, sexuality, identity crises, personal freedom, and other issues that were of particular interest to teenagers.

The term rock is often used to describe music after 1959 predominantly influenced by white musicians. Other terms used include rock and roll (also called rock'n'roll), the earliest incarnation of the genre, and rhythm and blues (R&B), influenced mainly by black American musicians. Each of these major genres encompasses several sub-genres, such as heavy metal, punk, alternative, and grunge.