Folk Rock

Neil Young
If any musical trend could be said to define the 1960s, none do it better than the folk rock that enjoyed such immense popularity during those tumultuous times. Folk music is a very broad umbrella term, and it had been around in some form or another for quite a while. The merging of traditional folk music with elements of rock and roll sounds made for a new approach to the acoustic simplicity of regular folk music.

Folk music went through an extensive revival in the U.K. and America during the 50s and 60s, with artists like Woody Guthrie and Joan Baez at the forefront. At the same time a number of British bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were renewing U.S. interests in Rock and Roll and many artists with folk roots started to rock a little more, or use more electric instruments and amplifications to perform traditional music.

Folk rock had its golden age from the mid sixties to the mid seventies, and this is when we saw some of the most memorable folk singers take to the stage. No discussion of folk music would be complete without Bob Dylan, who has written so many songs and influenced so many. He is so often associated with the acoustic guitar and traditional folk music but he used electric instruments rather frequently, especially during his later career. Dylan was also instrumental in the success of The Band, a great, if somewhat eclectic Canadian folk rock group who made it big at least partially due to his support.

Art Garfunkel
Such a great number of talented folk rockers made their mark in this era that it would be impossible to count them. Some standouts would have to include Simon and Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and Cat Stevens. Folk rock declined in popularity after the seventies, but there are still many artists who keep the genre alive. Even though they may not get much of the prime time radio play, Ani DiFranco, The Indigo Girls, and even Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder have all given fans of folk music much to appreciate.