Rock and roll grew up fast. It was born in the 1950s, thanks to pioneers like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. Talented new bands soon explored the rock and roll sound and made it their own. In the 1960s, the boundaries of the genre were pushed and stretched in new directions. By the 1970s, the different music styles that were defined as "rock" had greatly diversified.
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The British Invasion
The Beatles came to the U.S. in 1964 and seemingly became the biggest band in the world overnight. During the 1960s, the music of the Fab Four morphed along with rock itself by going from catchy pop to psychedelic rock. They released hit after hit, including "Yesterday," "Hey Jude" and "Revolution," to name a few. The Rolling Stones were another hugely popular band from England, with hits in the 1960s and 1970s such as "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "Brown Sugar." The Who also hailed from England and had hits such as "My Generation" and "Baba O'Riley."
West Coast Rock
California was a hotbed of musical creativity during the 1960s and 1970s, and many of the greatest rock bands of the era got their start on the West Coast. The Doors enjoyed a brief, memorable run in the 1960s with haunting hits like "Touch Me" and "Light My Fire." The Beach Boys were considered by many to be the American answer to The Beatles. The group released hits such as "Good Vibrations" and "California Girls." The Eagles were a huge rock band in the 1970s. They personified West Coast rock and released many hits, including "Hotel California," "Desperado" and "Life in the Fast Lane."
The heavy electric sounds of hard rock became prevalent in the 1970s. Bands such as Led Zeppelin rocked out with their long hair and loud guitars. Zeppelin released huge hits in the 1970s, including "Kashmir" and "Stairway to Heaven." Black Sabbath was another top-selling hard rock band of the 1970s. The high, soaring notes of singer Ozzy Osbourne gave the band an unmistakable sound. They also helped the genre to cross over from hard rock to heavy metal with hits such as "Iron Man" and "Paranoid."
Progressive rock, or prog rock, was a new musical style in the 1970s that featured expansive and often musically complicated songs. Bands like Pink Floyd became known for this style, which included long jams and instrumental solos, especially during live shows. Pink Floyd had hits in the 1970s such as "Comfortably Numb" and "Wish You Were Here." Queen was another hugely popular prog rock band of the 1970s, with hits like "We Will Rock You" and "Bohemian Rhapsody."
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