Blues Rock

Taking influence from the popular style of 40s and 50s rock & roll, as well as electric blues, blues rock adopted a heavier sound. By the mid-60s, bands like Cream and The Yardbirds had incorporated blues fundamentals, such as the common 12-bar blues chord progression and extended improvised guitar solos, into their more riff-based song structures. Following rock tradition, bands were comprised of loud, amplified guitars and bass, as well as drums. An important progenitor of the style is John Mayall who significantly developed the sound of blues guitar and, in 1966, released the album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton which defined the previously ambiguous genre. 

The guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix and his utilisation of blues and pentatonic scales was extremely influential on blues rock guitarists. Moving into the 70s, blues rock became more closely aligned with hard rock as the sound became heavier, songs became more riff orientated, and the guitars were more overdriven. This was reverted however, when artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan took blues rock back to its roots. Blues rock is characterised by traditional blues 12 and 16-bar structures being integrated with riff-based song structures. Guitars are loud, overdriven, and play extended bluesy solos.

Notable artists:

Eric Clapton

Stevie Ray Vaughan


Jeff Beck

The Rolling Stones

The Yardbirds

The Animals

ZZ Top

The Allman Brothers Band

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