Blues rock

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The term blues rock describes the combination of blues and rock music . The genre's beginnings go back to the mid-1960s when bands like the Rolling Stones introduced influences from blues musicians like Elmore James , Howlin 'Wolf and Muddy Waters into their music. In retrospect, Link Wray with his hit Rumble from 1958 is the link between electrified blues, played with electric guitars, and rock. In the early 1970s, British blues rock turned into hard rock and the American offshoot into southern rock .


Although there is a close historical connection between rock and blues, blues rock did not emerge as a genre of its own until the late 1960s. Typical were improvisations on schemes of Blues and Boogie Woogie with dominant lead guitarist and a harder and reef dominierteren game compared to traditional Chicago blues . The classic blues rock formation is the so-called power trio with electric guitar , electric bass and drums . In many cases the guitarist is also a singer.

Examples of blues rock are Creams Crossroads , an adaptation of Robert Johnson's pieces Cross Road Blues and Traveling Riverside Blues and the Yardbirds version of Howlin 'Wolf's Smokestack Lightning - but also the music of ZZ Top is part of it, for example the piece La Grange . Musical and lyrical elements of the blues are transferred to a rock music tempo and expanded to include guitar solos.

British blues rock

The original blues rock was of British origin. Musicians like Alexis Korner and John Mayall founded bands that served as the starting point for early pioneers in the genre such as the Climax Blues Band , Free , Savoy Brown and the first line-up of Fleetwood Mac . Other pillars of British blues rock were Robin Trower and Rory Gallagher , who actually came from Ireland.

The yardbirds as the nucleus of the British style

Eric Clapton at the Tsunami Relief Concert at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on January 22, 2005

One of the most important representatives of blues rock was Eric Clapton , who since the mid-1960s with his participation in the Yardbirds , the supergroup Cream and Derek and the Dominos, as well as his subsequent solo career, pioneered the establishment of blues rock as a music genre suitable for the masses. Blues rock was only one of several styles that were cultivated by these bands.

Another important contribution in the late 1960s was Jeff Beck , another ex-member of the Yardbirds, when he celebrated success with his hard-edged style in the UK and the US. The Jeff Beck Group , which he founded, had a young Rod Stewart as singer and an even younger Ron Wood as bassist.

After the dissolution of the Yardbirds, Jimmy Page formed the New Yardbirds with new musicians, which a short time later became known under the name Led Zeppelin . Led Zeppelin's previous albums featured several signature blues rock pieces, such as I Can't Quit You Baby from the debut album. Later, however, thought was given to the continuation of hard rock , which they had been involved in founding and which later proved to be a trailblazer for heavy metal .

Most blues rock bands followed suit with the transition to hard rock or broke up. Only a few bands such as Foghat and Humble Pie continued to be active in blues rock until the late 1970s with the rise of punk rock, there was no longer an audience for it.

American blues rock

Johnny Winter , Paul Butterfield and Canned Heat can be named as American pioneers . The virtuoso bluesy playing of Jimi Hendrix with his two power trios The Jimi Hendrix Experience and The Band of Gypsys had an important and lasting influence on the development of blues rock, especially in the field of electric guitar. Hendrix had been involved in several rhythm and blues and soul formations since the early 1960s .

From the beginning of the 1970s, American blues rock approached country rock in order to merge with it to form southern rock . Examples include The Allman Brothers Band , Black Oak Arkansas , Lynyrd Skynyrd , Molly Hatchet, and ZZ Top .

The genre experienced a renaissance in the 1990s with a tendency that has continued to this day. The list of performers, some of whom have been successful in releasing their pieces in the blues rock tradition and performing them live, is long and includes Tracy Conover , Kenny Wayne Shepherd , The Mods , Jonny Lang , Tommy Castro , Big Sugar , Anthony Gomes , The Black Crowes , The Black Keys , The White Stripes , Joe Bonamassa, and Corby Yates .

Other countries

Even if the scene is not particularly well known in Europe, blues rock is particularly successful in Argentina , where it has dominated the so-called Rock Nacional scene from the 1970s to the present day and has influenced a large number of bands. The best-known representatives of Argentine blues rock are Luis Alberto Spinetta , Pappo , Memphis La Blusera, La Mississippi and Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota , the latter also having hard rock elements.



  • Morrison, Craig: American Popular Music. Rock and roll . Preface by Kevin J. Holm-Hudson. New York / NY: Checkmark Books, 2006, p. 28 f.

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