Country rock

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Country rock

Development phase: Late 1960s
Place of origin: California
Stylistic precursors
Country , rock music
Among the best-known representatives of country rock music: Crosby, Stills and Nash at a concert in August 1974

Under country-rock refers to a fusion of country - and rock music . The style originated in California in the late 1960s .



With the advent of rock 'n' roll and the Nashville sound in the 1950s, an almost unbridgeable gap had developed between the rock and country scenes. The differences were exacerbated in the early 1960s with the advent of electronic variants of rock music and British influences.

In North America , a strong counter-movement to the psychedelic-electronic sounds arose in the mid-1960s, which was based on traditional folk music. Important protagonists of this style were among others Bob Dylan and The Byrds . Another band was Creedence Clearwater Revival around singer and guitarist John Fogerty in the 1970s .

There were also musicians within the country scene who turned to rock music. They included Willie Nelson , Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash , who started the so-called outlaw movement . Cash also covered songs by Dylan and later by Bruce Springsteen and other rock musicians.

1960s - Country Rock Wedding

In 1966, Bob Dylan was persuaded by his manager Bob Johnston to produce his next album, Blonde on Blonde, in Nashville , the stronghold of country music. Dylan was so impressed by the quality of the musicians there that he subsequently recorded an album of pure country music entitled Nashville Skyline at the same location . The Byrds from Los Angeles were among the first to take up the new impetus. Under the musical direction of Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman , Sweetheart of the Rodeo was produced in Nashville in 1968 , which is considered the first country rock album in music history; there were forerunners like Safe At Home of the International Submarine Band , but they went largely unnoticed.

After the trendsetters had given the new direction, numerous other bands and musicians experimented with elements of country music. The spectrum ranged from the Monkees around the later country musician Michael Nesmith to Buffalo Springfield to the Rolling Stones with Wild Horses or Country Honk . Some groups like the Flying Burrito Brothers only played country rock. Record sales were not very high, however. The importance of country rock in the late 1960s lay primarily in bringing the two camps closer together. Ultimately, both genres benefited from the development of country rock.

1970s - the next generation

After Dylan, the Byrds and others had opened up the new terrain, groups emerged in the 1970s that played a mixture of country and rock music. The Eagles were the most successful . In the southern states of the USA, a harder variant, the so-called Southern Rock, developed at the same time . Best known representatives were Lynyrd Skynyrd , The Allman Brothers Band and The Outlaws .

The starting point for classic West Coast music was the “Troubadour” folk club in Los Angeles. Here, towards the end of the 1960s, young musicians such as Jackson Browne , Glenn Frey and Don Henley and bands such as Buffalo Springfield, Byrds and Crosby, Stills and Nash presented themselves .

West Coast Country Rock became most successful in the 1970s, primarily through the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt , who at that time became synonymous with the country rock produced in Southern California. At this time, the Eagles and Ronstadt achieved a total of eleven number 1 listings in the American album charts with their albums. The commercially most successful album of this genre is the Greatest Hits album by the Eagles Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 , which is sold in the USA alone in a number of almost 30 million copies (29 times platinum) and worldwide in a number of over 50 Sold millions of copies. The Eagles sold over 150 million albums and more than 200 million records in total in the United States alone. Another important country rock album is Heart Like A Wheel by Linda Ronstadt from 1974, which achieved her worldwide breakthrough. Other major protagonists at the time were Emmylou Harris and The Doobie Brothers .

International distribution

In Germany, for example, the band BossHoss , which uses appropriate stylistic devices in their music, or the Finnish band Steve 'n' Seagulls prove that country rock is not just an American style . Australian representatives of this genre include “The Brook Chivell Band” and local artists who perform at the renowned “Country Rocks Festival Sidney”.


  • Morrison, Craig: American Popular Music. Rock and roll. Preface by Kevin J. Holm-Hudson. New York / NY: Checkmark Books, 2006, pp. 43-45

Individual evidence

  1. Steve'n Seagulls on Youtube
  2. Country Rocks Festival Sidney