Blues-rock, or Blues Rock, is a hybrid musical genre
combining elements of the blues with rock and roll. It began to develop as a
particular style in the mid-1960s through the work of bands such as The
Rolling Stones, who experimented with music from the old bluesmen like
Elmore James, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and Champion Jack Dupree. (The
Rolling Stones later abandoned the style and went on to more classic Chuck
Blues-rock's best-known artist is probably Eric Clapton, whose work in
the mid sixties, with The Yardbirds and with 60s supergroup Cream, as well
as his work with Derek and the Dominos beginning in 1970, and his extensive
solo career, have all been seminal in bringing of blues-rock into the
In the late 60s Jeff Beck, also a former member of The Yardbirds,
revolutionised the blues rock into a sort of Heavy Rock, taking the UK and
the USA by storm with his band, The Jeff Beck Group which had among its
members a young Rod Stewart on vocals and an even younger Ronnie Wood on
bass. Jimmy Page, yet another former member of The Yardbirds, went out to
form 'The New Yardbirds' which would soon become known as Led Zeppelin. Led
Zeppelin was a huge force in the 70s 'blues-rock' scene.
Blues-rock has since been a smouldering fire that still has its influence
вЂ“ The Black Crowes being one contemporary example.
While rock and blues have always been historically closely linked,
blues-rock as a distinct genre did not arise until the late 1960s. The genre
was originally British, with artists like Alexis Korner and John Mayall
forming groups that acted as a training ground for the future stars of the
genre, while American bands like Canned Heat and the Paul Butterfield Blues
Band were also pioneers. Blues-rock was characterized by bluesy
improvisation and long jams.
Beginning in the early 1970s, American blues-rock grew to include
Southern rock and hard rock bands like the Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Ray
Vaughan, Fabulous Thunderbirds and ZZ Top, while the British scene became
focused on heavy metal innovation. Blues-rock had a re-birth in the early
1990s and continues today, with many artists such as Tracy Conover, Kenny
Wayne Shepherd, The Mods, Jonny Lang, Tommy Castro, Anthony Gomes, The Black
Crowes, The Black Keys, The White Stripes and Joe Bonamassa performing and
releasing album to enthusiastic fans.
A classic example of blues-rock is Cream's "Crossroads",
adapted from Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues"; it fuses some of
the lyrical and musical styles of blues with rock-styled tempo and guitar
solos. Less heard but great examples nonetheless are almost all that Clapton
played with The Yardbirds, particularly "Smokestack Lightnin'."