First rock band ever?

  • Rock music is a genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the 1950s, and developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and later, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States.

    What is the first band that could be determined as Rock?

    I mean the first band that had some different features from the past genres and that determine the passage to this new gerne known as Rock.

    I have some ideas, such as The Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who...

    Help me in this deep research!

    Interesting problem - even wikipedia skirts the issue, shifting from R&R through what it terms 'the British invasion' [which sounds odd to someone from there ;) a bit about garage rock [which never made the journey back across the Atlantic at all] then onto psychedelic & prog. It misses the main transition entirely -

    The Beatles were releasing two albums a year in the early 60's so if 'Hard Day's Night' & 'Can't buy me Love' aren't quite rock yet - 6 months later there was 'Help' & 'Ticket to Ride'. Not quite rock as we know it - but certainly nothing like it had gone before. The Stones' The Last Time or Kinks You Really Got Me might also be contenders.

    The Dave Clark Five were getting close as early as late '63 - early '64 with 'Glad All Over' & 'Bits & Pieces'.

    the yardbirds had an album in 1963

  • If we are talking about 'Rock' distinct from 'Rock n' Roll', then it should have these features:

    • Power chords, or at least aggressive chords on guitar, featuring the minor pentatonic scale
    • Guitars are distorted (amplifiers)
    • Driving drums
    • A guitar solo would be a boon here

    A lot of suggestions have been given to the forefathers of the early rock n roll landscape.

    • The Beatles were a pop band more than anything. None of their albums featured anything this driving until the White Album
    • The Dave Clark Five emulated the Beatles sound. They are, therefore, more pop (or rock n' roll if that offends some) than Rock
    • The Animals released House of the Rising Sun in early 1964. Wikipedia identifies this as one of the earliest Folk Rock songs. This song lacked distorted guitars (the organ was the prominent voice)
    • Surf Rock started as early as 1961. The signature guitar sound of Surf Rock lacked distortion (but featured reverb)

    This leaves two real contenders:

    • The Kinks released 'You Really Got Me Now' in 1964
    • The Who released 'My Generation' in 1965, about a year later

    Both of these songs satisfy the conditions above. Both have distorted guitars and angsty vocals. Both have guitar solos.

    The Kinks, FTW.

    EDIT: since there is discussion based on the comment to my first answer, I will put that back up here:

    Chuck Berry is the first musician to play a guitar in a Rock fashion. Whether or not his backing band were all playing what you might consider Rock, none of us might be playing Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, etc. without Chuck Berry.

    You have to mention his name as The Inventor.

    but rock ' roll is not rock - and had effectively died out by the early 60's. There was a hiatus, filled by The Beatles et al in 62, but that wasn't yet rock either. By the time The Who did My Generation in 65, that was clearly rock; but idk if it was first.

    @Tetsujin, to me rock'n roll is included in rock, don't you think ?

    @Bebs - in so much as they are related, one led indirectly to the other, sure - but if someone posted 'Chuck Berry' as an answer to 'who was the first rock artist', I could not agree. The re-worked answer is much more along the lines I was thinking... that it came from somewhere in 60's Brit pop, using elements first borrowed from R&R, but then discarding the elemental 12-bar structure for something fresh. No-one yet mentioned R&B, which has got to be a real contributing factor too.

    The Animals' "House of the Rising Sun" is a strong contender from 1964, which they started playing when on tour with Chuck Berry according to wikipedia.

    Are we omitting surf rock here? Because I know such bands that predate 1964 by a fair bit.

    Craft an answer. I'd like to be educated.

    I did research on The Animals and Surf Rock. I have amended my answer.

    If we are going to omit surf rock, I don't think it should be omitted because of the lack of distortion on guitars. Perhaps by observation of its unique rhythm that sets it apart from what is typically termed "rock" in the classic form. I say this because I am certain one can find examples of surf rock that uses overdrive and distortion.

    I am sure also. But not until after November 1964. If you can find one, then the brass ring is yours.

    Then we would be looking at some songs of the Del-Tones in 1961-1962 who while using reverb did overdrive their guitars. But I don't think it would count because the distortion is not being used to sustain the tone, a feature that opens up the guitar playing to more open strumming patterns.

    It is a good argument. Dick Dale's Misirlou (1962) is a pretty rockin tune. is The Ventures' 'Wipe Out' from 1963.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM

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