1950's - The fifties bring the birth of Rock and Roll with rhythm and blues, country and gospel music fusing together in Rock 'n Roll, Doo Wop, Rockabilly and the beginnings of Soul. With early hits first appearing on the R&B charts and then moving to the pop charts by the latter half of the decade. Pioneering rock music artists Bill Haley, Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and many more take the rock music sound and influence worldwide. 1960's - In the sixties rock music takes over the pop charts for the first time. A wide variety of new rock genres emerge, including surf music, folk music, Motown, Stax, the British Invasion, psychedelic, hard rock and heavy metal. Groups like the Supremes, The Temptations, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Byrds, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin and solo artists Dick Dale, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix are successful. Album sales become as important as hit singles late in the decade. 1970's - By the seventies the album has become more important than the single. Concerts have moved from clubs and halls, to stadiums. Heavy metal, folk rock, progressive rock, funk and glitter rock, are followed by disco and punk rock. Major players include Led Zeppelin, Yes, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, T.Rex, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, James Taylor, Carole King, Kiss, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Van Halen, Bee Gees, Fleetwood Mac, Chic, Donna Summer, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, & The Clash. 1980's - In the eighties CD's replace albums and tapes. MTV and music videos become influential. Dominant artists include U2, Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Run DMC, The Beastie Boys, The Go'Go's, Phil Collins, Human League, Flock of Seagulls, INXS, Journey, Dire Straits, Foreigner, Billy Joel, Guns & Roses, and Motley Crue. New rock music styles such as synthpop, new wave, hardcore, speed metal, hair metal, the new british invasion, and rap come to the forefront. 1990's - In the nineties rock music continues to evolve with grunge, alternative, industrial, house, hip hop, techno and trance music becoming popular rock music forms. Rock bands like Nirvana, Sonic Youth, The Pixies, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Blues Traveler, Phish, and Beck sell side by side with the more pop oriented sounds of Whitney Houston, En Vogue, NSYNC, TLC, Maria Carey and Britney Spears and the rap / hip hop of Public Enemy, NWA, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Ice-T, Cypress Hill, Nas, Tupac Shakur and many more.
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Welcome to the Rock Music Timeline, an online chronology of rock and roll history. Experience rock & roll in the order it happened, decade by decade, or year by year.
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We are adding the best of rock photography in a larger format in our new Photo Galleries. Look for Photo Gallery links in the Top Left of each year timeline. This is a work in progress - so only a few years available so far. Check out the 1956 Photo Gallery for an example.